German rider Joshua Huppertz of Team Lotto - Kern Haus fought his way to victory in the first stage of the SAZKA Tour. This went 150.8 kilometres from Prostějov to Uničov and ended with an evenly matched sprint against Norwegian Idar Andersen of Uno-X Pro Cycling Team. The best Czech finisher was Dominik Neuman (Elkov Kasper) in fifth place.
Seven kilometres from the start, the riders returned to Prostějov, where the first sprint bonus was won by Colin Heiderscheid of Luxembourg, and Petr Kelemen (Elkov Kasper) took third place. Almost immediately afterwards the first break-away took place, which proved to be the decisive moment in the stage. The break-away included Huppertz, Andersen, Tom Lindner of Germany, Adne Koster of the Netherlands and Damien Papierski of Poland.
The riders were not helped by the weather – it rained almost the whole time, in places very heavily, and the thermometer only rose to 15 degrees. The group gained a lead of three and a half minutes. Koster and Papierski dropped out on the ascent to the first climb bonus in Veselí at 105 kilometres, but the other three bravely stuck together. During the second bonus climb in Bouzov their lead reduced considerably. First to a minute, then to a half a minute, and it seemed only a matter of time before they would be caught by the peloton.
However, they continued to struggle in the main pack as no one wanted to lead the peloton, so the break-away group maintained their slender lead until the finish line. On the long finish straight Linder fell back, but the remaining two sprinted to the final metre with Huppertz wining on the line, who then wears the yellow jersey on stage two as the race leader. The main pack was led to the finish line by Jonas Koch of Germany (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) followed immediately by Neuman. His teammate, Olympian Michael Kukrle, finished in seventh, thus making the elite top ten.
"I am happy apart from not being able to chase down the top three, otherwise we would be on the podium. Neuman was ninth here a year ago, and finished second in the pack today, and Kukrle was there with him. It shows he’s in good form after the long journey from the Olympics," said Elkov Kasper coach, Otakar Fiala.
stage: Prostějov - Uničov (150.8 km)
1. Huppertz (Ger./Team Lotto - Kern Haus) 3:34:35, 2. Andersen (Nor./Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) identical time, 3. Lindner (Ger./Metalltechnik) -1, 4. Koch (Ger./Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), 5. Neuman (Elkov - Kasper), 6. Urianstad (Nor./Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), 7. Kukrle, ...36. A. Ťoupalík, 38. Bárta, 55. Otruba (all Elkov-Kasper), 56. Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), 57. Turek (Team Felbermayr - Simplon Wls), 59. Zahálka all +15, 74. Petr Kelemen (both Elkov Kasper) +2:46.