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Tour of Estonia is set to start from Tallinn tomorrow

Tour of Estonia 2023 which kicks off tomorrow in Tallinn is extra special as it marks the event's 10th anniversary.

Tour of Estonia 2022 Author: Adam Illingworth

During the press conference held on Thursday, Mihkel Räim, a rider from the ATT Investments team and the winner of the 2019 Tour of Estonia, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming race. Räim believes it's going to be a thrilling race, saying, "The weather forecast suggests an interesting day ahead. Looks like we'll have some strong winds, so we need to stay alert and be prepared for anything." said Räim when asked about the team plans for tomorrow.


The Estonian national team will be bringing some strong sprinters to the race, including two-time Tour of Estonia winner Karl Patrick Lauk, Norman Vahtra, who clinched victory at last year's Tartu GP, and Martin Laas who currently in good shape. Speaking about the team dynamics, Laas said, "If it comes down to a group sprint, I'll probably take the lead. But tomorrow's weather will require us to think on our feet and be in the right place at the right time."


Jaan Kirsipuu, the sports director of the Tartu 2024 team, echoed his neighbours at the press conference table and sentiments during the press conference, stating, "The guys are spot on. Tomorrow's winds are expected to be even stronger than today, and who knows how the race will unfold—whoever makes the right move at the right moment will have the advantage." When discussing the team strategy for Tartu2024, Estonia's only professional team, Kirsipuu added, "Our experienced riders like Markus Pajur and Siim Kiskonen, along with some promising youngsters, are expected to step up."


Among the foreign riders present at the press conference were Filippo Fortin from the Maloja Pushbikers team and Rasmus Bøgh Wallin representing Restaurant Suri - Carl Ras, both making their Tour of Estonia debut.


"I'm thrilled as we approach the start of the tour. I noticed that tomorrow's stage will have some exposed sections, meaning we might face crosswinds. I also checked out the finish from videos, which is quite technical, but it suits me well," said Fortin, an experienced Italian rider who is now in his twelfth professional season.


Talented Danish rider Wallin hopes to make an impact right from the start and feels confident riding on the cobblestone streets. When asked about his impression of Estonia, Wallin simply said, "Estonia is flat, and I like it."


Indrek Kelk, the event organizer, acknowledged the challenges posed by rising costs, leading to the exclusion of the prologue from this year's race. "It hasn't been easy, considering the financial implications. Even organizing the Tartu Rattaralli seems to get more challenging each year. But we're determined to make it happen."


In addition, the Ladies Tour of Estonia will be held for the second time, following the same format as last year, with stages in and around Tartu. Kelk expressed satisfaction with the positive feedback received after the first edition and emphasized the vision to promote women's cycling in Estonia, saying, "We had a great response in the first year, and our goal is to continue growing women's cycling and generating more enthusiasm across Estonia and the countries close by."

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