In the second half of the coming week, 18. – 21. of August, the Baltic Chain Tour as offical UCI(International Union of Cyclists) calendar race will take place as a joint effort of the three Baltic countries. This year, the start will be given from Panevežys, Lithuania, and the finish will be in Tallinn, and after a long time both riders and spectators will be able to enjoy the tour taking place on the territory of three countries.
The Estonian National Team faces the tour with great expectations, although the team had a bad surprise 24 hours before the race. Team leader Martin Laas did not receive final confirmation from the Bora-Hansgrohe pro team for a long time to come to the tour. In the meantime, they already said that he could not participate, which was turned around again. The reason for the club’s initial refusal lay’s in the fact that the Bora-Hansgrohe sprinters were unable to race due to crashes on previous races and Martin Laas competition schedule had to be changed due to those circumstances.
“At first racing at Baltic Chain Tour option suited for the team, but the circumstances changed and the team started looking for replacements for the injured men. In the end, everything worked out as we originally wanted,” said Laas who will race European Championships in Munich before starting at Baltic Chain Tour. However, due to the confusion with Martin Laas, Mihkel Räim unexpectedly joins the Estonian National Team on the tour, who was ready to replace Laas when he heard a request for help. Now both are lined up. The reigning Estonian road race champion is currently competing with the Burgos-BH team on the Arctic Race of Norway.
In the most important multi-day race in the Baltics, the Estonian National Team includes only men from foreign clubs: in addition to Laas and Räim, Norman Vahtra, Rait Ärm, Siim Kiskonen and Gleb Karpenko.
Team Ampler-Tartu2024 hopes to offer a kind of surprise at the Baltic Chain Tour. The leaders of the Estonian pro team see an opportunity for a talented finisher to emerge.
“We want to see how Andre Roos does in the finishes, his development this year has been impressive. He has been able to specially prepare for this tour and we believe that he will succeed in unlocking his potential,” said Team Ampler-Tartu2024 manager Rene Mandri.
In addition to Roos, Joonas Kurits, Artjom Köster, Latvians Pauls Rubenis and Alekss Krasts and Lithuanian Aivaras Mikutis will start in the U23 age group. At the same time, the team’s number one Madis Mihkels will make his first rides in the ranks of the World Tour team Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux.
As the third Estonian team on the start line is Tartu based Peloton. The team leaders are Oskar Nisu and Gert Kivistik, both riders with experience in professional rankings. Nisu comes to the Baltic Chain Tour directly from the European championship, where his role is to help Martin Laas.
In addition to Nisu and Kivistik, Joosep Mesi, Ken Post, Rait Veevo and Ats Uulimaa will start in the Peloton jersey. The team leaders are able to intervene in the high game – both in fight for individual stage wins and in tour overall win.
A total of 17 teams will participate in the Baltic Chain Tour this year, in addition to Estonia, Lithuania, Germany and Norway will be participating with several teams.
Baltic Chain Tour 2022 stages:
18.08.2022 – Panevežys – Panevežys, 156 km (Lithuania)
19.08.2022 – Jelgava – Sigulda, 147 km (Latvia)
20.08.2022 – Tartu – Antsla – Valga, 186 km
21.08.2022 – Kuremaa – Tallinn, 207 km
Exact information about the stages, routes, schedule times and other important information can be found on the bicycle tour’s website: balticchaintour.com