On Friday, August 18th, the UCI 2.2 category Baltic Chain Cycling Tour, starting from Tartu, has officially confirmed the participation of 25 teams and 141 riders. Unofficial data suggest that this marks a new participation record. The most exotic team is coming from Japan, the continental-level professional team Levante Fuji Shizuoka.
The official presentation took place today at the Estonian National Museum (ERM), where team photos were taken simultaneously. Estonians will be on the course as part of four different teams, with a total of 17 riders.
Unfortunately, Gert Kivistik withdraws from the cycling tour quite at the last moment. The sports directors of the Czech professional team ATT Investments decided to include only one Estonian in the lineup this time, Mihkel Räim.
The Baltic Chain Cycling Tour lasts for three days this year, from August 18th to 20th. One stage is held in each Baltic country, covering a total distance of 518 kilometers. One of the favorites, the Estonian national team, is represented by Norman Vahtra, Rait Ärm, Gleb Karpenko, Romet Pajur, Artjom Köster, and Martin Laas.
Tomorrow, the 1st stage starts from the front of ERM in Tartu at 11:00 AM, with the finish expected around 3:15 PM to 3:45 PM near Jaanikese Motocenter in Valga. The stage covers a length of 199 km, with a roughly four-kilometer gravel section in the final quarter of the route.
On Saturday, August 19th, the competition takes place around Sigulda, Latvia, and on Sunday, August 20th, the day of the restoration of Estonian independence, in Panevežys, Lithuania.
Full photo gallery of teams presentation: https://www.flickr.com/photos/balticchaintour/albums/72177720310550207