Today at Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania a start will be given to 25th Baltic Cycling Tour. Long tradition which started back in 1955 was on 24-year break til 2011. Organisers of modern Baltic Tour decided to name it Baltic Chain to celebrate probably the biggest initiative in the Baltics where two million people joined hands in human chain on the 600km road from Tallinn to Vilnius. UCI 2.2 category competition has five stages in three countries. Tour ends on Sunday in Tallinn, Estonia.
Twenty 6-rider teams take part this year. Altogether 119 cyclists start today in Vilnius. Although the tour is organised by three countries, there will be participants from many more. 15 different countries are represented this year. As every year many talented riders find their way to the Baltics. In front of the row will start last years' winner Philipp Walsleben (BKCP - Powerplus) who is five-time German cyclo-cross champion. He will be joined by his team-mate Mathieu van der Poel, 19 years old road Junior World Champion 2013. Phil Bauhaus who represents Team Stölting won third place in German road championships this year and has been in good shape recently winning two stages at Tour of Portugal. Always strong Lithuanians have team leader from Orica GreenEdge. Aidis Kruopis is definitely someone to put an eye on. Team Katusha is represented with their second team Itera - Katusha. Kolss Cycling Team from Ukraine and BDC Marcpol from Poland hold high places in Europe Tour teams' category. Country wih most riders is Estonia. Fifteen, mainly U23 riders start the tour in Lithuania.
Total distance of the tour is 851,8 km.
20.08 Vilnius – Panevezys 184,5 km
21.08 Riga – Sigulda 157,7 km
22.08 Valmiera – Pärnu 164,5 km
23.08 Pärnu – Viljandi 165,5 km
24.08 Viljandi – Tallinn 179,6 km
As in previous years' events of the tour is covered with text commentary on tour homepage. Organisers of the tour have promised to show full video broadcast from last stage of the tour. Follow latest news on tour homepage balticchaintour.com.
Want to know what cyclers tweet during the tour?
We've got good news for you. Just like last year we have put together list of Baltic Chain Tour riders who use Twitter. Following the riders will give you great overview about their thoughts of the tour. Some of the riders are already very popular, others are still seeking for popularity. Why not helping them out and start following?
List of riders who use Twitter with links to their accounts:
In the past two years we have given overview of the tour through live text coverage. We will do this again this year. Do not forget to set reminder on our live page: http://balticchaintour.com/live/ As you know last year we also had live picture from two stages. We had it also in 2011 and we are organising it this year as well. More information in the coming weeks.
25th Baltic Tour waiting ahead
This year's Baltic Chain Tour will be raced on 18th to 24th of August. 14 teams have already revealed list of riders. Up to 20 teams will take part of this year's tour. In 2014 25 years have passed from memorable Baltic Chain events in 23rd of August 1989. There is a lot to celebrate.
Baltic Chain Tour 2013 victory went to BKCP - Powerplus rider Philipp Walsleben. Multi-time German cyclo-cross champion Walsleben won the tour by 2 seconds in front of best young rider of the tour Ivan Savitckii from team Russia. Tour most active rider is Torku Sekerspor rider Sergeiy Grechyn and mountain king from team Germany Maximilian Beyer. Lithuanian team was the best squad this year.
Sixth stage from Utena to Vilnius saw many attempts to breakaway, but only one them was successful for quite some time. Team Peloton rider Silver Schultz got ahead of peloton almost by 4 minutes and was the first to enter Vilnius in front of thousands of spectators. Although he was caught by peloton due to mistake from the organisers he tried again, but was then finally caught by main group. 5 city laps in the capital of Lithuania saw many short breakaways, but none succeeded. Tour saw group finish and two Latvians were quickest. Andris Smirnovs from Rietumu - Delfin and Emils Liepins from Alpha-Baltic were first to cross the line. Torku Sekerspor rider Juriy Metlushenko was third and Alo Jakin from Team Peloton fourth. Lithuanian team member Tomas Vaitkus was fifth.
Longest cycling tour in Northern Europe is now over and organisers have handed in the application to organise another Baltic Chain Tour next year in August. Tour will be 2.2 category and the dates around the Baltic Chain day on 23rd of August. Thank you everybody for following the tour and hopefully we meet again next year.
