Fot. CCC Sprandi Polkowice

‘Polish riders before the Giro d`Italia 2017’ is a series of interviews with Polish riders who will participate in the centenary edition of the biggest Italian cycling race and first of the three Grand Tours. The series is opened by the interview with Marcin Białobłocki of CCC Sprandi Polkowice team, which has been awarded a wildcard invitation.

Marcin, congratulations on your selection for CCC Sprandi Polkowice roster for the Giro.

Thank you.

What are your impressions from the first months with CCC Sprandi Polkowice?

My impressions are very positive. The whole team is well-organised and do their best, so I`m satisfied with my time with the team so far.

For CCC Sprandi, this season is all about the Giro. How did your preparations towards this race look like?

We had several training camps with the whole team. Recently we have been on an altitutude camp in Sierra Nevada. I think this kind of training will have a positive influence on our fitness and we should be in form for the Giro. We did our best and no one regrets anything. Every rider in our squad is well-prepared so I hope for the best.

You have won a team time trial in Settimana Coppi e Bartali. What are your memories from this stage?

It was an amazing day, especially in a perspective of a very tough stage 1a we had had in the morning. All eight riders were very strong, which made picking just four of us a difficult task. I cannot take all credits for that victory, all members of the squad gave their best and contributed to it. That triumph has yet another special aspect – beating Team Sky always has a sweet taste.

Marcin, you can`t imagine a better debiut in a Grand Tour than the centenary edition of the Giro d`Italia, can you?

Yes, I’ve done more than ever – I’ve strictly followed a diet and lost my weight in order to ride better in the mountains. As a result, I already feel more comfortable in the altitude than one or two months ago. I`m satisfied with myself and with the whole team. I don’t fear anything, I will do my best and I promise I won`t give up. The only thing which can eliminate me from this race is a huge amount of bad luck.

Showing your time trialling skills off is your biggest objective for the upcoming Giro. This year’s Giro route includes two individual stages against the clock. First of them is a 39,8 km hilly time trial from Foligno to Montefalco. Do you think you`re able to finish this stage in top ten?

It`s a very hard stage. The opening part is flat and then it starts to roll: uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill etc. The final drag to the finish line also goes up. Nonetheless, I think that in my current form the top ten is within my reach. But for now is a huge unknown. We will see.

And an individual time trial straight after a rest day might be an additional impediment.

Exactly, but I will give my best. I don`t ignore this stage and I`m optimistic about that. I will fight!

If there’s a plan for you to make it to Milan, you’ll also get a chance to participate in the final time trial kicking off at the Monza track, which, I assume, suits you a lot more…

Yes, I would love to compete in this stage. It`s a completely flat time trial, even slightly downhill. The distance and the profile suit my characteristics perfectly. We will see how it goes, but if I make it until that point, I will fight for the victory, because I`m sure I`m able to win this kind of time trial. I won a similar time trial in Tour de Pologne. My coach always tells me that a half hour-long, high-speed intensive effort on a flat route is my biggest speciality.

So far, you’ve done only one time trial this season. In Ruta del Sol you placed 28th, fourty nine seconds down on the winner, Victor Campenaerts of LottoNL-Jumbo. It was an early-season performance, but what are your recollections from that stage?

I remember that stage very well. We started on new time trial bikes, so we had a few technical problems with position on the bike and stuff like that. And that stage turned out to be more difficult than it looked like on paper. I told Piotr [Wadecki, CCC sports director – M.W.] that it wasn’t a stage for me but I would give my best anyway. The fact that I was several kilos heavier and just began a build-up also played an important role.

Marcin, what other roles will you be assigned to during the Giro d’Italia?

First of all, I would like to race aggressively. I don`t want to do nothing but wait for the time trials. I will receive several opportunities to ride for myself and I will try to be in a breakaway. My other role will be to set the pace for my teammates, for example before the decisive ascents.

From Monday evening you are on Sardinia. How will you spend your last days before the Grande Partenza?

In terms of trainings the job is already done. I’m feeling well and I don`t want to risk overtraining. There are three weeks of hard racing ahead of us, so now I need some rest. I have read biographies of the best cyclists in the world, I was talking with the best pro rider and everybody claims that you can’t start Giro on a full gas. You have to save fresh legs for the third week, otherwise you might be exhausted in the final part of the race.

Thanks for the interview.

Marta Wiśniewska

Translated by Marta Wiśniewska/Aleksandra Górska