CCC Sprandi Polkowice has named the 9-man lineup for the 100th edition of Giro d’Italia. The Italian Grand Tour will kick off from Sardinia on May 5th.

To select the final “9” was an extremely hard thing to do, since there were more riders who deserved a spot on the roster – sport director of CCC Sprand Polkowice, Piotr Wadecki explains. – We have drawn conclusions from the last time we raced at the Giro and we didn’t want to make the same mistakes as in 2015. This year we spent more time at the training camps, working in optimal conditions and we raced less often, trying to aim our form for May.

Few weeks before the Italian Grand Tour, part of our squad went on a high altitude training camp to Sierra Nevada and we could see the result of it at Tour of Croatia. The riders looked strong and performed well in the mountainous terrain. Most of the team, which completed Tour of Croatia will take part in Giro d’Italia. Jan Hirt, who finished 3rd will focus on stages which feature mountain top finish, Felix Grossschartner who took 4th in GC, will try to do well on undulating stages and Marcin Białobłocki is hoping to record good result in the time trial.

We have also selected Maciej Paterski, who is very experienced in three-week Tours, Jan Tratnik, who’s been showcasing solid form in the spring and Simone Ponzi, who will try to claim a top place in front of his home fans.

Our main goal is the stage victory. General classification is not our priority, although we think Jan Hirt is capable of finishing in the top “20”. We won’t put pressure on him in that regards though – Piotr Wadecki sums up.

Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for 100th editio of Giro d’Italia (May 5-28, 2.UWT):

Marcin Białobłocki – Poland, 33 years old, 197cm/79kg, Polish champion and silver medalist in the individual time trial (2015, 2016), won the ITT at the Tour de Pologne (2015) and was 9th in the world championships in the race against the clock (2015). He will make a debut in the Grand Tour.

Felix Grossschartner – Austria, 23 years old, 184cm/64kg, won Trofeo PIVA (2015) and twice finished 4th in GC of Tour of Croatia (2016, 2017). Talented rider, who is at his best in hard, undulating terrain. Despite young age, he has multiple World Tour races under his belt – among them there is 18th place in GC of  Volta a Catalunya 2017. He will make a debut in the Grand Tour.

Jan Hirt – Czech Republic, 26 years old, 181cm/60kg, great climber, claimed the victory in general classification of Tour of Austria (2016) and the year before he finished 3rd. Recently he climbed onto the GC podium of Tour of Croatia. He finished inside the top “10” on the hardest stages of World Tour event, Tour de Suisse. He will make a debut in the Grand Tour.

Łukasz Owsian – Poland, 27 years old, 181cm/66kg, he’s spent his entire professional cycling career racing for the Polkowice-based squad. He won Visegrad V4 Race – GP Polski (2016) and is two time winner of Polish Mountains Championships (2016, 2014). He was part of the „orange squad” at the Giro d’Italia 2015 and that was the only time for him to race in the Grand Tour.

Maciej Paterski – Poland, 30 years old, 186cm/71kg, one of the most titled riders on the team. His biggest achievements include triumph in general classification of Uno-X Tour of Norway (2014) and Tour of Croatia (2015), as well as stage victory at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (2015). He has done five Grand Tours (was on Liquigas – Doimo team which helped Vincenzo Nibali win Vuelta a Espana) and one of them was Giro d’Italia 2015, when he raced in orange colors.

Simone Ponzi – Italy, 30 years old, 178cm/63kg, fast riders with two victories in GP Nobili Rubinetterie (2014, 2011) and two 2nd places in UCI World Tour events, Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (2013) and GP Ouest France – Plouay (2015) in his cycling resume. He also got silver medal at the U23 world championships (2008). This year’s Giro d’Italia will be his third time competing in this event and in Grand Tours in total.

Branislau Samoilau – Belarus, 31 years old, 188cm/75kg, rider with rich experience racing for UCI World Tour teams. Was 3rd overall in Tour of Austria (2008), multiple Belarusian championships, a stage at Settimana Ciclista Lombarda (2008), finished 12th in GC of Critérium du Dauphiné (2010) and 22nd in Giro d’Italia (2007). Next to Maciej Paterski, he’s the most experienced rider in terms of Grand Tours participations. He’s done Giro d’Italia five times (including 2015 with CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and once Vuelta a Espana.

Michal Schlegel – Czech Republic, 21 years old, 184cm/72kg, despite broken collarbone early in the season, he was able to claim 7th place overall in Tour of Croatia and win the youth classification. Before joining the “orange squad” he finished 7th in U23 world championships (2015) and 8th overall in prestigious Tour de l’Avenir (2016). He will make a debut in the Grand Tour.

Jan Tratnik – Slovenia, 27 years old, 173cm/67kg, in one of his first stage races as a member of CCC Sprandi Polkowice, he took 8th in GC of Volta ao Alentejo. In previous years he claimed two GC victories in East Bohemia Tour (2016, 2015), was Slovenian champion in road race (2016) and time trial (2015) and in 2012 he became the U23 European champion in road race. He will make a debut in the Grand Tour.