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Sazka Tour

Duo Taaramäe and Hirt 3rd and 4th in first mountain stage

The first mountain stage was on the menu at the Sazka Tour (2.1, 5-8/8), where yesterday’s rain was replaced by a bright sun. The peloton left Olomouc before midday towards Pustevny, situated at 1014 meter of altitude. The riders had the opportunity to do the recon of the final climb (6.5km at 7.3%) halfway through the stage before battling for the win after 204 kilometer. An early breakaway of three riders was given an advantage of 4 minutes, until Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux started the chase with 75 kilometer to go. But the final only started on the slopes towards the finish, where the Australian rider Nick Schultz was the strongest. Rein Taaramäe and Jan Hirt finished a couple of seconds later in 3rd and 4th place. Also Simone Petilli (9th) took a top 10 place.

Yesterday was a struggle, today it was pure joy! I started this Czech Tour with bad legs. Despite my experience, I'm open to try new training methods. But this time, it wasn't a good idea. Luckily I start to feel better again. The team took its responsibility just like yesterday. When Alexander Evans and Jérémy Bellicaud took control of the peloton on a climb with 75 kilometer to go, they managed to drop half the peloton. The final climb wasn't as hard as we hoped for, even with good legs it was difficult to make big differences. The winner was a little stronger than Jan and I, so we're happy with 3rd and 4th. Of course, we want to improve this tomorrow by taking the stage win or climbing in the general classification!

The profile of the third stage between Moravská Třebová and Dlouhé stráně has a similar profile, however, Saturday’s race is much shorter (143.2km) and the climbs are longer.



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