One Pro Cycling have always had an eye for young talent, and after they dropped back down to the UCI Continental level for 2017, they began to restock their team with some promising young riders. Despite the 2018 roster being young (only three riders older than 25), the team has just two U23s: Tom Baylis and Szymon Tracz.
After securing 8th overall in his national U23 Tour, the Carpathian Couriers U23 race, U23 Cycling Zone caught up with Szymon, who hails from Poland. At just 19, he is a real emerging talent, and along with Leopard’s Filip Maciejuk, headlines the best crop of Polish talent since Rafal Majka and Michal Kwiatkowski broke through back in 2012 at WorldTour level.
“My season so far is really good so far, I am glad that I can develop myself in such a professional team, the team give me motivation when I wake up in the morning.”
When describing his riding style, Szymon revealed he prefers Classics and stage races that contain short, punchy climbs. Turning to his new team, Szymon explained his move from Poland to the UK.
“This team is on a very professional level and I have huge possibilities to develop myself through participating in big races in the cycling calendar. I am the youngest part of this team and I can learn exactly what I need from my teammates who have been professionals for a while.”
His 8th spot in the GC at the Carpathian Race was a real source of confidence for the young man. Tracz says he always wants to win, but there are results like tis that give him real confirmation that his progress is good, even if he doesn’t win.
“When I am on a start line, I think all the time just about winning the race, but sometimes places on a top ten are also very important, as in this case during Karpacki Wyścig Kurierów (Polish for Carpathian Couriers Race, ed.). I was so happy in this demanding race but now I would like to focus on next part of the season and keep training as before.”
For the last twelve months or so, Szymon has been wearing the jersey of U23 National RR champion, a title he scored at the tender age of just 18. Szymon spoke about his season racing in his special jersey.
“After last year’s Polish Championships, my confidence has risen rapidly. That day I felt than anything may happen. I knew that I cannot hope but I had to believe strongly in my aim of winning that race, I was totally focused on this target having just a lot of thoughts about victory, since that day I know that the ”head” is 90% of the victory.”
Szymon is back in action with his national team on Sunday at the U23 European RR, in nearby Czech Republic. He also hopes to make the Tour de l’Avenir team, and has some tough one-day races with One Pro to attend as build up.
“On Sunday I am going to the U23 European Championships and it will be one of my priorities for this part of the season, and later with Polish National Federation I will participate in the Tour de l’Avenir and race La Poly Normande with my team, which will be also very important to me.”
Szymon’s riding style seems similar to that of current elite Polish RR champion and a real star of cycling Michal Kwiatkowski. Therefore, it is no surprise that Tracz’s dream pro race to win was arguably the race that launched his compatriot from rising star to superstar in the sport.
“If I could win one race it would definitely be the World Championships.”
Szymon is still learning the ropes of the U23 category, but has already shown plenty of promise in his two-year U23 career. His skillset means he suits a lot of races, and is he keeps progressing, he will become a real contender in some big U23 Classics, as well as even a potential challenge to Kwiatkowski and co. in the elite national road race.
U23 Cycling Zone wishes to thank Szymon for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season. We also wish to thank One Pro Cycling for setting the interview up and helping translate the few areas of English Szymon doesn’t quite yet have a full grasp of.