One of the strongest line-ups in the history of Tour of Estonia
Photo: Ardo Säks
Estonian national team with last years’ winner Martin Laas will try to defend the title of Tour of Estonia this year but with one of the strongest line-ups in the history of tour it will be a difficult challenge.
UCI 2.1 category Tour of Estonia is part of the UCI Europe tour and this year a total of four strong pro-continental teams will take part. Additionally 9 continental teams and three national teams make up a total of 16 teams for this years’ Tour of Estonia.
Martin Laas, riding in the French based team Delko–Marseille Provence KTM, winner of Tour of Estonia 2015 is back again with Team Estonia but his form is in question. „It has been a difficult season for Martin Laas. Because of an injury he has not been able to train 100% and his preparation has not been best,“ said head coach of the Estonian team Jaan Kirsipuu.
Gert Jõeäär, Cofidis rider and Tour of Estonia 2013 winner, has been enlisted as a backup rider for Team Estonia but he is also hoping to take part from Tour of Belgium. Final decision about Jõeäär will be made just before the Tour of Estonia.
Legendary Estonian cyclist and five-time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu is the head coach of Team Estonia for the first year in Tour of Estonia. „Four pro-continental teams are the ones taking responsibility. We have to follow them and suprise them. Last year, Team Estonia was outsider and we were able to win. This year we are even more outsiders,“ said Kirsipuu.
„I hope we are able to surprise. Everyone knows Martin Laas but we have a lot of talent in the team,“ he added.
Presumably the four strongest pro-continental teams are CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Poland), Gazprom-Rusvelo (Russia), Novo Nordisk (USA) and Verva Activejet Pro Cycling Team (Poland).
Tour of Estonia UCI 2.1 will take place on two days. On Friday, 27th of May, 1st 190km stage will be from Tallinn to Tartu. The stage is mostly flat and winner will most likely be decided in a sprint finish.
Second and final stage will be in the city centre of Tartu, on Saturday, 28th of May. The stage runs on a fast tempo lap with two steep but fast and powerful climbs which will both be taken 15 times. Total length of the second stage is 144km.
On Sunday, 29th of May. Biggest cycling festival in Eastern-Europe called 35th Tartu Rattaralli will take place in Tartu. Tartu Rattaralli is not part of the Tour of Estonia but is a separate 135km race with more than 4000 participants. Many pro cyclist from Tour of Estonia will also take part in Tartu Rattaralli.
More info about Tartu Rattaralli here: https://www.tartumaraton.ee/en/events/rattaralli/35/
More info about Tour of Estonia here: http://www.tourofestonia.ee/en/tour-of-estonia