It couldn't have been more dramatic. The winner of this year's SAZKA Tour was decided at the finish line of the last stage and race director Leopold König described this situation as the strongest moment of the race, which he said is still growing in quality. "But we want to push further," König plans.
The race was won overall by Italy's Lorenzo Rota, who beat Denmark's Anthon Charming, who was threatening his overall lead, by centimetres in the final finish of the last stage in a battle for third place. The best Czech rider at start Jan Hirt was 11th in overall standings.
"For me it was in one word unbelievable. It was only the last stage that showed the winner, it wasn't decided a few metres before the finish. Rota overtook his rival only at the finish line, it was a very close final," König was pleased that the SAZKA Tour was also attractive for the spectators thanks to this moment.
In his evaluation, König praised in particular the Czech rider Michael Kukrle, who was on the podium twice in the four stages and also provoked a breakaway in the last leg to finish second. "All honour. He rode 60km before the finish, and although he didn't win, it was him who made the race with his activity," said the race director, who himself has won the SAZKA Tour twice in the past.
The race director is aware that the standard of the race is rising, but said it is not advisable to back down. "We have a stronger field every year, and if we can maintain that upward trajectory, we'll be happy. We want more World Tour teams, bigger stars at the start," he projected. Proof of the quality is the fact that last year's winner, Filippo Zana of Italy, signed with the World Tour Bike Exchange team but didn't even make the podium at this year's SAZKA Tour.
"Winning this race is a small ticket to the big world," thinks König. He also thanked the cities and regions involved, but most importantly the spectators. "The atmosphere on the hills and in the finishing towns was fantastic," König added.