4.–7. 8. 2022
UCI Europe Tour

Schultz was first at Pustevny and leads overall

Aug 6, 2021

Riders from Australian Team BikeExchange set their sights on the third overall victory in a row at the SAZKA Tour. The second stage from Olomouc to Pustevny (203.4 km), the longest stage, was won by Australian Nicholas Schultz, and also brought him the yellow jersey as race leader. Czech rider Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) also rode an excellent stage, and finished fourth, a position he also held in the overall standings.

The first break-away came relatively quickly, and included Veljko Stojnič of Serbia, David Per of Slovenia and Sylwester Janiszewki of Poland. The latter of these won the first sprint bonus, but soon the efforts of two leaders was insufficient. The Peloton was unworried by the breakaway, even though the lead extended to five and a half minutes.  

The race began in earnest when the stage entered its second half. After the first transit through Pustevny the duo from Norwegian team Uno-X Pto Cycling Team, Idar Andersen and Jonas Hvideberg, set off after the leading pair. They were successful, and at the same time Per fell back from the leading group. However, the Peloton also accelerated, driven by the riders of World Tour teams Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, Team BikeExchange and also Elkov Kasper.

The first of the leading three to fall back was Andersen, and then Stojnič too could not keep up the pace. This left Hvideberg alone at the front, but eight kilometres from the finish line his effort too came to an end. The race was decided during the second climb to Pustevny, when the entire field was practically spread out individually. The greatest strength over the final few hundred metres was shown by Schultz, who reached the finish seven seconds ahead of the winner of the recent Peace Race U23, Italian Filippo Zana of Bardiani-CSF-Faizane and team colleague of Hirt, Rein Taaramäe of Estonia. Of the Czech riders, Adam Ťoupalík, Michael Kukrle, Jakub Otruba (all Elkov Kasper) and Daniel Turek (Team Felbermayr - Simplon Wels) finished not far behind among the second ten.

"We didn’t have any special strategy. We wanted to ride individually, but our competitors didn’t let us escape. I stayed at the front with Rein, but the best man won, and that was Nicholas Schultz. I haven’t raced much since the Giro, and the second half of a season tends to be weaker for me.  However, it was good today. Of course, we wanted to win, but the winner was stronger; the stage was all about the final sector. We will see how it goes tomorrow," said Jan Hirt, who will wear the red jersey for the best Czech rider during Saturday's stage.

Results:

2nd stage: Olomouc - Pustevny (203.4 km)

1. Schultz (Austr./Team BikeExchange) 5:00:28, 2. Zana (It./Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) +7, 3. Taaramae (Est./Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) +10, 4. Hirt (CZ/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) +17, 5. Zoidl (Rak./Team Felbermayr - Simplon) +19, 6. Covili (It./Luca Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) +22, ...11. A. Ťoupalík +32, 13. Kukrle +34, 17. Otruba (all Elkov Kasper) +51, 18. Turek (CZ/Team Felbermayr - Simplon Wels) +53, 30. J. Bárta +1:36, 55. Zahálka, 56. Petr Kelemen both +4:58, 68. Neuman (all Elkov Kasper) +7:04, 83. M. Vacek (CZ/Gazprom - RusVelo) +11:46.

Standings after the 2nd stage:

1. Schultz 8:35:18, 2. Zana +7, 3. Taaramae +10, 4. Hirt +17, 5. Zoidl +19, 6. Gabburo (It./Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) +22, ...12. A. Ťoupalík +32, 13. Kukrle +34, 16. Otruba +51, 18. Turek +53, 28. J. Bárta +1:36, 52. Zahálka +4:58, 60. Neuman +7:04, 62. Petr Kelemen +7:28, 82. Vacek +14:17.

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