Course de la Paix U23, a showcase for young talented cyclists from around the world, will take place in the Jesenik region this year from the 2nd to 5th June, again as part of the Nations’ Cup, is the most prestigious international stage event in this age category. The best U23 national teams from Europe and overseas can be expected to participate. And then linked to this, from the 4th to 7th August, is the SAZKA Tour, the most prestigious road stage event in the Czech Republic. It will newly also include a race for recreational riders.
The Race Director for both events is Leopold König, a former elite cyclist. “This year too we are certain there will be a future star among the starting line up,“ he said. Over the years, the Peace Race U23 has been ridden by the likes of Tour de France winner, Tadej Pogačar, who won the overall race in 2018, winner of the Giro d´Italia, Tao Geoghegan Hart and double world champion Julian Alaphilippe. This year we should also see the top young Czech talent, Pavel Bittner, who won the first stage last year, the talented Mathias Vacek, who was sixth overall last year, and another member of the national U23 team, Jakub Ťoupalík.
The Czech contingent should, according to latest reports, be the strongest of recent years and the organisers therefore believe that one of the local Czech riders will enjoy success. “It is clear that for a race in the Czech Republic we will support the local riders. It would certainly be well received by spectators and give us all something to be happy about,” says Leopold König. The last Czech rider on the overall podium was Michal Schlegel in 2017. The final starting list will be known roughly a week before the race.
“Sazka provides long-term systematic support to Czech professional and amateur sport. We are proud to be taking care of the family silver, which both races certainly are in the Czech Republic. We also support cycling as a pastime that millions of Czechs engage in. We are therefore happy that part of the SAZKA Tour will be a race for enthusiasts,” said Aleš Veselý, General Manager of Sazka, the main partner of the Peace Race and SAZKA Tour.
The dreaded Dlouhé stráně awaits cyclists in both races
The Peace Race will begin with a traditional time-trial prologue through the streets of Jeseník on 2nd June. The first stage will lead from Jeseník to Rýmařov, where the dreaded crossing of the “Červenohorské sedlo” awaits cyclists for the first time in seven years. The second stage will follow the Bruntál - Dlouhé stráně route, and the final stage has its start and finish again in Jeseník. In total, the cyclists will cover 450 kilometres and climb over 6,800 metres. Undoubtedly, the two climbs in a row on Dlouhé stráně will be extremely demanding for the riders.
From the UCI rankings, 23 six-member teams were nominated for the Peace Race, including Canada, Spain, Italy and Belgium. In total there are almost 140 riders. The Czech Republic has guaranteed participation as the host nation. The starting list with competitor names will be known just before the race. Last year, the talented Mathias Vacek was sixth overall, and the last domestic cyclist to finish on the podium was Michal Schlegel in 2017. The winner in 2021 was the Italian Filippo Zana, who then went on to dominate the senior race, SAZKA Tour.
SAZKA Tour: Elite teams at the start
The SAZKA Tour, the most prestigious road cycling race in the Czech Republic, will follow on from the Peace Race from 4th to 7th August. It will also have four stages, which cross the Moravian-Silesian, Pardubice, South Moravian and Zlín regions and the Olomouc district. There are several mountain and sprinting bonuses, and 18 teams have already been confirmed, including two from the World Tour (Team BikeExchange - Jayco and BORA - Hansgrohe).
Leopold König would like to see the SAZKA Tour in the World Tour series in the future. "Every year should move us closer to that," said König, who is the only person to have won the race twice, in 2010 and 2013. The first stage will lead from Uničov to Prostějov, the second starts in Olomouc and finishes in Pustevny, in the third stage cyclists will ride from Moravská Třebová to Dlouhé stráně, and the final stage will lead from Šumperk to Šternberk.
The race is part of the UCI Europe Tour, which means that competitors must have a UCI (World Cycling Federation) license. 22 teams will start the SAZKA Tour, which will be selected by the race management according to the UCI ranking and current form. Altogether, there will be over 150 cyclists at the start, selected from the best seven-member world and Czech professional cycling teams (World Team, ProTeam, Continental), and national teams consisting of competitors in the Elite and U23 age categories.
SAZKA Tour Challenge for recreational cyclists
The races will also include the SAZKA Tour Challenge, a 40-kilometre race for the public that will take place on 6th August ahead of the main peloton. The amateurs will try two climbs up Dlouhé stráně, where the approx. 1,700 metres climbed will be a good test of their physical condition. There are a limited number of start numbers available, those interested can register at www.sazkatour.cz<http://www.sazkatour.cz> as early as May. And those who prefer to ride alone can already try selected segments of the SAZKA Tour and Peace Race stages in the “Strava” application.
Peace Race for U23 riders
2nd – 5th June 2022, 4 stages, 436 kilometres, total climb of over 6 800 metres.
4th – 7th August 2022, 4 stages, 714 kilometres, total climb of over 10 000 metres. 6th August SAZKA Tour Challenge, 1 stage, 40 kilometres, climb of 1 700 metres.
Peace Race Partners
general partner * Sazka * main partner * MND * official vehicles * B of B cars * partners * Satum, ACE sport, Bohemia Crystal, Prim, Scott, ReklamniPlachty.cz<http://ReklamniPlachty.cz> * with support from * Nadace ČEZ, Moravian-Silesian Region, Olomouc Region, Jeseník, Rýmařov, Bruntál, Czech Cycling Federation, National Sports Agency
SAZKA Tour Partners
general partner * Sazka * main partner * MND * official vehicles * B of B cars * partners * Satum, ACE sport, Bohemia Crystal, Prim, Scott, ReklamniPlachty.cz<http://ReklamniPlachty.cz> * with support from * Moravian-Silesian Region, Olomouc Region, Pardubice Region, Moravská Třebová, Olomouc, Prostějov, Šternberk, Šumperk, Uničov, Czech Cycling Federation, National Sports Agency * SAZKA Tour Challenge partner * Enervit
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