Itamar Einhorn of Israel, partner of Chris Froome in the Israel-Premier Tech team, has won the opening stage of the Czech Tour, which ran 165 kilometres from Prostějov to Uničov. Einhorn beat the Belgian Milan Fretino in the final sprint of the entire peloton, the American Luke Lamperti finished third. The biggest star of the race, Froome, finished 119th at the tail of the main pack, the best of the Czechs was ninth-placed Dominik Neumann of the Elkov-Kasper team.
The peloton today faced many break-away attempts right from the start, but only three riders succeeded after about twenty kilometres, among them the Czech rider Matěj Zahálka. Although the group had a lead of more than two minutes at one point, this attack did not claim success either. During the entire stage, no one managed to tear apart the main group for a long time, so the decision was made in the sprint in the centre of Uničov.
"The first stage was quite difficult, a lot of riders didn't want to sprint, so there were a lot of break aways attempts, at the end everyone was probably tired," said the winner at the finish line. He entered the final lap in Uničov alongside his teammate Rick Zabel of Germany, who started the sprint for him.
"About 500 metres from the finish line, I was in front, next to two rivals and I went into the last corner at full speed, and it worked. I am happy," he said. He said he felt great. “I recovered from that first half of the race because it wasn't completely flat. I'm not aiming for an overall victory, but we have riders in the team who would like to win," he added.
Froome admitted that the stage was more difficult than he expected. "But good for our team, we won, it was a good start to the Czech Tour," he said. "It was definitely not just a sprint stage, it was not an easy day. Just trying to escape, also quite a hill up and down. It's good to be part of the team that won today. We have some guys who will be fighting for the overall win. We will do everything for it as a team," he promised.
Froome caused a huge increase in the spectators along the course, at the start and in finish cities. When he had to walk about twenty metres from his team to journalists for interviews, he did not avoid photographs or signing autographs. "I'm a little surprised that I have so many fans in the Czech Republic. It's great and I'm quite enjoying it," he added.