The 43-year-old Briton Wiggins, Tour de France winner and Olympic time trial champion from 2012, who was successful not only on the road but also on the track, was supposed to arrive in Prague already in April, but his arrival was unexpectedly canceled at the last minute.
“We finally came to the conclusion that the cooperation will not take place for this year. Although it did not work out with Bradley Wiggins, it will not affect the event itself in any way,” assured Tomáš Pravenec, director of the organizing company Petr Čech Sport.
Wiggins was supposed to follow up Andy Schleck’s participation in the role of exclusive ambassador last year. “On the other hand, I think that even if that doesn’t happen, we managed to put together a quality range of domestic stars who will arrive. Whether it’s Martina Sáblíková, Zdeněk Štybar, Tomáš Bábek or Ján Svorada,” Pravenec listed.
Behind Bábek’s start is a bit of a combination of circumstances. “I showed up at a planned dinner with Bradley without Bradley,” smiled Bábek. “We found out with Jančí (Svorada) on the way that he wouldn’t arrive. We arrived, talked about it and persuaded me to try it. It turns out that there is an amateur track league in Brno on Saturday, where I am the main organizer, but I nodded to Prague. It was a bit of a joke over a beer. But we already talked about it last year. Now there’s room for it, so I thought why not,” explained Bábek.
He admitted that he was considering participating for another reason, because a week later the Grand Prix of Brno in track cycling is on the program and it will be Bábk’s farewell race. “I was thinking about riding so as not to cut my legs off completely for the next weekend, but I can’t completely remove cycling from my life. So we’ll see how it goes,” said the newly 36-year-old Bábek, who ended his professional career in February this year.
It completes the middle route of 103 kilometers. “Of course, I originally chose the shortest one, the organizers moved me to the longest one, in the end it’s a compromise – medium. As I looked, there is a sprint premium after 30 kilometers, I’d like to sprint there, I just hope that I can get there somehow, ” Bábek planned with a smile.
Such a long road race will be his debut. “I’ve only ridden Lopatárna in Pilsen, which doesn’t have many kilometers. Maybe in cadets, juniors… Otherwise, I haven’t ridden anything like that. It will be a premiere,” admitted Bábek.
He admitted that he would be driving in unfamiliar terrain. “I just studied it with my finger on the map. But my wife’s brother lives in Červený Újezd. So maybe he’ll come to wave. And I also looked at the refreshment stations. I’m curious about those hills, it’s really difficult for us railwaymen to get up there. “Sprinters tend to weigh around 90 to 100 kilograms, and we do have some endurance, but it’s more on the flats. I’m mainly looking forward to the finish, if I can get there,” said Bábek.
He has respect from the huge turnout. “The 1,650 people are really a lot, I’m curious how we’ll manage there. We’ll see if I can talk at all in the hills, but otherwise I’d like to try to talk a lot with the people around. And support those who will overtake me,” he planned laughing Doll.
L’Etape by Tour de France is a series of races for hobby cyclists, during which the participants will experience the unique atmosphere of the Tour de France, which the project simulates under the supervision of the French organizers. The event is organized only in selected countries across continents and is attended by tens of thousands of cyclists of all performance categories.
It will be the third time in the Czech Republic this year, and it will definitely be the next year. The organizers were again pleased by the great interest in the event. “The interest is really extreme. The interest in the long and medium route exceeds the capacity several times over, which we can set with regard to the safety of the competitors, which is a priority for us. We are interested in expanding the main event and accompanying events in the future. Now it is about they found a new location or exit outside of Prague,” outlined Pravenec.
It is still possible to register for this year’s short route, either online or directly at the race venue, the start and finish of which will once again be in Prague, Strahov.