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Part of a 5-rider group that sprinted for the win, Stybar beat Mühlberger and Schumacher to win the final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour; his teammate Vakoc took the overall win

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele

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16.08.2015 @ 18:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) made up for yesterday’s disappointment when he managed to win the final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour. Part of a 5-rider group that sprinted for the win, he beat Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Argon 18) and Stefan Schumacher (CCC Polsat) in the final dash to the line while his teammate Petr Vakoc made it a great day for Etixx-QuickStep as he took the overall victory.

 

Going into the Czech Cycling Tour, many expected Zdenek Stybar to be the man to beat during the four days of hilly racing in his home country. After all he was part of the only WorldTour team and was perfectly suited to the lumpy terrain.

 

Things were looking good for Stybar when his team won the opening team time trial and got rid of key rival Leopold König in the crosswind on the second stage. However, things unraveled in yesterday’s queen stage where he was unable to follow the best and dropped out of the overall podium.

 

Instead, it was his teammate Petr Vakoc that made sure to keep the jersey in the Etixx-QuickStep ranks but Stybar was still determined to leave his mark on the race. He did so in today’s final stage as he managed to come out on top and take an important home win.

 

The stage finished with nine laps of a tough circuit that included a small climb and this is where Stybar made his move on the final lap. Alongside his teammate Pieter Serry and Gregor Mühlberger, he bridged the gap to Stefan Schumacher and Lennard Kämna (Stölting) who had a small advantage as they hit the ascent.

 

Those five riders managed to stay clear and it all came down to a sprint from the group. Here Stybar again proved that he is a very good sprinter as he beat Mühlberger and Schumacher into the minor podium positions.

 

A small group of GC rider arrived just a few seconds later and this was enough to give Vakoc the overall win. He beat Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) by 5 seconds while the bonus seconds were enough to move Stybar into third. Vakoc was of course the best Czech rider while Michael Schlegel (AWT) was the best young rider and Oscar Riesebeek (Metec) the best climber.

 

With the Czech Cycling Tour done and dusted, two weeks of racing in Eastern Europe has come to an end and attention now turns to the Tour de Limousin and USA Pro Cycling Challenge before the Vuelta as Espana starts on Saturday.

 

A hilly stage

After yesterday’s queen stage, there was more climbing on the menu in the finale stage which brought the riders over 144.9km from Olomouc to Dolany. After a flat start, the riders tackled some climbs in the first half before the got to the finishing circuit that would be covered nine times. It included a small climb before the road descended to a flat finish.

 

It was another very hot day in the Czech Republic when the riders gathered for the start of the final stage. They prepared themselves for a hectic beginning as the first intermediate sprint came after just 5km of racing and so it was no surprise that Bora-Argon 18 took control to set Jan Barta up for some bonus seconds. The plan only worked partly as he was beaten into third by Etixx-QuickStep riders Iljo Keisse and Fernando Gaviria.

 

The break gets clear

After the sprint, the peloton slowed down and this allowed Joey Van Rhee (Jo Piels), Gert-Jan Bosman (Jo Piels), Uri Martins (Amore e Vita – Selle SMP), Davide Ballerini (Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani), Martin Hunal (Whirlpool-Author), Stef Krul (Metec – TKH), Maximilian Kuen (Amplatz – BMC) and Kamil Gradek (Active Jet) to take off. Hunal won the second intermediate sprint at the 29km mark while Bora-Argon 18 started to chase in the peloton.

 

The gap went out to 3.20 before Hunal won the third sprint after 51km of racing. Meanwhile, the Czech national team had taken control of the bunch. They worked well together and slowly reduced the gap.

 

The Czech national team take control

After the two first laps of the finishing circuit, the gap was still 2.05 and it was exactly the same after another lap. During the next lap, the escapees lost another 15 seconds as Tomas Koudela continued to ride on the front for the national team.

 

With four laps to go, the gap was down to only 42 seconds and now Bora-Argon 18 took control. During the next lap, they brought the break back and significantly whittled the peloton down.

 

Schumacher makes his move

Stefan Schumacher (CCC) attacked and managed to get a small gap which he extended to 30 seconds at the start of the penultimate lap. However, the climb took its toll on the German who only had 15 seconds left as he started the final lap while Oscar Riesebeek (Metec) had taken off in pursuit.

 

Amplatz and Bora-Argon 18 were riding hard to reduce the gap and managed to reel Riesebeek in. Instead, it was Lennard Kämna (Stölting) who managed to join Schumacher.

 

On the climb, the GC riders started to attack each other and it was Stybar, his teammate Serry and Mühlberger who turned out to be the strongest. The trio caught the front duo and it came down a five-rider sprint where the Czech star came out on top.

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