30. 5. – 2. 6. 2024 UCI Europe Tour

Danish talent dominates the opening stage of the Peace Race

Danish talent, Morten Aalling Nörtoft, won the opening stage of the U23 Peace Race in a sprint. The twenty-one-year-old was in the breakaway group that for almost eighty kilometres led the peloton from Krnov to Opava. He is part of the Visma-Lease a Bike Development team, whose jersey he earned, among other things, by triumphing in the 2022 Orlen Nations Grand Prix!

"I am pretty happy, I would say. The hardest part was the first climb. hill. If it started raining, I'd just be happier because that would have slowed down the peloton," said Nörtoft after the successful finish in Opava. The Danish rider did not plan any big celebrations. "I'm gonna first get a phone, I'll call my girlfriend and my manager. I will make sure to get my nutrition right and have a good night's sleep, tommorrow is antoher day" he added.

The opening kilometres of the 2024 U23 Peace Race brought a parade of attacks. During the stage from Krnov to Opava, the young representatives of France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Great Britain and Israel were extremely active, but the peloton quickly quelled their efforts.

It was only after forty-seven kilometres that the quartet of Remkhi (Kazakhstan), Nörtoft (Denmark), Faingezicht (Israel), and Schrettl (Austria) escaped, followed by Chesini (Italy), Schellekens (Netherlands) and Ingebrigtsen (Norway). The trio in the second group quickly erased the fifteen-second deficit and a group of seven was formed at the front.

The escapees worked together in an exemplary manner and the peloton got into trouble. While Alberto Carlo Monti of the Czech Republic withdrew from the race after a crash, the riders at the front built up a lead of ninety seconds. Although the main field worked with all their might, they managed to knock no more than thirty-five seconds off the gap to the leading riders, who, driven by the vision of success, took turns and gave their pursuers no hope of getting close.

Even before Kazakhstani Remkhi dropped out of the leading group thirty kilometres from the finish, the peloton was 1 minute and 45 seconds behind.

Though only six, the escapees fought back. But for the last twenty minutes, the peloton was on a wild chase. One by one, they cut one second from the gap to the leading group.

With two kilometres to go, the gap was down to ten seconds. In the end, however, the fugitives' immense effort was rewarded. The peloton was a few seconds behind, and so the king of the opening act of the U23 Peace Race was decided between the breakaway six. Denmark's Morten Aalling Nörtoft, who is on the roster of the Visma-Lease a Bike development team, was fastest in the spurt.

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 2 June in Jeseník.

Peace Race U23 2024 – stage 1

Krnov – Opava, 123 km/1739 m elev. gain

1. Morten Aalling Nörtoft (Denmark) 2:50:18.
2. David Louis Sutton (Great Britain) ‘‘
3. Storm Ingebrigtsen (Norway) ‘‘
4. Cesare Chesini (Italy) ‘‘
5. Emry Faingezicht (Israel) ‘‘
6. Marco Schrettl (Austria) ‘‘
7. Alfred Hobbs (Great Britain) +0:06
8. Robert Donaldson (Great Britain) ‘‘
9. Niklas Behrens (Germany) ‘‘
10.Paul Magnier (France) ‘‘
15. Matyáš Fiala (Czechia) ‘‘
26. Daniel Rubeš (Czechia-Aricoma team) ‘‘
52. Tomáš Přidal (Czechia) ‘‘
53. Tomáš Obdržálek (Czechia) ‘‘
59. Daniel Vysočan (Czechia) ‘‘
84. Martin Bárta (Czechia) ‘‘
117. Tomáš Novák (Czechia-Aricoma team) ‘‘
118. Štěpán Dalecký (Czechia-Aricoma team) ‘‘

Alberto Carlo Monti (Czechia)
Vilém Vostal (Czechia-Aricoma team)
Ondřej Pokorný (Czechia-Aricoma team)
Lukáš Sedlák (Czechia-Aricoma team)

Photo: Jan Brychta

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