Walsleben takes yellow jersey before last stage
Fifth stage of Baltic Chain Tour 2013 started in Lithuanian town Panevezys and headed to Utena. 154,1km stage saw most of the time strong sidewind and it did influence the race as expected. Peloton was into pieces before first intermediate sprint on 55,7km. 29 men attacked and got away from peloton. Gap was increasing every minute and it soon seemed that this was crucial moment in the race. Behind leader group small groups were forme and they did not have strength to chase leaders.
First intermediate was long downhill with technical corners before the line. First came over the stripe Maksym Vasilyev from ISD Continental team. Mountain finish was at the top of a hill and first to climb on top of it was Yuriy Metlushenko fro Torku Sekerspor. The man who won third stage last year in Baltic Chain Tour. By that time yellow leader jersey holder Paavo Paajanen from TWD - Länken was dropped to second group. Second intermediate sprint was at the same place as previous - in Anyksciai and was won this time by Alexey Kurbatov from Team Russia. At that moment, 40 km to finish, the gap between leaders and followers was more than 6 minutes.
Finish line saw first SJK Viiking rider Mihkel Räim who perfectly timed his sprint. It was Räim's first UCI victory of his career. Second came Siarhei Papok from Team Belarus. Only centimeter or two was between third and fourts. Third came Maxim Podikov from Itera - Katusha and fourth Rene Mandri from Peloton. Overall leader is once again Philipp Walsleben with just 2 seconds ahead of best young rider Ivan Savitckii. Maximilian Beyer maintained active rider blue jersey and Sergiy Grechyn is leading in mountain king category wearing polka-dot jersey on tomorrow's final stage.
Baltic Chain Tour ends tomorrow in the capital of Lithuania - Vilnius. 152,4km race starts 14:15 from Utena and is expected to end in Vilnius approximately in 18:22-18:30. People of Vilnius sees riders for quite some time as 5 laps in capital of Lithuania will be ridden.
Interview with the winner of stage two
Marcel Meisen from BKCP - Powerplus won the second stage of Baltic Chain Tour and is now telling his first thoughts just moments after the finish.
Interview with the winner
Philipp Walsleben gave us interview seconds after the first stage finish. BKCP-Powerplus rider's finish was very convincing.
First three of first stage in Lahti
1. Philipp Walsleben, BKCP - Powerplus
2. Lucas Liss, National Team Germany
3. Alo Jakin, Peloton
The rest of the results will be visible soon on the results page.
Baltic chain tour starts today from Lahti
Today UCI 2.2 category Baltic Chain Tour starts from Lahti city in Finland. Mostly known as skiing meka in Finland, Lahti with its hilly landscape is a great place to start the tour. Mostly on plain terrain raced Baltic cycling tour tradition started more than fifty years ago. Now in four countries organised cycling tour has six stages with more than thousand kilometres. The tour ends on Sunday in Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Before that the tour passes through Estonia and Latvia having also one rest day.
Most notable starters of tour are perhaps Tomas Vaitkus who belongs to UCI Pro Team Orica -GreenEDGE, but this time participates as Lithuanian National Team rider. David de la Fuente Rasilla, who wore polka-dot jersey in 2006 at Tour de France rides for Turkysh Continental team Torku Sekerspor. Most titled starter is Niels Alber, 2x world champion in cyclo-cross. Albert takes part of Baltic Chain Tour with his team BKCP - Powerplus, which has many talented cyclo-cross riders. Definitely many more riders are in the shape to be serious contenders for the overall victory. Most notable team this year is Kolss Cycling Team, which has won many tours this year and is the only of the participating teams to take part of the road cycling World Championships.
All stages are covered with live-commentary on the tour homepage. Estonian stages on 20th and 21st of August have video-broadcast as well. Altogether 21 teams start Baltic Chain Tour with 124 riders. Riders come from 19 different countries all over the world.
Three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – demonstrated their solidarity in their quest for independence by forming a human chain on August 23, 1989. Approximately 2 million people joined their hands that day. The extraordinary event drew global attention and finally led to the Baltic States regaining their independence. From August 2011, Baltic Chain Tour marks the anniversary of the Baltic Chain. It is also the longest annual cycling tour in the Northern Europe.
