Chyňava boasts a 100% record in terms of participation in the L'Etape Czech Republic by Tour de France project. The village in the Beroun region has not once missed the route of the largest domestic race for amateur cyclists. "Many people started following professional cycling because of L'Etape, for others the race was an impulse to go to the real Tour de France," says Zdeněk Steiner, the mayor of the village.

Tehdy jsem ještě nebyl ve funkci starosty. Obec vedl pan Kříž, který nechal rozhodnutí na mně. Já jezdím rád na kole, tak jsem řekl, proč ne? Z mého pohledu bylo lákavé dostat závod do Chyňavy. Říkal jsem si, proč se průjezdu bránit, když uděláme ještě něco pro občany. Lidé L’Etape přijali za vlastní. Vždy jsme závod spojili s fotbalem. Po průjezdu pelotonu se lidé z fan pointu přesunuli na utkání chyňavského mužstva, což na hřišti vytvořilo skvělou atmosféru.


When L'Etape Czech Republic by Tour de France takes place for the fourth time in the Central Bohemia Region on 15 June 2024, Chyňava will enjoy cycling to the full. Both the Middle and the Long Route pass through the village, with the peloton passing through twice. Do people in the village perceive the event positively?

During the past three editions, there has not been a single person who has come to the municipality and said that they don't want L'Etape here anymore. Each time we conceive of the race as an event for the whole village. We try to advertise everything, make it a big celebration. Plus, realistically, the village is not closed all day. The peloton goes quite fast. Before I was elected head of the village, I was in charge of securing a regulation course and a fan point. One hundred and fifty people turned up for the second edition, the SK Chyňava players provided the music... Every year Chyňava looks forward to and enjoys the passage of the L'Etape peloton.

When the whole project started in 2021, were you in Chyňava for the peloton passage?

At that time I was not yet mayor. The municipality was led by Mr. Kříž, who left the decision up to me. I like cycling, so I said, why not? From my point of view, it was tempting to bring the race to Chyňava. I thought, why stop the parade when we can do something else for the citizens? The people took L'Etape as their own. We always combined the race with football. After the peloton passed through, people from the fan point moved on to watch the Chyňava team play, which created a great atmosphere on the field.

Participants always praise the atmosphere in your village. How do you explain that the fans cheer not only the riders at the front of the peloton during L'Etape, but also the cyclists fighting in the second half of the starting field or riding at the speed limit?

I think there are a lot of people who like cycling but don't race who gather at the track as spectators. They have personal experience of cycling. They know how much it hurts on a bike. They can understand the feelings of a racer fighting not for podiums, but just for time. I race myself. When I ride a hard event, it makes me very happy when people cheer for me. It's a great encouragement. And also people want to show up.

In your experience, what is the key to fan point success in general?

It always depends on the weather, of course. When it's beautiful, people cheer like crazy. In three years, the race has become very popular from my point of view. L'Etape has been on TV, there's also a lot of coverage. L'Etape is also very often in other media. Add to that the outputs of influencers or videos on You tube. The race is very well known. When fans see footage from other places, they want to beat them next time. The photos from last year's fan point in Sykorice are motivation for us too. I liked the way it was conceived there.

Is the possibility that the Grand Départ could be held in the Czech Republic an attraction for the active involvement of the community?

It definitely is. That's a huge motivation. It would be amazing if one of the stages of the Tour de France was held here. That's also why we're trying to help L'Etape to make it work and to have a big audience.


Is it also an attraction for the spectators who cheer the cyclists during L'Etape Czech Republic by Tour de France?

People have been coming up to me since the second year and asking if there will be a big Tour de France in the Czech Republic and if we have a chance to be on the route. That's all. A lot of people started following the Tour de France based on L'Etape in our community. We even went directly to the stages in France. And it's not just village football that's discussed in the pub anymore. The Tour de France, the Strade Bianche, Paris-Roubaix. There's already been some ideas about taking the bus to some of the spring classics.

A visit to the Tour de France was born spontaneously from the village's connection with L'Etape Czech Republic?

After the first edition of L'Etape, my friends and I, who are cycling fans, started thinking that we would like to go to the real Tour de France. If L'Etape hadn't come through us, we might never have gone to France and seen the Old Lady in person. It was an impulse. And last year we really committed to making it happen. We made the decision and in ten days we were on our way. Seven of us traveled for two mountain stages and it was a unique experience.

This year L'Etape Czech Republic is organizing two races, the second one will take place on August 17 in Šumava.Is the Mountain Stage on your race schedule?

Yes. I would like to start in Šumava. It's hard to ride the Central Bohemian one because I'm the organiser. However, it will be crucial whether I can combine everything with football, because I am still active as a player in the Chyňava team, which interferes with my cycling plans.

So how much time can you, as a mayor of a municipality, and still a football player, allocate for a bike?

I would like to be on my bike more often. I try to ride at least three and a half thousand kilometres every year. My cycling beginnings are connected with mountain biking. I did my first race here in Chyňava, because I organized it. Over time I found that I needed to do low intensity and long training sessions on the road. I was afraid of riding in traffic. But I've gotten over that fear. I think of road cycling as a pure sport. Bike is raw power in the woods where no one is and I am connected to nature.

Is it possible to combine the position of mayor of a municipality, football duties, and still cycling activities?

It's demanding on time management. At home, my girlfriend often says we could go somewhere on the weekend. But usually there's football on Saturday, and then a bike race on Sunday. It's not easy with me, but she's extremely tolerant. Cycling generally works as a mental cleanse for me. It's a regeneration for me. After football, you're recharged, sometimes mentally. Performance on the pitch is dependent on ten other teammates and, at our level, often on the referees. On the bike it's all about my performance. It depends if I'm trained. But in general, cycling is a balm for the soul.

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