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Josef Cerny won the 66th edition of the Tour of Slovakia with Quick-Step taking fourth win in five years

Josef Cerny won the 66th edition of the Tour of Slovakia with Quick-Step taking fourth win in five years

Another chapter of Slovak national tour is behind us. It ended once again in the hands of Patrick Lefevere's Quick-Step and despite absence of the defending champion Peter Sagan, debut presence of best team in the world Jumbo-Visma meant the high level of the race remained. 

 

From Tuesday to Saturday, the Slovak roads hosted professional cycling race, with World Tour teams on the start list. Present were the best team of a last decade, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, as well as strongest team in the world right now and Tour de France champions, Jumbo-Visma. They won four out five stages and filled the complete overall podium, but it wasn't all only about them. Spanish and Italian Proteams also showed their quality. 

 

 

 

 

Quick-Step once again on the throne 

 

The route of the race consisted of a short time trial, flat and hilly stages, and therefore suited all-rounders. The strongest team on paper was that of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. Powerful squad of Josef Cerny, Zdenek Stybar, Martin Svrcek, James Knox, Mauri Vansevenant, Michael Mørkøv and Ethan Vernon were ready to win this race for the fourth time in five years for Patrick Lefevere. They showed their class right in the opening prologue, where they dominated the entire podium, they took all the jerseys and put also Stybar and Svrcek in the Top 10. Ethan Vernon took the first yellow jersey. 

 

Belgian team then never gave up of the overall lead. In second stage to Trnava they mastered the final sprint and Vernon delivered again. On third day came the stage with the hardest finish in Banska Stiavnica. Mauri Vansevenant was beaten by Jumbo's youngster Archie Ryan, but Josef Cerny took over the overall lead from Vernon. Czech rider was then able to hold the lead to the very end, with Mauri Vansevenant backing him up in the second place. One thing that didn't really go Quick-Step's way was the last stage, where they failed to bring back the break and Vernon lost a chance for the third victory, as well as for the green jersey. Martin Svrcek at least kept the best Slovak jersey for them. With the overall title, Josef Cerny celebrated one of the best results of his career and continued in the footsteps of Alaphilippe, Lampaert and Steimle, who won this race for Quick-Step before him. 

 

 

 

 

Jumbo-Visma put up a good fight

 

Second strongest team of the race was the squad sent by Jumbo-Visma, consisting of David Dekker, Lennard Hofstede, Gijs Leemreize, Archie Ryan, Koen Bouwman, Loe Van Belle and Johannes Staune-Mittet. After Dekker's abandon, they were no match for Quick-Step on the flat, but as soon as the race hit hillier parkour, they thrived. Ryan and Bouwman won two hardest stages and took the white jersey and the final podium spot respectively. As was expected, they were the biggest challengers for Quick-Step. 

 

Leader of Astana Stefan De Bod took fourt place in the overall classification. Gleb Syritsa showed his sprinting talent in Trnava, but Vernon was too strong for him. From team Israel - Premier Tech Ed Goldstein spent one day in all-day breaking. For his determination, he also won the award for the most combative competitor in the stages. Astana racers also showed themselves on the final day when they worked at the head of the peloton. They managed to cut more than half a minute off the all-day breakaway, but two escapees eventually won the last stage. However, both teams left Slovakia without one of the most valuable jerseys.

 

Proteams didn't get lost, Slovak riders showed themselves in breakaways 

 

Quite a good impression was left on the roads by trio of Proteams. EOLO - Kometa, Caja Rural Seguros RGA and Equipo Kern Pharma were very active. First mentioned team got the mountains jersey through Lorenzo Fortunato. Also, team of Bardiani CSF did well, with Luca Colnaghi coming close to win in the queen stage. From Continental squads, the absolute winners are VolkerWessels. They won the last stage with style, with Haest and Schulting crossing the line hand in hand. Jasper Haest also took the green jersey. Biesse - Carrera were maybe the most active team of the whole race, often with duo of riders up the front. Slovaks Matus Stocek (ATT Investments) and Pavol Rovder (Dukla Banska Bystrica) also showed themselves by gaining prizes in the breakaways. 

 

66th edition of the Tour of Slovakia is behind us, and we're already looking forward to the next one. The race gone ahead flawlessly, and it got very good reviews, as every year in 2.1 category so far. The race was again on the Eurosport channel, and so beauty of Slovakia was once again showed to the world. Many teams already declared their desire to come back, and hopefully, same counts for you, the fans. So, goodbye and see you next year!

 

 

 

 

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