'Tour of Estonia' draws record number of participants
The third Tour of Estonia, an UCI Europe Tour class cycling race, will run from May 28-30. Among the 19 times that have signed up are 2 professional continental, 14 continental and 3 national teams.
"The maximum number of teams accepted for the tour this year is 20. This guarantees approximately 150 men at the start. At the moment we are still waiting for the final answers from a couple of professional continental teams and after that we will close the list. Teams have shown a high interest in participating in the Tour of Estonia and for the first time the list will be closed already a couple of months before the race," said race director Indrek Kelk.
The strongest riders in this year's tour are the pro continental teams Team Novo Nordisk and Rusvelo. Both are taking part in the higher level competitions and should be able to dominate the race. "Speaking about the 14 continental teams, it is difficult to prefer anyone, as 8 - 10 among them are in a very similar level. However, knowing the level of the German cycling sport, we hope the three German teams will bring more excitement and strategy into the race. On the other hand, riders from Denmark (Riwal Platform Cycling Team) and Poland (Active Jet) have always shown a high level as well," Kelk added.
This year we will not see either the winner of Tour of Estonia 2014, Eduard Michael Grosu with his team Nippo Vini Fantini, nor the other strong team CCC Sprandi Polkowice, competing in the tour. "It is because both of them received the wild card invitation to Giro d`Italia, held at the same time with our tour," Kelk explained.
"Of course we hope that the riders from Estonian National Team as well will compete for the high podium places as this year. We especially expect Gert Jõeäär, the winner of Tour of Estonia 2013, to get permission from his team Cofidis to participate," he said.
The 34rd Tartu Bicycle Race will take place a day after the tour, on May 31. It's the biggest popular road race in the Eastern Europe. Most of the pros competing in the tour will then hit the road together with thousands of recreational cyclists. The program also includes children's races with 3,500 participants, which are the biggest cycling events for children in the world.