30. 5. – 2. 6. 2024 UCI Europe Tour

A riveting drama! The French celebrate, Rolland wins the queen stage of the Peace Race

Twenty-year-old Frenchman Brieuc Rolland won Saturday's stage of the Peace Race under 23! He was victorious on the hard climb in the third stage finishing at Dlouhé stráně after a thrilling drama, beating Belgium's Aaron Dockx and Portugal's António Morgado at the finish. He now dons the yellow jersey of the overall race leader.

"A beautiful, very aggressive finish on the Dlouhé stráně," said race director and former pro racer Leopold König with respect for the performance of the riders. Did we see the overall winner of the Peace Race at the top of the difficult climb? "I think Rolland could take the yellow jersey all the way to Jeseník. However, it's up to the French team to control the entire stage tomorrow and not allow another team to attack them. We'll see if they are strong enough," said König looking forward to Sunday's final stage.

Saturday's stage of the 2024 Peace Race for cyclists up to 23 years of age headed from Bruntál to Dlouhé stráně. Before the peloton set off to cover the first metres, the ČEZ Energy Race, for toddlers on balance bikes and child cyclists, took place at the Kouty nad Desnou Ski Resort.

Competitors under 23 years of age on the third stage had to cover a total of 99 kilometres and climb 2,156 metres. The third leg of the Nations Cup, which also includes the Polish Orlen Grand Prix and the French Tour de l'Avenir, was not entered by the leader of the standings. Morten Nörtoft of Denmark was still leading the standings despite a crash shortly before the Friday's finish, but he did not start the third stage due to injury. Storm Ingebrigsten of Norway took the yellow jersey. The red jersey of the best Czech rider in the standings was worn by Tomáš Obdržálek.

From the start of the Saturday's stage it was a very sharp race, but the peloton destroyed all attempts to breakaway. Only after twenty kilometres did Tim Rex of Belgium manage to build up an interesting gap of twenty seconds ahead of the main field. However, he still had seventy-eight kilometres to go. 

When he cut only four kilometres off this he was caught by Wessel Mouris of the Netherlands. Together, working hard at the front, they built a lead that at one point was as much as one minute and forty-five seconds. However, the peloton rode knowing that there are two KOMs to the finish, including the final climb up the Dlouhé stráně, which gave the breakaway little hope.

Indeed, on the run-up to the final climb, the lead of the breakaway pair was only twenty seconds. Sixteen hundred metres were all it took for the peloton to swallow up the Mouris-Rex pair, with the frantic pace of the young riders soon taking its toll in the form of the breakaways. Frenchman Paul Magnier, winner of the second stage, was among the first. Storm Ingebrigsten of Norway, riding in the yellow jersey of the race leader, soon dropped out.

With three kilometres to go, there was only a group of twenty-five cyclists at the front. The rest of the starting field resembled beads fragmented into larger or smaller groups flocking to the top of Dlouhá stráně. Two hundred meters later, even Tim Rex, riding in the polka dot jersey of the best climber of the race, could not keep up the pace.

The peloton was stealing metre after metre of the hard climb. With 2,500 metres to go, Frenchman Léo Bisiaux, who is on the roster of the Decathlon AG2R LaMondiale development team, worked his way into a slight lead.

After a few hundred metres of solo riding, the 19-year-old began to be chased by a group of five rivals including compatriot Brieuc Rolland, Portugal's António Morgado, Belgium's Aaron Dockx, Denmark's Simon Dalby and Wouter Toussaint of the Netherlands. 

Léo Bissiaux eventually couldn't resist the pressure of his pursuers and the group swept across just before the finish. In the end, his compatriot Brieuc Rolland triumphed. The second man in the overall standings of the recent Orlen Nations Grand Prix made a crucial step to make this year's great season even better.

Belgian Tim Rex was named the most active rider of the day, while the best Czech rider was Tomáš Přidal, who finished twelfth.

The 2024 U23 Peace Race started on Thursday 30 May in Krnov. There are a total of four stages in the programme, the winner will be crowned on Sunday 2 June in Jeseník.

Peace Race U23 2024 – stage 3

Bruntál – Dlouhé stráně, 99 km, 2156 elev. gain, av. speed 38 km/h

1. Brieuc Rolland (France) 2:36:30
2. Aaron Dockx (Belgium) ''
3. António Morgado (Portugal) ''
4. Wouter Toussaint (Netherlands) +0:05
5. Simon Dalby (Denmark) ''
6. Léo Bisiaux (France) ''
7. Darren van Bekkum (Netherlands) +0:10
8. Arno Wallenborn (Luxembourg) ''
9. Nils Aebersold (Switzerland) +0:16
10. Jeferson Ruiz (Colombia) +0:19

12. Tomáš Přidal (Czechia) ''
30. Tomáš Vysočan (Czechia) +1:32
59. Daniel Rubeš (Team Aricoma) +4:51
60. Martin Bárta (Czechia) ''
62. Tomáš Obdržálek (Czechia) ''
94. Štěpán Dalecký (Team Aricoma) +13:08
96. Tomáš Novák (Team Aricoma) ''
104. Matyáš Fiala (Czechia) +13:53

Foto: Barbora Reichová, Jan Brychta

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