[caption id="attachment_4650" align="aligncenter" width="300"] BCT 2012 winner Gediminas Bagdonas from Team Lithuania[/caption]
Interview with Tomas Vaitkus
UCI Pro Tour team Orica-GreenEDGE rider Tomas Vaitkus is representing National Team Lithuania at Baltic Chain Tour. Here are his thoughts 15 hours before the start.
Interview with Rene Mandri
First interview of the tour is with Rene Mandri. Last year he participated Baltic Chain Tour with his previous team Endura Racing which won first place in teams' classification. This year he represents Estonian elite team Peloton.
First team arrived to Lahti
First team is already in Lahti, Finland. Itera - Katusha team arrived week before the tour and are now waiting for the others to arrive. Most teams arrive to Lahti on Sunday. First stage of the tour starts on Monday 19th of August at eleven o'clock. The tour finishes on 25th of August in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Who’s got most followers in Twitter?
Use Twitter? Interested in cycling? Perhaps following information is useful for you get to know participating cyclers.
One week before the start of the Baltic Chain Tour, organisers took the list of the participating cyclers and checked who use Twitter and how many followers they have. As people tend to like all kinds of Top-10, Top-100, we made one also. Although there is not much information in it, at least you have the opportunity to see who has Twitter account and what they are sharing.
About quarter of the starters have Twitter account. Most of them have more than 100 followers. Which means they are not tweeting to empty yard and they share something that keeps people interested. Most followers has Niels Albert - more than 24 000. He has more followers than other riders and teams altogether. Massive, isn't it? Hopefully the following list is somehow useful to you and perhaps you find some new riders to follow during the Tour and after.
The following riders also have Twitter account: Indulis Bekmanis, Erki Pütsep, Sami Tiainen, Samuel Pökälä, Mihkel Ronimois, Rigo Räim, Alo Jakin, Marco Mathis, Trond Hakon Trondsen, Adrian Banszek.
Final list of participating teams
Baltic Chain Tour 2013 starts in two weeks. Lahti city in Finland is waiting for 126 cyclers from 21 teams. This is a new record. There has never been such a long list of riders at the start of the Baltic Tour.
From 21 teams, 11 are continental, 4 elite and 6 national teams. There is quite many interesting cyclers in the list. Many of them might be potential competitors for the victory of stages and overall as well. Some names to keep an eye on:
Mihkel Räim (Team Saaremaa) - Polka-dot jersey Baltic Chain Tour 2012
Tomas Vaitkus (National Team Lithuania) - 5-time Lithuanian Champion
Plus many, many very good riders that are known to be good or will surprise everybody as many cyclers did last year.
[caption id="attachment_4590" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Viktor Shmalko[/caption]
Set e-mail reminder not to forget to follow tour live
You can now set e-mail reminder for each stage not to forget to follow Baltic Chain Tour live. During live broadcast followers can add comments, pictures and links and there is also our commentator giving you the fresh information from the stage. More than 4000 followers were last year following the tour live. Join us at the tour day and get the newest information. Set email reminder here.
Seven-day tour with six stages
Baltic Chain Tour 2013 starts in about one month and takes cyclers through four countries. This time first stage will be held outside the Baltic States - in Finnish city Lahti.
Next two stages are in Estonia, similar to the last years's Estonian stages, with some minor changes to the route. The only Baltic capital that the riders do not visit is in Latvia. Third stage finish was last year in Riga, at Bikernieki cirquit, but this time it will be in Sigulda. New addition this year is rest day as riders will be taken to Lithuania during the day off. Lithuanian stages take the riders from Panevezys to already familiar Utena and at the last day from Utena to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
More than thousand kilometres will be ridden during the six stages and seven days. Hopefully again there will be thousands of spectators in Vilnius as was last year. Don't forget to follow the tour live on the homepage during the six stages.
Baltic Chain Tour 2013 brings many interesting changes
Organisers of Baltic Chain Tour met in Riga, Latvia and agreed on extending next year’s tour to eight days. Also, It’s clear that one or two stages will be raced in Finland. So far Baltic states joint cycling tour has been arranged as five-day tour in three countries. As Finland joining is certain, there is a chance that Sweden also helds one stage. Due to superb ferry connection between organising countries it is possible to arrange the cycling tour in five different countries. Estonia’s stages main organiser Allar Tõnissaar: “Longer tour is not going to be easy one, but we are very glad that Finland is joining and perhaps Sweden too. All should be clear before seasonal holidays.”
