30. 5. – 2. 6. 2024 UCI Europe Tour

The road to cycling fame? U23 Peace Race in Jeseníky

Cyclists who, as unknown riders in the past, competed in the Under 23 Peace Race and went on to become stars among the elite, could easily form an elite team themselves. A two-time king of the Tour de France, two-time world champion, winners of stages at the Tour de France, the Italian Giro and the Spanish Vuelta, as well as winners of famous classics and races of the highest category of the World Tour. Who competed on the Czech roads over the past eight years? We chose eight stars. Four of the cyclists are currently together in the UAE Emirates team, which includes the brightest star to have competed in Jeseníky.

Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia)

(UAE Emirates, 24)

One of the past overall winners of the Peace Race... In 2019, he started the final stage sixth in the standings. A brilliant solo effort, during which several teams chased him in vain, brought him victory. He also took first place in the classification of hill climbers.

A few months later he dominated the Tour de l'Avenir, and in the following year he excelled, finishing third overall in the Vuelta, he dominated the Tour of California and the Tour of the Algarve. Then, year later, he became the king of the Tour de France. At the Grande Boucle, he was second for a long time, but in the penultimate stage during the time trial on the La Planche des Belles Filles, he showed an otherworldly performance and deprived his unfortunate compatriot, Roglič, of triumph.  

Last year the young Slovenian ruled the roads. He won the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico stage and the Tour of Slovenia. In 2021 he was supreme in defending his Tour de France triumph. He rode in the leader's yellow jersey for a total of fourteen days, then ended the season with a sensational triumph in the famous classic Tour of Lombardy. He has already dominated here twice. In addition, he celebrated a triumph in two other Monuments: Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Tour of Flanders!

The young Slovenian became a global sports star. Over 800,000 people follow him on Instagram, and special accounts are dedicated, for example, to his hairstyles.

Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark)

(Jumbo Visma, 26)

In Jeseníky in the spring of 2018, the Danish cyclist claimed fifth place overall, which sealed his transfer from the continental ColoQuick team to the Jumbo Visma team. He won a stage at the UAE Tour and the Tour of Poland, dominated the Coppi Bartali race and, most importantly, was second overall at the Tour de France in 2021.

Last year he put in an exceptional performance during the Tour de France. He was able to win the most famous race on the planet. He returned home in a jet escorted by fighter planes, and tens of thousands of fans welcomed him in Copenhagen.

Joao Almeida (Portugal)

(UAE Emirates, 24)

When the Portuguese rider competed in the Peace Race peloton just before the covid-19 pandemic, he did not achieve any dazzling results. At that time, he was still part of the Pro Continental line-up of the Hagens Berman Axeon team. In the spring a year later, he impressed at the Italian Giro, where he rode as a rookie of the Deceuninck Quick Step team for fifteen days in the leader's pink jersey. In the end, he lost the battle for the Maglia Rosa, but his fourth place was a sensation. A year later, he won the stage races, the Tour of Poland and Tour of Luxembourg. In addition to the stage firsts from these races, he also has honours from the Tour of Catalonia.

Lennard Kämna (Germany)

(Bora hansgrohe, 26)

The German hill climber has competed three times at the Tour de France, twice rode the Giro, and once the Vuelta. He has won a stage at the Tour de France and the Giro, adding other partial triumphs in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour de Catalunya and Tour of the Alps races.

Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)

(UAE Emirates, 24)

Third in the final standings of the 2018 Peace Race. A few months later, he became the under-twenty-three world champion. At that time, he was still on the roster of the Sunweb development team. In the next season, however, he moved to the elite. He won a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg; he won the Walloon Arrow and can also boast a win in the twelfth stage of the Tour de France 2020. This year he dominated the Tour of Hungary race.

Pavel Sivakov (Russia)

(Ineos Grenadiers, 25)

When, as an eighteen-year-old, this Russian/French dual citizen ate up the kilometres on Czech roads in the spring of 2016, the fans were rather unimpressed with his performance. Perhaps just a tall figure. But his exceptional talent is evidenced by the fact that two years later he was on the roster of Sky, today's Ineos. Among the elite, he has won the Tour of Poland, the Tour of the Alps, was ninth at the Giro d'Italia and already has eight Grand Tours under his belt. The first of these was in Spain at the age of nineteen.

Julian Alaphilippe (France)

(Quick Step Alpha Vinyl, 30)

This Frenchman with his musketeer-like appearance dazzled the Czech crowds in 2013. At that time, he finished second in the points competition at the Peace Race, two months later at today's Sazka Tour, he finished second twice, third once, and was fifth in the hill climb competition. Immediately afterwards, he finished fourth at the U23 European Road Cycling Championships held in the Czech Republic.

Alaphilipp's entry into the World Tour was more gradual. It wasn't until three years after his performance at the Peace Race that he celebrated his first major triumph. He won the Tour of California stage race. His efficiency is increasing. He has patiently collected triumphs in the Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo classics, he won the Walloon Arrow three times, and also accumulated partial triumphs from Tirreno-Adriatico and above all, from the Tour de France.

On home soil, in 2018, he also became the king of climbers at the Tour de France. A year later, he rode for fifteen days in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader. He then dominated the World Championship the last two seasons.

Enric Mas (Spain)

(Movistar, 28)

The leader of the Spanish team raced for three years in the Deceuninck Quick Step team, and is now starting his fourth season in Movistar. He was fifth and sixth at the Tour de France, finished second three times at the Spanish Vuelta, in which he also celebrated a stage win. However, he is still waiting for a first major victory.

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