2023 Tour de Pologne Stage 1 Preview

Poznan > Poznan 184km

The opening stage of the race is one for the sprinters, but GC riders will also be looking at the early bonus sprint and thinking about sprinting for some time. Just 13km into the stage should mean a team tries to control the start and then let the break go after.  


There’s a 40% chance of rain in the afternoon. 


The stage ends with just over 1 full lap of this circuit on a racetrack. Hopefully it’s safer than the racetrack used in the Tour de France. 


Olav Kooij – he’s enjoyed another fine season, winning a stage in Paris-Nice was a huge moment in his career. He’s now signed a new contract with Jumbo-Visma, after a lot of talk about him potentially moving teams. With all that sorted out, he can now focus on the second half of the season, starting here. He arrives with a good sprint train, I expect to see Van Embed do a lot of work, before releasing Van Der Sande and Van Dijke. This train worked well together in 4 Days of Dunkirk, Kooij won two stages in that race, and he’ll start this one as the favourite. 

Tim Merlier – started the season very well, but he would have been frustrated at how recent races went. He doesn’t have as many riders in the sprint train compared to usual, Černy will have to do a lot of the early work, leaving Van Lerberghe to guide in the closing stages. Merlier normally starts stage races with a win, but not in his last two races. 

Sam Bennett – he’ll be riding with a point to prove after missing out on Tour de France selection. He arrives here with Archbold and Mullen, but no Danny van Poppel will be a miss. Sam looked good taking two wins in the Sibiu Tour, he should be fighting for the win. 

Arvid De Kleijn – three wins already this year is beyond what most had expected from the Dutch sprinter this season. Tudor have done a great job supporting him, in particular, Maikel Zijlaard has been brilliant as a final man. De Kleijn has never won a world tour race, that should be his target this week. 

Gerben Thijssen – another sprinter who’s impressed this season with three wins. Last year, it was in this race where he took his first world tour win, he’d love to take another one this week. He’s here with his trusted sprint train, it also seems that the team have brought a couple of extra riders to help in the closing stages.  

Pascal Ackermann – as usual, he’s here without support, UAE seem to have given up on him, despite his recent win at the Giro. This is a race he’s done well in before, hopefully he can surf the wheels and get a good position for the sprint. 

Prediction Time 

Embed from Getty Images

I’ll go with Olav Kooij, I like the look of his sprint train and he’s bloody fast.