The stage winners of the Tour de France or the Spanish Vuelta, best riders of the Mountains classifications or the champions of the famous cycling Monuments may be starting at the Czech Tour! Two World Tour teams have already confirmed their participation in the race, which will take place from 25 to 28 July 2024. The participation of the current Czech champion Mathias Vacek from the Lidl-Trek devo is also realistic.
"We are excited. The state of entries at the beginning of January confirms how prestigious the Czech Tour is. More big names will be added," says race director Leopold König. No wonder. Two World Tour teams are among the confirmed starters: Bora-hansgrohe from Germany and Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL from the Netherlands.
Mathias Vacek, the Czech Republic champion and a member of the Lidl-Trek squad, is very likely to be at the start of the Czech Tour, as he starts the season in Australia at the Tour Down Under and one of the highlights of his season will be the Vuelta.
Bora-hansgrohe will be defending last year's victory, which was secured by Florian Lipowitz ahead of teammate Ben Zwiehoff, over four stages. The German squad has a roster packed with stars and with the arrival of Primoz Roglic, it's very likely that some of the big names may use the Czech Tour to push towards the Vuelta, as all the aces of the line-up simply won't make the roster for the Tour de France alongside the Slovenian.
The Bora-hansgrohe team jersey is worn by Lennard Kämna, Jai Hindley, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Max Schachman, Emanuel Buchmann, Aleksandr Vlasov and Bob Jungels, among others.
The Dutch Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL offers equally attractive names. Romain Bardet has previously been second and third in the Tour de France GC. Warren Barguil has stage wins from both the Vuelta and the Tour de France. John Degenkolb is the matador of the peloton, boasting ten stage triumphs in the Vuelta, but he has also had success in the Tour, most notably winning the Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo Monuments. And then there's Fabio Jakobsen, who has Tour de France stage triumph to his name after nearly losing his life after crashing into a barrier during the Tour de Pologne.
In addition, the entry of the Dutch line-up gives hope for the participation of some of the Czech Republic's top riders. Pavel Bittner is on the World Tour team roster, while Milan Kadlec and Adam Seeman are waiting for an opportunity in the development team.
However, the list of candidates for the Czech Tour does not end there. UCI Pro Teams Corratec, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team, Team Polti Kometa, Uno-X Mobility, Flanders-Baloise have already confirmed their participation. The start of the Lidl-Trek Development Team is also certain.
The stars coming into consideration to start the four stages taking place in the Jeseníky and Beskydy mountains are not the only attraction of the Czech Tour. "We are preparing a lot of news that we will gradually announce to get cycling fans properly excited," said Leopold König, director of the race, which will take place from 25 to 28 July 2024.