An array of climbing and sprinting talent line-up for the Tour of Poland

Tue 30 Jul 2019

The stage racing continues for Mitchelton-SCOTT as a strong and varied squad head to Eastern Euorpe for the week-long the Tour of Poland.

Slovenian Luka Mezgec will be back in action after claiming a stage win and the sprints classification at the Tour of Slovenia back in June, while Basque rider Mikel Nieve will line-up for his first race since his strong showing at the Gito d’Italia.

Australian Damien Howson will start his eighth stage race of the season with fellow countryman Alex Edmonson and Kiwi Sam Bewley continuing their return to racing fitness after injuries during the spring.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Sam Bewley (NZL, 31)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 25)
Tsbagu Grmay (ETH, 27)
Damien Howson (AUS, 36)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 31)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 35)
Nick Schultz (AUS, 24)

The Course

The seven-day race packs in a variety of parcours with the majority of the stages contested over circuits. The opening three days of action should see the sprinters contesting the victory, with just category-four climbs to contend with for the peloton on each day.

The race then heads into the hills on stage four, with a number of category-one climbs spread throughout the remaining four stages. The bunch will tackle the same climbs numerous times with the stages contested over a series of loops.

The Past

The team won the overall back in 2013 with former rider Pieter Weening who claimed the victory thanks to a strong time trial on the final day in Krakow.

Caleb Ewan and Jack Haig gave the squad two stage wins in the 2017 edition of the race while Adam Yates raced to fifth place in the general classification in the same year. Simon Yates won the final stage in 2018 and claimed second overall before going on to win the Vuelta a Espana a month later.

Luka Mezgec:
“I don’t know what to expect, because I will go there straight from altitude. The first objective is to get my racing rhythm back and to get some fine tuning before Vuelta. I know there will be some bunch sprints, so I will be looking to get involved.”

“The Tour of Slovenia showed me that I can do a good sprint after a hard day, so that’s something I am carrying with me into this second part of the season and it gives me confidence.”

“I have been training well in Livigno, it’s been a nice altitude training camp so hopefully that has put me in good shape ahead of the race.”

Mikel Nieve:
“After the Giro I took a good rest to disconnect from cycling and to recover from all the efforts. Then gradually I started training and focussing on the second half of the season. Recently I've been in a training camp with the team in the Pyrenees and I hope to be ready for the next races.”

“At the Tour of Poland we will start with some ‘easy’ stages for the sprinters and for the final we will have the stages that will decide the GC. The mountains stages are like the Classics, with short climbs, but doing them many times will be pretty hard.”

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“We’re going to support Luka in the sprints as there looks to be a few good opportunities at going for a sprint in the early stages. I think he’s in good shape, he’s coming off a small training camp and he finished the Tour of Slovenia very well, so hopefully he’s in good form like he was there. We’ve also got a good group of climbers here, we’ve got riders who can go after opportunities and stages, plus we’ll be looking after Mikel for the GC.”

“The race has got a bit of everything. The first few days look to be sprinter friendly and then we head into the hills. There’s nothing really long here, they’re all reasonably shorter climbs but the stages are mainly on circuits so the riders will be doing the climbs multiple times, which really makes the race selective in the end.”

“The other aspect of the Tour of Poland is that it’s a real tune up event for the Vuelta, it’s one of the last stage races we’ll do leading into there so the guys will be thinking about that and using it as motivation.”

Tour of Poland 2019 Race Details:
Sat, 3rd August: Stage 1, Kraków - Kraków, 136km
Sun, 4th August: Stage 2, Tarnowskie Góry - Katowice, 153km
Mon, 5th August: Stage 3, Chorzów - Zabrze, 157km
Tue, 6th August: Stage 4, Jaworzno › Kocierz, 173km
Wed, 7th August: Stage 5, Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka - Bielsko-Biala, 154km
Thu, 8th August: Stage 6, Zakopane - Zakopane, 155km
Fri, 9th August: Stage 7, Bukovina Resort - Bukowina Tatrzańska, 132.5km