Just a month from now, from 18th to 20th August, the twelfth edition of the Baltic Chain Cycling Tour will take place, carrying on the continuity of the former Baltic Cycling Tour.
According to the preliminary assignment, the UCI calendar race promises to be particularly prestigious and interesting. Two World Tour teams’ development teams – Alpecin-Deceuninck and Uno-X Pro Cycling – have expressed their desire to participate.
“The interest of well-known development teams is probably because we do something right,” explains the organizer of the cycling tour, Allar Tõnissaar. “We have been conducting surveys among the teams for years, requesting honest feedback and promising to endure even the harshest accusations. Not everyone bothers to respond, but those who have responded have been very constructive. Through feedback, we have certainly improved the organization of the cycling tour.”
The average level of the cycling tour and the high average speeds that the local group can provide have been praised. In recent years, online live broadcasts have also received praise because we have shared the broadcast footage with the teams for free, and they have, in turn, shared it with the fans. By the way, in 2021, the country with the largest audience for live broadcasts was New Zealand because their athlete, Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ Continental), won the cycling tour, and his performance interested many people in New Zealand,” Tõnissaar highlights an interesting fact.
This year’s Baltic Chain Cycling Tour will consist of three stages, one in each Baltic country. The ceremonial team presentation and the start of the first stage will take place in Tartu. On Friday, 18th August, the route will take the cyclists from the Ateena pub on the Emajõgi River to the border town of Valga. The finish line will be at Jaanikese Motocross Center.
The next day, on 19th August, the race will continue in Sigulda, Latvia. The competitors will have to complete two larger laps, during which they will “enjoy” the bitter taste of the Sigulda ascent several times.
The culmination of the cycling tour will be in Panevežys, Lithuania. On the 32nd anniversary of the restoration of the Republic of Estonia’s independence, there is naturally a special expectation for a good performance by the Estonians. Last year, the Estonian national team won both the individual and team classifications in the cycling tour. It won’t be easy to repeat the success, especially when the aforementioned development teams are also participating.
“That there is a high level of talent in the development teams has been proven here for a long time,” emphasizes Tõnissaar. “Take Mathieu Van der Poel, for example, who has become a cycling world superstar, and the fact that the Baltic Chain Cycling Tour overall victory is on his CV clearly drives his fans to click on the cycling tour’s website. To find out what kind of race it is and what the Baltic Chain Cycling Tour in the name actually means. I believe that people from various professional teams will also take notice, and it’s possible that they have come to compete in the tour through this as well.”
In addition to Van der Poel, notable cyclists such as Dylan Groenewegen, Phil Bauhaus, Ignatas Konovalovas, Tomas Vaitkus, and others have participated in previous years. It is not excluded that some future global players will also emerge in this year’s cycling tour. Seeing is believing, and everyone is welcome to join and cheer!
The Baltic Chain Tour, the carrier of the former Baltic Cycling Tour’s continuity, was revived in 2011. Since 2012, the stage race has been included in the International Cycling Union’s calendar. In 2014, the renowned name in world cycling, Mathieu van der Poel, won the cycling tour. The cycling tour helps to keep alive the memory of the symbolic political event – the Baltic Way of 1989. Over the years, more than 770 foreign club cyclists from all corners of the world have competed on the Baltic roads, gaining a primary indication of the recent history of the Baltic countries through participating in the tour.