30. 5. – 2. 6. 2024 UCI Europe Tour

Pavel Bittner was a close second in the final stage of the Peace Race, Mathias Vacek is third overall

Czech cyclist Pavel Bittner found himself in a fight for a Peace Race stage victory for a second time, and for a second time he just failed. At the finish, after 167 kilometres, he was defeated by British rider Samuel Watson in the Jeseník town square. Another Czech cyclist, Mathias Vacek, crossed the finish line with the main peloton in 30th place, thus maintaining his third position in the overall standings. The overall winner was Belgian Lennert Van Eetvelt, who was the best of the field on Saturday's key double climb up Dlouhé Stráně.

From the start of today's final stage, with a total elevation gain of 2,340 metres, the peloton did not race much, and so various groups of riders broke away from the pack, and a group of nine riders coalesced after a while, and were up to eight minutes ahead at one point. However, the peloton decided to pick up the pace halfway through the stage, and it started to run down the fugitives and finally, shortly before the finish line, it caught them. The cyclists raced for the finish line together. Today, the Czech riders strove to advance Mathias Vacek in the overall standings, but they were unsuccessful.

Bittner experienced joy and slight disappointment today. He was declared the winner at the finish, but the judges reviewed the decision due to the extremely close finish and in the end they switched the order. It was the victorious Watson who came to tell him of the change. Bittner had no choice but to congratulate him. "I wasn't sure because someone said I was first, then second again, but that's just the way it goes," said Bittner, who was also second on Friday's stage that finished in Jeseník.

"So I'm definitely not disappointed, today I rode the mountaineering bonuses and still managed to sprint well at the finish. It was tight, but it happens. I had belief, but it just didn't work out," Bittner shrugged. Overall he was positive about the Peace Race. "It couldn't have been much better overall; perhaps if Maty (Mathias Vacek) had done a little better on Dlouhé stráně yesterday, it would have been slightly better. However, he gave it all there, and the whole team rode really well for four days. I am very satisfied," added Bittner.

Mathias Vacek had hoped to win overall, but he wasn't particularly disappointed after the race either. "It could have been a victory, but one can still improve and in the future some victories will come," said Vacek, who won the introductory prologue in Jeseník and was fourth in Saturday's stage. "I'm happy with that, nothing more could have helped me today, the guys did a great job and there wasn‘t much to think of out there today. There weren't that many hills and not that hard, so there was nowhere to make a difference. It was fast towards the finish, it was impossible to break to the front," said the nineteen-year-old Czech talent.

In the middle of summer, from 4 to 7 August, another Sazka Tour stage race will take place in the Jeseníky Mountains. It is the highest quality domestic race, and the cyclists will no longer have an age restriction.

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