The biggest star in the peloton, Frenchman Pierre Gautherat, won the opening stage of the Under-23 Peace Race. He flew through the time trial at an average of over fifty kilometres per hour and narrowly took the leader‘s yellow jersey of this prestigious race. Pavel Novák finished as best of the Czechs in fourteenth position.
"It was a good ride, I gave it my all. Above all I wanted to race through the fast corners, which I succeeded in doing. I liked the track, the downhill was very fast. I aimed to win at least one stage, so I am very satisfied," said the winner.
The late afternoon start of this opening time trial on the Jeseník square, took place in a good atmosphere, as people lined the barriers in droves and encouraged on the riders, who battled the 3,100-metre-long circuit with a 22-metre elevation gain.
For a long time, Mathieu Kockelmann of Luxembourg held the lead, with a time of 3:46 minutes. The rules stated that competitors were not permitted to use a special time trial bike or helmet on this stage.
Spectators watched the talented cyclists race the clock. Jack Rootkin Gray of Great Britain covered the route at an average of 49.82 kilometres per hour and took the lead. Subsequently, the talented young German riders demonstrated their strength. Moritz Kretschy of Germany completed the circuit in 3:42 minutes, he was soon overtaken by Tobias Buck-Gramcko, who was less than a second faster. For a brief moment, Dane Carl Frederik Bevort took first place with a time of 3:39.32 minutes. But before he could enjoy the feeling of being the leader, the leading man was again a German: Henri Uhlig.
However, Gautherat, who rides for World Tour team AG2R Citroën, clocked a great time. He crossed the magic fifty kilometre mark, flying round at 50.96 kilometres per hour. The 20-year-old, who completed the Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders Monuments this year, was the hot favourite for the overall race and took the yellow jersey with a famous performance.
Pavel Novák in fourteenth place was the best of the Czech riders, seven seconds down on the lead; Filip Řeha was nine seconds down in twenty-fifth place. "I'm satisfied, the course was nice, even if it wasn't ideal on those cobbles. I'm mainly looking forward to the following stages, I feel good in the hills and they suit me. I'm satisfied with the time, even though nothing was decided today; the following stages will count for something more," said Pavel Novák, who is one of the leaders of the Czech national team.