The history of Tour de Pologne

Historia tourTour de Pologne, the road bicycle race, is the most prestigious Polish sport event, with an 80-year tradition. The first Tour de Pologne took place in September 1928. 71 cyclists participated in that race. The first race was organized by the Warsaw Cycling Society and the "Przegląd Sportowy" newspaper. From the very beginning, the race was regarded as one of the largest sports events in Poland. The tradition of the race was revived after World World II in 1947. Until 1992 it was organized as an amateur race.

In 1993, a new chapter began in the history of Tour de Pologne. Czesław Lang, the 1980 Olympics silver medallist and the precursor of Polish professional cycling, invested his own money in the struggling venture. In a short time it became a world class event. International cycling stars started to appear among the professional teams participating in the Tour, such as Maurizio Fondriest, Paweł Tonkov, Peter Lutenberger, Adriano Baffi, Andy Hampsten, Marco Pantani, Jewgienij Bierzin, Dmitri Konyshev, Marcus Zberg, Jens Voigt, Peter van Petegem, Tom Steels, Jaan Kirsipuu, Alexander Vinocourov, Chris Boardman, Stuart O'Grady, Danilo Di Luca, as well as the best Polish riders - Zbigniew Spruch, Zenon Jaskuła and Dariusz Baranowski.

Over next few years the race has been promoted by the UCI, reaching Class 2.2 in 2004. In the 2005 season, Tour de Pologne was included in the ProTour cycle, as the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern European countries. The last two editions of the race were huge events and attracted a great deal of attention from the media. Millions of people watched the race live on Polish TV, and for the first time in history the event was transmitted by Eurosport 2, in nine languages, and in 40 countries. Almost 2 million spectators observed the race on the road, more than 6 thousand press articles have been published and 80 thousand Internet users watched the online streaming coverage.

The race is accompanied by many events; over 10 thousand young cyclists took part in Mini Tour de Pologne. Sports and cultural events were organised in the stage towns.


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On the podium
3-0-1 Dariusz Baranowski, Andrzej Mierzejewski
3-0-0 Marian Więckowski
2-1-0 Jan Brzeźny, Jan Kudra, Wacław Wójcik
2-0-1 Bolesław Napierała 2-0-0 Henryk Kowalski
2-0-0 Ondrej Sosenka
1-2-0 Marek Leśniewski, Jens Voigt
1-1-2 Stanisław Gazda, Tomasz Brożyna

International winners - 15
Belgia (3), Włochy (2), Rosja (2), Czechy (2), Niemcy (2), Hiszpania, Szwajcaria, Francja, Luksemburg

Stages in the leader’s jersey
20 - Marian Więckowski (in 3 races, 1954-56)
16 - Wacław Wójcik (3, 1948-53)
15 - Bolesław Napierała (2, 1937-39) Marek Leśniewski (3, 1984-87) Zbigniew Spruch (4, 1989-98)
14 - Tadeusz Mytnik (4, 1972-80) Lechosław Michalak (2, 1977-79) Andrzej Mierzejewski (4, 1982-88)

Leader from Start to Finish:
Józef Stefański (1929), Bolesław Napierała (1937).

The highest number of leaders- 6 in 1957: Grzegorz Chwiendacz, Dominik Jurek, Jerzy Jankowski, Wacław Wrzesiński, Stanisław Kamiński i Henryk Kowalski.
Largest number of stage victories
15 - Ryszard Szurkowski
12 - Wacław Wrzesiński
10 - Zbigniew Spruch
9 - Stanisław Królak
8 - Jaan Kirsipuu, Stanisław Szozda, Stanisław Wasilewski, Adam Wiśniewski, Wacław Wójcik
7 - Jan Jankiewicz, Tadeusz Mytnik, Janusz Paradowski, Rajmund Zieliński
5 - Daniele Bennati

Largest distance between the winner and the runner-up:
1:10:16 Feliks Więcek - Wiktor Olecki (1928)
40:45 Józef Stefański - Eugeniusz Michalak (1929)
23:54 Wacław Wójcik - Lucjan Pietraszewski (1948)
17:22 Bolesław Napierała - Marian Rzeźnicki (1939)
15:43 Wacław Wójcik - Józef Kapiak (1952)

Smallest distance between the winner and the runner-up:
0:03 Stanisław Grzelak - Zdzisław Stolarczyk (1947)
0:05 Kim Kirchen (Luksemburg) - Pieter Weening (Holandia - 2005)
0:07 Zbigniew Piątek - Marek Leśniewski (1987)
0:08 Janusz Kowalski - Jan Schur (NRD - 1976)
0:09 Dariusz Baranowski - Raimondas Rumšas (Litwa - 1992)
0:15 Andrzej Mierzejewski - Jan Brzeźny (1982)

Fastest race 1966 - average 44.010 (wunner Józef Gawliczek)
Highest number of stages 13 - 1953, 1969, 1993 (with prologue)
Lowest number of stages 4 - 1947
Longest race: 2311 km - 1953
Shortest race: 606 km - 1947