The competition dedicated to young riders projects the champions of tomorrow into the UCI World Tour.
Warsaw 9th May 2023 – The ORLEN Nations Grand Prix belongs to the prestigious U23 Nations Cup series, a truly special event in which the most talented riders from around the world compete representing their countries. From 24tth to 28th of May, the athletes will compete in five exciting stages that will help shape the landscape of their future in the professional world.
“This race is a real springboard for young riders” declared Czeslaw Lang, Race Director. “When we look at the palmares of the first 4 editions, we are glad to see that most of those young riders are now part of the UCI World Tour Team and even have been performing at the highest level of international cycling. As organizers, we are proud to promote this Under 23 category and to give to riders and National Teams the opportunity to take the last step before reaching the top of the pyramid.”
The ORLEN Nations Grand Prix, which from 2019 to 2022 has always been run in two stages – including a team time trial the first two years – which now extends to five stages, three of which will be held in Hungary and Slovakia. This is further confirmation of the importance the event is assuming at international level, evolving according to the needs of the youth movement.
“The ORLEN Nation Grand Prix is definitely one of the most eagerly awaited races for the U23s,” explained the winner of the 2020 edition Olav Kooij, now a pro for the Jumbo-Visma team. “All the best riders in the category take part in this competition and that makes it really interesting, because obviously every athlete gives it their all. I am really happy that I managed to win and I will always remember it as a great success.”
It is an important event for any young riders chasing their dream of reaching the pros, which shows just how much of a springboard to reach the big teams on the world stage it is. A thought shared by Marijn van den Berg, now part of the EF Education-EasyPost roster: “It’s a great race in which I have participated twice with the national team – which is always special – and we won both years. It was fantastic and it definitely helped me reach the level I’m at now”.
Emotions and memories that the riders will remember with fondness, as Nicolas Prodhomme, the first to sign the race’s roll of honour and who now rides for AG2R Citroën , tells us: “This was my only success in the UCI U23 Nations Cup and to win in the French team’s jersey is an exciting feeling. We also won the team time trial, which is a really nice memory. In addition, I was the first winner of the race, which makes it even more special. The race has evolved since then and remains a very important event for the U23 riders”.
The evolution of ORLEN Nations Grand Prix over the years has been fast and productive, and it is currently preparing for its latest edition while keeping the spirit of the event intact: to let the youngsters express their full potential and give them an important showcase in which to make their mark.