Czech talent, Mathias Vacek, won the first stage of the Peace Race for riders under the age of 23, which was a prologue through the streets of Jeseník town centre. He will start Friday‘s stage from Jeseník to Rýmařov in the race-leader‘s jersey. Vacek crossed the finish line of the 3.4-kilometre course in a time of 4 minutes 11.83 seconds, beating the second-place Lennert Van Eetvelt of Belgium by 11 hundredths. The success of the Czech cyclists was underlined by the sixth place of Pavel Bittner, who was 2.11 seconds behind Vacek.
"It probably couldn’t have gone any better today," smiled Vacek, who was sixth in the final standings of last year's Peace Race, and has an appetite for the podium this year. "I don't have many races at the moment, so my motivation is even greater," said the cyclist.
"I was really looking forward to it, so went for it from the start; I didn't run out of energy and it worked out," Vacek, still only nineteen, rejoiced. "I know there's always something that can be improved, but if you're first, you're not looking at mistakes. I'm glad that the prologue turned out well, you can see that I can cycle well both on the flat and uphill, so the following stages will probably also turn out well," he said hopefully.
The second stage on Friday is 130 kilometres, and the overall winner will probably be decided on Saturday, when the competitors will twice ride from Bruntál up the dreaded Dlouhé Stráně. The race ends on Sunday with a 166 km stage around Jeseník.