A showcase of world cycling Talent! The Peace Race, a stage race for cyclists under the age of 23, will be held in the Czech Republic from Thursday, 8th to the 11th June. A number of riders on the rosters of the twenty-two teams are already flirting with elite cycling. So, who can the spectators expect to see in the Jeseníky this year?
The Czech team, under the leadership of sports director René Andrle, is evenly composed from three domestic teams; a trio of riders will arrive at the race meeting from abroad. Twenty-two-year-old Filip Řeha (pictured) and Tomáš Obdržálek, two years younger, belong to the Elkov team. Twenty-one-year-old Karel Camrda wears the jersey of ATT Investments. At the age of twenty-one, Jakub Ťoupalík defends the interests of the Education Nippo Development Team. The talented Pavel Novák will arrive from Italy, who wears the Colpack Ballan jersey at the age of eighteen and was sixth overall in the Junior Peace Race last year. A year older, Milan Kadlec of the DSM Development team dominated one stage at the Saarland Trofeo last season, when he was still 18 years old.
Frenchman Pierre Gautherat already has experience from the World Tour, the peak of international cycling. The rider, who is on the roster of the AG2R Citroën team, completed two Monuments this year. He rode the Tour of Flanders, and then completed the Paris-Roubaix. His compatriot, Eddy Le Huitouze, wears the jersey of the "farm" team Groupama FDJ.
Dane Adnreas Foladager, at the age of twenty-one, celebrated a triumph on the Trofeo Citta di San Vendemiano race this year, thus confirming his talent. That’s why the Jayco-AlUla World Tour team, where Zdeněk Štybar currently rides, concluded a two-year contract with him for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
The jersey of the Belgian national team will be worn by Jelle Harteel, who is on the roster of the Lotto Development team. The same jersey is worn by Joshua Giddings, who will arrive in the Czech Republic for the U23 Peace Race with the Great Britain team.
On the rosters of the development teams of the World Tour teams there are several world cycling talents who, over four stages, will face the challenges of the route "devised" by former elite rider, Leopold König.
Germany has Henri Uhlig in their line-up, who rides with the Alpecin Deceuninck Development team. Austria will be represented by Benjamin Eckerstorfer, who has signed up for the Soudal Quick Step Devo line-up this year and next.
Twenty-year-old Morten Aalling Nortoft of Denmark won a stage at the Orlen Nations Grand Prix last year and became the overall winner of the prestigious stage race for under-23 competitors. That is why he was signed by the Jumbo Visma development team.
Slovenian Gal Glivar of the Adria Mobil team, whose colours have in the past been worn by the recent Giro di Italia winner and three-time Vuelta winner Primož Roglič, dominated this year's overall Orlen Nations Grand Prix and Carpathian Race standings, where he was the fastest in two stages.
American Cole Kessler has demonstrated his talent at the Israel Premier Tech Academy, which also includes Daniel Lima from Portugal. Luca Jenni of Switzerland is Jakub Ťoupalík's partner in EF Education Nippo Development.
Three Spaniards wear the jerseys of teams classified in the ProTeam category, which is the second highest "league" after the World Tour. Enekoitz Azparren and Xabier Isasa ride for Euskaltel Euskadi Pro Conti, Alejandro Franco for Burgos BH.
Of the Italians, Simone Raccani is racing for the EOLO Kometa formation. His compatriot Igor Dario Belletta wears the Jumbo Visma Development jersey.
Although they do not belong to any major team, two exceptional "notches" were scored by the Serbian youngsters Jovan Divnič and Luka Turkulov, who won a stage on the Tour of Serbia and the Tour of Albania stage race respectively, which are UCI category 2.2 races.
The Aricoma team, a formation made up of promising Czech riders, led by Jaromír Friede, the national champion of 2001, have been given a wild card entry. Fans can look forward to seeing Tomáš Přidal of the Elkov Kasper team, who can boast winning the Czech Cup in Krásná Lípa at the age of just nineteen. He will be joined on the roster by Daniel Mráz (Elkov), Matěj Stránský (ATT), Štěpán Telecký (Elkov), Jan Lukeš (Elkov) and Filip Chýle (ATT).