Tartu Road Race united almost 3000 cyclists from 25 countries


Photo: private collection

According to the preliminary results, 2855 cyclists took part in the virtual race of the 39th Tartu Rattaralli. The race was held between May 29th to June 14th and in addition to Estonians, cyclists from 24 foreign countries were represented among the participants.

Although this time the event was not a competition, several Estonian elite cyclists decided to take part. Among others Mihkel Räim, Rein Taaramäe and Martin Laas covered the 128 km distance, while Janika Lõiv, the best female rider in Estonia, covered the 58 km track. “For me, it was probably one of the most memorable races in the history of Tartu Rattaralli. The day before we had a hard training with my friends, so we took our ride easier that day. We talked, it was fun, but at the same time the speed was pretty good. It was such a stress-free and very cool day,” says Mihkel Räim, who has now participated in Tartu Rattaralli already for fourteen times. “It was also very good, that with the virtual format, everyone could make the race close to their home. Of course, I do hope that in the future the race will still take place in the traditional format,” adds Räim, who covered the distance with his friends in South-Estonia, on the original track of Tartu Rattaralli.

Janika Lõiv, most know as a MTB cyclist, chose 58 km and covered it near her homeplace. “I am currently having a more serious training week and decided to fit the virtual race into my schedule - I picked up a pretty strong pace and drove moderately. In general, the ride went very well and my training goal was nicely fulfilled,” she says. “Real competitions are definitely safer. When driving in this format, you have to be very careful yourself not to get hurt. In addition, side-by-side racing with others is definitely more interesting and exciting, because then time passes quickly and you don't pay so much attention to your own effort. It is still more difficult to drive alone, because you have to do all the work yourself. On the other hand, it is nice to compete with each other also virtually. In addition, such a format provides an opportunity to enjoy more nature and surroundings, which cannot be done so much in a normal competition,” Lõiv finds pros both for the standard format as well as for the virtual race.

Indrek Kelk, the Race Director of Tartu Rattaralli, says that the interest in the event turned out to be higher than expected. “We are very pleased that the participants accepted the new format so well. We would like to thank everyone who helped to continue the tradition of the legendary Tartu Rattaralli!” he says. “I am also very pleased that the 25 km distance, which was an option for the first time, turned out to be so popular - a little more than 20% of the riders decided to choose this course. We will do our best to add the shortest distance into the program of Tartu Rattaralli also in the future,” adds Kelk.

The virtual race of Tartu Rattaralli was held between May 29th and June 14th. According to the preliminary results the three distances brought 2855 riders to the tracks. In addition to the traditional 128 and 58 km, the shortest distance, 25 km, was added into the program for the first time. 1207 cyclists chose 58 km, 996 participants decided to cover 128 km and 652 enthusiasts decided to go for the 25 km distance.

The virtual race was also the second stage of this year's Tartu Marathon Cube season. The series was opened by the virtual run of the 38th Tartu Forest Marathon in the beginning of May. The next stage of the series is the 14th Tartu Inline Skating Marathon scheduled for August 23rd, which is planned to be carried out according to the initial program.