Another edition of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix went down in history. We won’t forget it for a long time!

Emotions after the 6th edition of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix have settled, so it’s time for a summary. We’ve just experienced 5 Days of competition on the scenic and challenging roads of Poland, Slovakia, and the Czechia. At the forefront were the best U23 riders in the world, Including Poles!

As part of the prestigious UCI Nations Cup series, the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix is one of the most important events for under-23 cyclists. This year’s edition once again brought together top competitors in this age category, who had to face a demanding route filled with climbs.

The race had a mountainous character from start to finish, guaranteeing great emotions and incredible experiences for the fans following the race. The excitement was enhanced by the broadcasts of the last two stages and extensive highlights from each of them, available on TVP, Eurosport, Nova TV, Česká Televize, and RTSV. The TV coverage reached 65 countries, allowing the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix to have viewers worldwide.

There was a lot to watch! From the very beginning, young cyclists showcased a spontaneous and aggressive racing style, demonstrated by the success of a breakaway on the first stage, ending under the picturesque castle in Bouzov, Czechia. The winner and the first holder of the ORLEN leader’s jersey was Dane Kristian Egholm, who crossed the finish line alone. “We see that racing without radio control in the peloton makes it more interesting and less predictable,” said Czesław Lang, Director of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix.

The following day, we saw a stunning performance by the French riders, who secured a one-two finish. The stage ending on the fiercely steep climb to Kohutka was won by Mathys Rondel, with Brieuc Rolland taking second place. Rondel fiercely defended the ORLEN leader’s jersey in the following days. He managed to hold onto it during the mountainous stage from Tvrdosin to Štrbské Pleso, where in addition to the climbs, cyclists had to deal with very tough weather conditions – a temperature of 5 degrees and heavy rain. The young riders in Slovakia showed that they are ready for any cycling challenges. The best on the third stage was Mathieu Kockelmann from Luxembourg.

The next day, the competition moved to the scenic Polish mountains. On Saturday, cyclists raced on a beautiful route from BUKOVINA Resort, Niedzica to Jasło. A breakaway triumphed, and this time the victory went to another Dane, Peter Hansen. Once again, a Polish rider finished  in the front – Radosław Frątczak from the national team took fourth place.

The race concluded with a stage from Lesko to Hotel Arłamów. On the famous Bieszczady loop, Kazakh Ilkhan Dostiyev won solo, while Mathys Rondel maintained the ORLEN general classification leader’s jersey. The battle for the Lang Team mountain classification victory continued until the end of the race and ultimately went to Italian Pietro Mattia, who regularly scored points on the KOMs.

“I really wanted to get on the stage podium or even win, but 600 meters before the finish line, I was caught. I ended up with the mountain jersey, and I am very happy with that. It’s a very good stage race. I enjoyed it, and the competition was really tough, with many strong teams,” said the winner of the Lang Team KOM jersey near Hotel Arłamów.

The best Polish rider, Filip Gruszczyński, finished in 12th place in the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix general classification. Throughout each stage, the Polish riders, both from the national team and local clubs, fought for top positions and actively showed themselves in breakaways. “Against good riders, the best of the best, the Poles really wanted to show themselves. They tried to be in the breakaways, finish high, and attempt attacks in the mountains, which is very pleasing,” summed up the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix, Czesław Lang.

“Everything was beautiful, but such an event is organized for the people. The crowds of people on the route in Poland, especially at the finish in Jasło, and today also crowds with white and red flags cheering along the route – that is the greatest reward for me as an organizer because I know that with this race, we give people a lot of joy and bring positive energy,” added the 1980 Olympic silver medalist.

All cyclists competing in the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix were aware of the prestige of this competition. Winners of all editions of the race have joined World Tour teams – cycling’s champions league – or their development squads. Worth mentioning are Olav Kooij and Marijn van den Berg, who broke into the top division, winning, among others, stages of the Tour de Pologne!

The riders participating in this year’s ORLEN Nations Grand Prix are already following in their footsteps. A prime example is the Briton Matthew Brennan, who finished fourth in the general classification and showed an active side on all stages. A few days after the race ended, he signed a contract with Visma | Lease a Bike! We are sure that it is only a matter of time before other top finishers from the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix join World Tour teams! Who knows, perhaps next year we will see them on the Tour de Pologne route alongside the best cyclists in the world!