The stories of Olav Kooij and Marjin van den Berg and now António Morgado, Lukas Nerurkar and Francesco Busatto prove that the Polish UCI U23 Nations Cup race organized by LANG TEAM provides important opportunities for talented young riders.
148 young riders from 22 national teams took part in this year’s ORLEN Nations Grand Prix. Among them are several promising riders who have attracted the interest of WorldTour teams, as well as many others who have achieved interesting results in this season’s races. This underlines the important role of this race, which is part of the UCI U23 Nations Cup series. It is an event where potential young riders can make a name for themselves and gain valuable experience that will be useful in the WorldTour races, a category in which some of them will already be competing next season.
Taking his first steps on the WorldTour is Gal Glivar. The new Slovenian talent is actually a stagiaire with the UAE Team Emirates. Together with champions such as Tadej Pogačar, he is learning the dynamics of international competition and developing both mentally and athletically. The winner of the fifth edition of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix, Glivar, comes from the same team of champions as Primoz Roglic and promises to be an outstanding rider in the immediate future.
António Morgado was undoubtedly one of the stars of the latest edition of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix. The 19-year-old, who finished 6th in the GC and won the final stage from Sanok to Arłamów, caught the eye of UAE Team Emirates, with whom he signed a four-year contract. “I am looking forward to joining the team. I am very happy about this opportunity, it has always been my dream. I know the people in the team, they spoke very highly of me and I’m excited to be a part of it. I am ready to work hard to achieve great things together with the UAE team,” said the young man after joining the team. Antonio has a string of major results to his name, including two silver medals at the World Championships. (Wollongong ’22 – Junior Category and Glasgow ’23 – U23 Category). Just a month after his performance in Poland, he became the Portuguese U23 individual time trial champion.
Another rider who has caught the eye of the professional cycling world with a stage win at the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix is Lukas Nerurkar from Great Britain. Lukas, who confirmed his shspe by winning also the fifth stage of the Giro Next Gen in Italy, will be wearing the EF Education-EasyPost jersey next year. “I want to learn as much as I can,” he said. “It will be nice to gain experience by racing at the highest level. It would be nice to win a few races, but I haven’t raced much yet and over the next few years I will understand what kind of rider I am. I want to improve my strengths so that I can do really well in races,” said the 19-year-old, who has signed a two-year contract.
The spectacular finale of the third stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix 2023 in Slovakia from Levoča to Štrbské Pleso was won by Francesco Busatto. The Italian rider had a successful season and will wear the colours of the Intermarché-Wanty-Circus team next season. He also won the Liège – Bastogne – Liège U23, had two top three finishes in the Giro Next Gen and won the Italian U23 championship.
The ORLEN Nations Grand Prix, of which ORLEN is the title sponsor, is an event that strengthens its position in the international U23 calendar with each edition and establishes itself as a race that offers countless opportunities for talented young riders.
“As organisers of the Tour de Pologne UCI WorldTour, we’re delighted to dedicate ourselves to developing the next generation of international riders through the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix and the UCI U23 Nations Cup.” confirms Czesław Lang – President of Lang Team. “It’s great to see them fighting hard for top places in our race. It’s a showcase to get noticed by big teams. The fact that many of them are now at WorldTour level is an honour.”
We wish the best of luck to these young riders who, from next season, will be competing in the WorldTour category against older riders such as Olav Kooji or Marjin van den Berg, who have won the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix in the past. The next edition will take place from May 15th to 19th 2024 and the race will once again include Poland and neighbouring countries.