Friday, May 29, 2015

Course de la Paix U23: Czech 1, Czech 2

Why are we still using a French title for this race when it takes place in the Czech Republic? Sorry, I will go by the proper Czech name, Závod Miru. With that note taken care of, the Zavod Miru U23 is upon us. If you do not know that meaning then I'm sure you have heard it used as the Peace Race. While the historic Peace Race died out in 2006 due to lack of funds, the Zavod Miru U23 began in 2013. Toms Skujins won a thriller in 2013 while Sam Spokes took two stages in a row to win the 2014 edition. For 2015, the race joins the U23 Nations Cup and instead of an amalgam of trade and national teams coming, every invited nation is brining a stacked team as this can affect their Tour de l'Avenir selection as well as the U23 Worlds selections.


The race itself is fairly identical to the 2014 edition with 3 stages more or less centered around Jesenik, Czech Republic. Jesenik sits in the northern bit of the Olomouc region that is just a stone's throw from Poland. The city itself was originally called Freiwaldau ("free from the woods") but after World War II, the purge of German elements occurred and the town renamed to Jesenik after the nearby Hruby Jesenik mountain range.

The first stage travels from Jesenik to Rymarov, just a short distances south. It is only 122 kilometers and while it has three KOM points, it is a fairly flat stage that will benefit either the sprinters in the race or the guys with the biggest set of balls that want to give it a try. It would last year as a two-man move stayed away til the end and won by 9 seconds.

Praded (Wiki Commons)
Saturday's 2nd stage starts in the southern Polish town of Glucholazy, which straddles the Polish-Czech border and is a sister city of Jesenik. The main focus of the stage is the summit finish on Praded, the Grandfather. The 5th highest mountain in the Czech Republic and highest in the Hruby Jesenik range and Moravia, Praded sits just under 1500 meters in elevation (the highest paved road in Czech Republic) and the area around the summit is protected with cars not allowed near the top, which caused issues last year.

The stage itself is just 113 kilometers but the first 80 kilometers will be fierce before the first KOM climb, which is summited 32 kilometers before the finish. A small descent happens before heading up the big climb, which is around 17 kilometers in length. The KOM line is actually 3.5 kilometers before the proper summit, which is where the team cars will have to pull over, but those that are GC focus will blow past it to the weather station at the top.

Race finish will be at the lovely Hotel Preissnitz (
The final stage is a big loop that starts and finishes around Jesenik. It sort of looks like an upside down New Jersey with a little hook at the top. The most difficult circuit of the race will see the racers go up 5 climbs including a step little kicker in the final kilometer that averages around 10% where the races finishes at the Hotel Preissnitz, a spa resort over looking Jesenik.


-The Race Book

-The Race Website


Start list

The only surprise here is that Australia had to pull out due to too many injuries with their riders.

Doing a cursory look of the list I do see some favorites including:

-Loïc Vliegen (Belgium)
-Scott Davies (GB)
-Alexey Vermeulen (USA)
-Gianni Moscon (Italy)
-Gregor Mühlberger (Austria)
-Odd Eiking (Norway)
-Alexander Kamp (Denmark)
-Guillaume Martin (France)
-Jhonathan Restrepo (Colombia)

My wild out of my ass pick for the GC win: Jeremy Maison (France)

Espoirs Central's KOM winner: Patryk Stosz (Poland)

Stage 1 Pick: Frantisek Sisr (Czech Republic)

Stage 2 Pick: Ildar Arslanov (Russia)

Stage 3 Pick: Loïc Vliegen (Belgium)

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