Černý, Turek, Zechmeister, Nipl, Valeš a Zahálka. These are the names of the six riders wearing the Czech tricolour. No one else will help them to reach the races "daphne" since this year each nation is allowed only one team. The fact that the 40th anniversary edition of the race is not going to be a peace of cake in obvious to everyone. The drama of the May stages will start at the Litomerices main square today.
"It's going to be interesting and I'm looking forward to see how this years race will look like. I remember, when I wanted to win the race, I had to be everywhere. And then it happened, all of a sudden, the race was decided in the first stage. Therefore it was most important not to stagger at any point. And even this time, although in a different role, I didn't come here to loose," said determinedly the winner of the 1988 edition of the Junior peace race František Trkal, which this time participates as the couch of the Czech national team.
Mr. Trkal will mastermind the team already mentioned, Josef Černý, Tomáš Zechmeister, Daniel Turek (všichni Favorit Brno), Vojtěch Nipl (TJ Stadion Louny), Adam Valeš (ASC Dukla Praha) a Matěj Zahálka (CK Slavoj Terezín). The locals will be pleased because three of these riders are from northern Bohemia and Matěj Zahálka native of Litomerice. "Czech cycling has no one better in this category right now. I have no doubts about someones presence here being unjustified or someone being here just as replacement. The question is how we compare to the rest of the world. The recent test on Istria was not perfect, but here the guys are on home soil. They have to fight by themselves. Nevertheless, I want us to ride as a team and to succeed as a whole. We haven't come here to be passive, that's for sure," states the couch Trkal, with his team based, traditionally for the Czechs, in the Terezin Parkhotel.
This years edition will start at the Litomerices main square exactly on 2:30 p.m. There are five demanding days to come for the rides, they will cover more than 500 kilometers. The winner will be known on Sunday after the finish in Terezin. Before that the young riders will have to face the challenging climbs of the Central Bohemian Uplands, the Ore Mountains, and Saxony. "There are three or four good climbers here. We will definitely decide for us who will go for the points from the climbs. We have to be there because escapes can be formed there. The goal for the first stage is "no escape without us". Later we will see how the guys are doing. There are five difficult days in front of us, riders will be running out of steam, they will have to race clever," says former excellent rider Trkal.
It will not be easy for the Czech team. On the start there will be 114 riders from 19 countries. The current junior road world champion, Olivier Le Gac from Frace, will be in the peloton. Also Rick Zabel, the son of the former famous sprinter Erik Zabel (winner of many Tour de France stages and many other). "Eric Zabel himself together with his family will arrive to follow the race. There will be several interesting guests, since also the legendary Honza Smolík accepted the invitation. The former "right hand" of the seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Pavel Padrnos, will come as well," mentioned the race director Svatopluk Henke and invites all the cycling fans for this years edition of the race.