Michał Kapusta / naszosie.pl

Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) is Poland`s main hope for a stage win in the Giro d`Italia. The Polish rider expects fierce competition from the very beginning of the Corsa Rosa.

Maciej, how do you feel before your second participation in the Giro d`Italia with the CCC Sprandi Polkowice Team?

I feel quite good, but I can`t say as much about my current shape. I hope I will gradually improve. So far I`ve had ups and downs on my bike – once I was able to fight for a good result and the other time I had no strength in my legs. Our mental preparations started just after we got the invitation to the race. Personally, I like to analyse the route in order to understand what kind of challenges I will come across on the road. Many things are going through my mind at the moment but, generally, I`m optimistic.

How strong is your motivation before the Giro d`Italia 2017?

Our team is very motivated for this race. We have a few beginners in our roster, but, in my opinion, we don`t have problems with maintaining our morale. All CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders are capable of fighting for a stage win and we`re aware of that. We will do our best for our fans and supporters.

What kind of role will be assigned to you during the Giro d`Italia 2017?

I would like to have a free hand, but I will be supporting both our best-placed GC rider and our sprinters. Fast riders are also at our disposal and they have a chance for a good result. I believe I can easily keep up with the best riders in the mountains.

And what will you do if Jan Hirt rides well? Will you protect him as a GC guy?

Yes, of course! Jan used to show his great potential in the mountains and I think he would like prove that he is still in shape in the centenary edition of the Giro. But, on the other hand, it will be his first Grand Tour, so he has to learn a lot in a short period of time. But he can rely on our support in the rough terrain.

Do you have your favourite stages of the race?

The second stage suits my characteristics so I will try to attack from the very first kilometre of the race. I think that the next stages of the race will not provide me with many opportunities, but my overall performance will depend on my shape. For me, the hardest stages will be the Mortirolo hill and the famous Stelvio pass, which we will tackle two times. During my career, I have learned that every stage in a Grand Tour race is difficult. I suppose it will be one of the most demanding races in my career.

What kind of achievement from this year’s Giro would make you happy?

I would like to ride in a successful breakaway. If I finish one of the stages in a top three, I will be satisfied.

Dawid Gruntkowski

Translated by Marta Wiśniewska/Michał Urbanowicz