Finland was one of five countries that had its national team competing in Baltic Chain Tour this year. In next August they have a chance to race one or two stages also at home. “It's been a long time since the last time the UCI competition was held in Finland. Therefore, we wish Baltic Chain Tour 2013 a particularly warm welcome to compete on the routes around the city of Lahti. Nordic Ski World Championships will be held in Lahti 2017. Lahti is a ski town, but it is also a cycling city. Lahti occupies an ideal logistic location in the center of Southern Finland, only 50 minutes from Helsinki,” said Finnish stages main organiser Esko Lummelampi.
Baltic Chain Tour celebrates Baltic chain events, that took place in 23rd of August in 1989 in the Baltic states. 2013 Baltic Chain Tour will be held from 18th to 25th of August in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and perhaps in Sweden. Baltic Chain Tour is UCI 2.2 category cycling tour.
Baltic Chain Tour prolongs to eight days
The organisers of the Baltic Chain Tour have decided that 2013 Baltic Tour will be eight days long. Category of the tour will remain the same - UCI 2.2.
Baltic Chain Tour 2013 starts 18th of August and finishes in 25th of August. It's going to be longest cycling tour in the Baltic Sea region.
Watch Baltic Chain Tour 2012 round-up show
This year's Baltic Chain Tour round-up show is now available to watch. 25 minute round-up gives good overview of each stage of the tour, has many interviews with riders and organisers and much more.
Watch it now here:
Baltic Chain Tour 2012 won Gediminas Bagdonas
Five stage tour was won by Lithuanian Gedminas Bagdonas. Lithuanian champion showed consistent good form during the tour and basically secured the generel victory, still went for the first place in last stage. Bagdonas got his third stage victory of the tour and 2000+ spectators at the finish had every reason to chant 'Lithuania'.
Last stage did not offer many breakaways, but there was tension till the end. Last stage with average speed 43,9 km/h saw efforts to break away from Swedish Trek Team with leader after two stages Alexander Gingsjö. Lithuanians and Endura Racing controlled the group and nothing serious came out of it. Just half the stage through Team Ringeriks - Kraft Look rider Marius Andre Hafsas and Oleksandr Prevar from Kolss had a breakaway and soon had a lead more than 3 minutes. At city circuit they were caught and group finish was won by Gediminas Bagdonas.
Best team this tour was Endura Racing, best active rider Gediminas Bagdonas, best young rider Viktor Shmalko from Itera - Katusha and mountain king of the tour was Mihkel Räim from SJK Viiking.
Today's fourth stage won Gediminas Bagdonas from Lithuanian National Team. With this victory he is now new general leader of the tour. Viktor Shmalko came second and Deand Windsor third.
Fourth stage was full of action and one might say it's a pity that it ended so quicly. Riders average speed during the race was 50, 24 km/h, which you don't see very often. First, pancake plain, part of stage saw average speed as high as almost 60 km/h. No wonder that main goup broke into smaller groups soon after start.
Not so lucky was Alexander Gingsjö from Trek Sweden. The leader belonged most of the race to leaders group, but then had a puncture problem and was left behind. He soon after that found himself in second group. Eve though he was full of motivation to bring those groups together and was working hard in front of second group, Lithuanians in first group were working very hard to secure Gediminas Bagdonas lead. And they managed it so the quick-feet Lithuanian became general leader of the tour. He also helds green jersey as most active rider of the tour.
Mountain jersey belongs second stage in a row to Estonian Mihkel Räim, who had technical problems today as well as nasty crash in the first half of the stage. Best young rider after stage IV is today's second placed Viktor Shmalko from Itera - Katusha team.
Last stage of the Baltic Chain Tour takes riders from Utena to Vilnius. The distance of the race is 140km. Start of the race is somewhere after 14:00 as it depends on when riders of Vilnius Velomarathon finish. Live commentary on tour homepage starts around 14:00.
Third stage won by Ukrainian
Third stage was held in Latvia from SMiltene to Riga. 181 km race was won by Turkish team Konya Torku Seker Spor rider Yuriy Metlushenko. Second came Lithuanian National Team rider Gediminas Bagdonas. Thrid came Dylan Groenewegen from Dutch Cycling Team De Rijke.
