100 days to go - route & first teams presented for the 5th Cycling Tour of Sibiu
Since the beginning in 2011, the Cycling Tour of Sibiu has grown bigger every year. In 2013, the race obtained classification as a 2.1 stage race, and for its 5th edition, the race expands again: The city centre prologue will be followed by four full road stages for the first time ever, including two challenging mountaintop finishes.
With 100 days to go until racing gets underway on 1st July 2015, we present a detailed overview of the 2015 race route and the first teams.
A route for sprinters and climbers alike
It is a tradition for the Cycling Tour of Sibiu to start with a technical evening prologue on the old, cobblestone-paved roads of the medieval city centre. This year, the opening challenge will be 2.3 km long, starting and finishing on the city square Piața Mare.
The four road stages that follow all depart from the Piața Mare as well, making the race accessible for spectators.
Stage 1 on 2nd July will be the first stage in the history of the race to break the 200 km mark. Although it is classified as a flat stage, the five classified climbs mean that a mass sprint is in no way a foregone conclusion. The newly-paved category-1 climb of Poiana Sibiului in particular could be used to attack and split the field apart, but as it crests almost 50 km from the finish on the Bulevardul Victoriei, a group sprint is nevertheless most likely.
On 3rd July, stage 2 will venture to the west, passing the communities of Saliște, Miercurea Sibiului and Sebeș before heading into the mountains for the picturesque Transalpina road and the climb of Jina with its four hairpins. A first serious selection is bound to be made here, but the decisive climb of the day will be the ascent to the mountain resort of Păltiniș, with the finish line at 1438 m.
Stage 3 is the undisputed queen stage: 4th July is the day where the race can be won or lost. The first three quarters of the stage are flat, with only two small hills on the way. But the final of the stage is anything but flat, as the peloton will ride up the epic Transfăgărășan Road. The "best road in the world" climbs continuously for more than 25 km, meaning that only the strongest climbers can aim for the stage win at the glacial lake of Bâlea.
The race will conclude on 5th July with a 144.9 km afternoon stage in the close vicinity of Sibiu. After three laps of a circuit just south of the city, including the climb of Gura Raului, the peloton will head to Slimnic for the last real obstacle of the race before concluding with a classics-like uphill finish, leading through the streets of Sibiu to the Piața Mare in the upper city.
Further information on the individual stages can be found by clicking on the stage profiles below.
Looking forward to a strong peloton
The Cycling Tour of Sibiu is a popular race with teams from all over Europe, with many teams to return for the third time in 2015. 18 international teams have already confirmed their participation, with the team list expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.
With Adria Mobil, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Verandas Willems and Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team, the teams of all 2014 stage and jersey winners have already confirmed their participation, promising another competitive race.
Other returning teams are Italian Professional Continental team Androni Giocattoli, who have a Romanian rider in Serghei Țvetcov; Azerbaijan's Synergy Baku Cycling Project, the team of 2013 stage winner Markus Eibegger; the very international Team Differdange - Losch from Luxembourg; Norwegian outfits Team Frøy Oslo and Team Ringeriks-Kraft; Italy's Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani; Utensilnord from Hungary; and Tușnad Cycling Team, the only Romanian Continental team. There will also be a Romanian national selection, led by the young sprinting talent Eduard Grosu.
Romania's eastern neighbour Ukraine will be represented by Amore & Vita - Selle SMP, whose mix of Ukrainians, Italians and international riders will surely make their own mark on the race.
Sibiu, also known as Hermannstadt, is the centre of the German minority in Romania - this is reflected in a strong contingent of German teams, including LKT Team Brandenburg, Bike Aid and Team Stuttgart, the latter two making their debut in the race.
Finally, the British team Madison Genesis is another new addition to the peloton. For the team's many riders with track experience, the technical prologue will provide an good opportunity for a result.