Latvians conquered at the 19th Tartu Rattamaraton


19th Tartu MTB Marathon's winner Andzs Flaksis. Photo: Tarmo Haud

Today took place the world third biggest mountain bike marathon, Tartu MTB Marathon, and as an outcome three Latvian cyclist were standing on the winner’s podium.  The first place went to Andzs Flaksis, who is currently cycling in the USA professinal team called Holowesko-Citadel Racing.  The best Estonian finisher was Caspar Austa, who took the fourth place.

This was not the first time for Flaksis to win the Tartu Rattamaraton. He was also standing on the highest pedestal step in 2014. This year he flew from the main group after the Matu check point. In Andu check point his advantage ground was 30 seconds and on the half way, in Astuvere check point, his advantage ground was around 4 minutes. Latvian’s finishing time was 2:35:33, he was four minutes and three seconds faster than the main group.

“I realised in the beginning of the race, that the speed is low. Then I decided to keep the low speed and wait until someone from the main group will catch me to attack together, but no one was coming,” was Latvian surprised. “It felt, that no one didn’t want to attack.”

Behind Flaksis there was a main group consisting of 8 cyclists – four Estonians and four Latvians. What happened with Estonians? “Nothing happened with me, but I knew, that it is going to be a game of cat and mouse,” said Caspar Austa, who took the fourth place and finished as the best Estonian. “As much as I kept my eye on Estonians, Peeter Tarvis was the only one, who showed some activity to catch Flaksis again,” added Austa. 

“But when Flaksis left the group, nothing was done differently, everyone was basically standing. The speed was low and we were laughing and questioning why there are no men with scooters in our group,” mentioned Austa.

The main group, consisting of eight cyclist, arrived four minutes after Flaksis. Latvians made it possible to win the second and third place as well. Arnis Petersons showed his good skills as a sprinter and was the second finisher. During the last metres of the race, Martins Blums beated Caspar Austa.

In women’s class Estonians had to acknowledge defeat behind Latvian woman Lelde Ardava, who won the first place. She also took the first place at the 15th Tartu Rattamaraton in 2012. Janelle Uibokand took the second place being the first Estonian.

“I really like to race here in Estonia. The road is suitable for me and it was a great feeling to win after four years again,” said Ardava.

Now the leader of the Tartu Marathon Cube is Illar Lood in men’s class. Reeda Tuula kept his first place in the Tartu Marathon Cube’s women class.

4813 cyclist started the race today, 2877 of them participated in 89 km distance and 1936 in shorter (40 km) distance. The next and last Tartu Marathon Cube’s competition this season is the 5th Tartu City Marathon, that is going to happen on the 1st of October.