Tour general leader Alexander Gingsjö finished in peloton and is now leading ahead of Bagdonas with 8 seconds. Third place in general is Rick Ottema (De Rijke).
Third stage was full of breakaways and some of these succeeded for some time. Although most of the race was head or side wind, some riders were determined to get ahead of peloton. Soon they all were captured by main group. On the finish line 20 time UCI race winner Metlushenko showed quickest feet and won the stage III.
First intermediate sprint was won by Australian John Anderson (Endura Racing), second sprint won Bas Stamsnijder. Mountain sprint was won also by Anderson.
Tomorrow yellow jersey belongs to Gingsjö, Green one to Bagdonas, Polka-dot to Mihkel Räim and best young rider jersey belongs to Rick Ottema.
Stage IV will be held in Lithuania from Siauliai to Utena.
Baltic Chain Tour II stage won Gediminas Bagdonas
Gediminas Bagdonas from Lithuanian national Team won Baltic Chain Tour second stage from Viljandi to Otepää. This was fifth UCI win for Lithuanian champion this year. (more…)
First stage won Alexander Gingsjö
Winner Alexander Gingsjö (photo: Liis Sauk from rattaprofid.ee)
Baltic Chain Tour started today from Tallinn and had very intriguing end in Viljandi. Alexander Gingsjö said after the race at press conference that he has been ill for a couple of days and wasn't going for the victory. In Viljandi where 3 city laps were at the end of the stage he found himself suddenly alone. Then today's second best Rick Ottema came and together they raced til finish. Gingsjö had better finish sprint and won the stage. Gingsjö declared that this was his most important victory this year. Jonathan McEvoy from Endura Racing came third in front of 7-head group losing with 21 seconds to the winner.
Tomorrow cyclers ride from Viljandi to Otepää through Tõrva. The race starts at noon and there is also one mountain sprint before finish. Tomorrow's stage will also have live text coverage at the tour homepage.
Baltic Chain Tour starts from Tallinn to Vilnius
Today second year in a row Baltic Chain Tour starts in three Baltic Countries. The tour that got it’s name from a historic event from 23rd of August 23 years ago – Baltic Chain*, takes riders from Tallinn, Estonia to Vilnius, Lithuania in five long days. Two stages are in Estonia, one in Latvia and two last stages are in southern part of the Baltics, in Lithuania. (more…)
Final list of participating teams available
Final starting list is now available at our homepage under teams section. From 18 teams 11 are continental, 2 elite and 5 national teams. Riders come from 15 different countries and there's 108 brave riders altogether taking the journey from Tallinn to Vilnius.
Baltic Chain Tour ceremonial start will be given in Toompea
Baltic Chain Tour starts in front of Estonian Parliament on 21st of August at noon. Welcoming words say Speaker of the Parliament Ms. Ene Ergma and Minister of Culture Mr. Rein Lang.(more…)
Follow the Tour live on our homepage
We are pleased to tell that this year it is possible to follow Baltic Chain Tour live. We will have live text commentary from each stage plus we cover first two stages in Estonia showing picture from several places on the stage.
Baltic Chain Tour 2012 takes place in three Baltic states from 21st of August til 25th of August. The Tour starts from Tallinn, Estonia and finishes in Vilnius, Lithuania. Baltic Chain Tour is UCI II category cycling tour.
Ramunas Navardauskas is the new Giro d’Italia leader
Lithuanian Ramunas 'Honey Badger' Navardauskas (Garmin - Barracuda) who will be participating this year's Baltic Chain Tour is the new leader of Giro after 4th stage. We keep our fingers crossed that he will maintain the jersey and hopefully tall Lithuanian shows his power also for the Baltic crowd in August.
Photo credit Roberto Bettini
5 months to Baltic Chain Tour 2012
Baltic Chain Tour 2012 starts on 21st of August in Tallinn, Estonia and ends on 25th of August in Vilnius, Lithuania. The tour has UCI 2.2 category. More than 40 teams have already shown intrest in participating, but only 20 teams are allowed to race this year. There are no decisions made who will get the invitation to participate. As soon as we have the list of the teams, it will be visible on the tour home page. (more…)