2023 Tour de Pologne Stage 2 Preview

Leszno > Karpacz 203km

The second stage of the race is going to have a big impact on the fight for the overall title. It’s an easy day in the saddle, with a muro climb to finish. Just 2281m of climbing over 203km is a piece of cake for the pros, some sprinters would have seen those figures and hoped it was a day for them, but the finish is too long for them to survive. 


Cloudy, there’s a threat of rain throughout most of the afternoon. 

Key Points 

With 25km to go, things start to get serious with this cat 2 climb. 3km at 6.6% will see the end of many riders, especially those who know they aren’t going to compete on the final climb. 

This is the final 3.7km of the stage, it starts with 1.3km at 11.1%. This section crests with 2km to go, which is where the KOM point is, then the road tips down quite steeply before starting the rise to the line. The final kilometre averages 8.4%, so it’s still hard, but not as tough as the opening section. 


The final climb is a funny one, I’d prefer it if the stage just ended at the cat 2 point. The riders will be careful of not going too hard on the steepest section, some energy needs to be saved for the final kilometre. I hope it doesn’t mean everyone is happy with a team like Ineos setting a hard tempo, I want to see some attacking.  

The start list is a strong one, but it lacks muro experts, the stage is wide open. Both Ineos and UAE have several options for the stage win, hopefully they decided to attack the final 5km and not simply wait for a “sprint” finish, but that isn’t the Ineos way. 

I think we’ll see them take control of the finale, setting a fast pace to deter attacks, before launching Kwiato for the final kick to the line. This isn’t near his home, but still, riding in Poland always gives him extra motivation. 


UAE – Almeida and McNulty are their options for this stage, both are strong contenders as they climb well and have a fast finish. In 2021, Almeida won the wall climb stage, he’ll start as one of the favourites to take the win. McNulty comes here after winning a stage in the Giro, he also likes steep climbs, and will fancy his chances. The team also have Majka, will he be allowed to go for it? The Polish rider ended the Tour de France in fine form, we’ll have to see how they approach the finale. 

Michał Kwiatkowski – the home fans would love to see him taking the win. In 2018, en route to winning the GC, he won the wall climb stage, he’s very strong in this type of finish. After a poor season, his Tour de France was a successful one, his stage win was very impressive. Ineos are strong, they should be able to close down any attacks and deliver Kwiato perfectly for the final run to the line, then we’ll see if he’s got Tour Legs or not. 

Matej Mohorič – he’s in the same position as Kwiato, hoping to see a positive bounce after the Tour. He normally likes steep climbs, despite not being a climber. He won the final stage in Tour of Slovenia, which included a harder climb than this one, and he was 3rd in the wall climb stage in 2021, the day Almeida won. Mohorič has a very fast sprint, if he’s near the front with 250m to go, he’ll be hard to beat. 

Sergio Higuita – won the wall climb stage last year, he would normally be considered the big favourite for a stage like this one, but his season has been poor. He wasn’t selected for the Tour de France team, hopefully he’s been away training his arse off to get ready for the Vuelta, that would mean he stands a great chance of winning this stage. 

Lenny Martinez – his first season as a pro has already been successful, he took a brilliant win on Ventoux. I think he should go well in this stage, but I get the feeling he prefers longer climbs, but I could be wrong. 

Ilan Van Wilder – he’s got the punch required to challenge for the win, I’m a big fan of the young Belgian. He’s not had too many chances to ride for himself this season, he’s not disappointed when those opportunities have come his way, but he’s still searching for the win. Could it come here? 

Lennert Van Eetvelt – this is a very good stage for the Lotto rider, especially as he’s enjoyed an excellent 2023. Bad luck stopped him from winning the Sibiu Tour, but he did pick up a stage win and should come here full of confidence. He’s one who should look to attack on the steepest section of the climb and not worry about what’s happening behind him. 

Oscar Onley – another youngster who’ll fancy his chances on a finish like this. In last year’s Tour of Britain and CRO race, he performed very well on short/steep climbs, they seem to suit him well. After doing so well in 2022, expectations were high for him, I think his first big moment is in the post. 

Prediction Time 

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I’ll ignore his form up until this point and take a win for Sergio Higuita, it’s a perfect finish for him.