The report from the route reveal night
It's addictive! And Tuesday night got all the addicts fired up again after a short break. In the Prague cinema Přítomnost, a packed house watched the performance of the Hill and Mountain Stages. The news for next year thrilled everyone. And sparked heated discussions.
"Zdejcina is not so bad. In the beginning, where it's steep, you still have enough strength. And then you just let yourself go," Michal Stark, a Paralympic cyclist, commented on the route of the hilly L'Etape Czech Republic 2024 in one of the numerous debate circles.
He was referring to the fact that the route of the L'Etape Czech Republic scheduled for 15 June has changed fundamentally. Cyclists will have to climb through Zdejcina, Hudlice, Karlov or Roztoky, which never appeared in the itinerary in the past.
"I don't know the area around Zdejcina and Hudlice at all. But it looks very challenging," shrugged another participant of the L'Etape Czech Republic 2024 route unveiling ceremony....
A spectacle not to be missed
Moderator Tomáš Jílek kicked things off. But it's just a big spectacle that they don't want to miss, and that's also true of L'Etape Czech Republic."
With exactly 207 days to go until the start of the hilly L'Etape Czech Republic 2024 on June 15 in Central Bohemia and 270 days until the start of the mountain L'Etape Czech Republic 2024 on August 17 in South Bohemia, hobby cyclists from all corners of the country have learned where the race will take them.
"We are slowly approaching the capacity limit in Prague. We have seen a demand for another event that would be more challenging than the stage in Central Bohemia. By organising the Mountain Stage we are entering the next stage of L'Etape Czech Republic. The fact that more than four hundred cyclists signed up just according to the date, without knowing where they would ride, confirmed us in the correctness of our decision," reminded Tomáš Pravenec, the head of the organizing agency Petr Čech Sport, that the Mountain Stage had more than four hundred registered before the route and profile were published.
"The atmosphere was excellent. I found myself in the company of people who were out for a day of cycling. And another multitude of cycling enthusiasts were along the route. I was touched by what a great experience L'Etape had in store for me. I arrived at Strahov totally excited," said Tomáš Bábek, reflecting on his four-month-old experience.
The hardest hill? Just don't shoot your strength at the start
It is the former excellent trackman who has become the ambassador of the Grupeto category, which will start at the tail of the Middle Route of the Hill Stage with the only ambition to finish before the limit, which will be "guarded" by Babek.
"When the guys from the organizing team called me to ask if I would ride only the Middle Route, and still on the edge of the limit, I quickly calculated that it would be worth it. Cyclists like me don't go up hills that fast. It'll be a breeze. And if anyone wants advice, I'll do my best," smiled Babek. He had a clear opinion on the debates about the new climbs of the hilly stage.
The fundamentally altered hilly stage sparked heated debates. "A long route in Central Bohemia will be a bigger mordor than Šumava," was one of the catchphrases. "It's going to be very selective and very fair. Nobody will be in a group they don't belong to," countered another L'Etape Czech Republic supporter who arrived directly to the hall of the Přítomnost cinema.
"Every race is as hard as the cyclist makes it," said Ján Svorada, the traditional winner of three stages in the Tour de France and an active participant in the last two editions. He knows all the climbs of the hilly stage scheduled for June 15.
The audience is the focal point of L'Etape
However, only a select few will get a taste of the prestigious race for hobby cyclists during the fourth act. For he will ride as a patron of the Heroes category announced for the Short Route and, more importantly, only for bikes with a production date before 1989, in period clothing, with clip-ons or frame tube shifts.
"That's the kind of bike I started out on. It will be a big challenge to complete the Short Route and also to find the required materials, because I am not a collector and I certainly don't have a garage full of old bikes," Svorada smiled among a group of representatives of the municipalities through which the race will pass on 15 June.
"We try to work with the audience, which is one of the key points for us. That's why we're excited about the positive attitude of the municipalities towards the race. They don't just see L'Etape as a constraint for their locality, but mainly as an opportunity to spend a day together as part of community life," said Přemysl Novák, head of the L'Etape project.
"I feel very proud of the cooperation so far. I see the progress that the Czech L'Etape has undergone. From a timid beginning to a year with an incredible spectator scene, the organisers have bounced from that to two races in one year," gushed Umberto Mancini, A.S.O. project manager, who personally arrived at the Přítomnost cinema, over the maps and course profiles for 2024.
At least a few sips of the Tour de France
The French representative of the company under whose patronage all L'Etape events are held has not been absent in the Czech Republic during any of the previous editions. "In the Czech Republic, the purpose of the event is fulfilled. L'Etape by Tour de France is not about the result, but about the experience," Umberto Mancini reminded that twice a year cyclists have the opportunity to taste at least a few sips of the real Tour de France.
The organisers of L'Etape Czech Republic would like to bring the Grand Départ to the Czech Republic in the future. And one of the bosses of the organizing organization A.S.O. did not rule out this possibility. "Only your imagination is your limit," he said mysteriously in front of the packed hall, which was also hungrily devouring details of the route of the Mountain Stage in South Bohemia.
"It's certainly not as hard as it could be in that location," consoled Tereza Vlk Huříková, a former road and mountain biking representative who is the ambassador of the L'Etape Czech Republic 2024 Mountain Bike Tour and also the patron of the L'Etape Femmes project.
"The chosen location is a great combination, where the racers will see untouched nature, but also cultural places such as the Renaissance square of Prachatice. And as it may not seem, there is no flat land in Šumava, so you don't have to worry. There are more than enough steep climbs along the route," Tereza Vlk Huříková laughed at the hints that the Long Hill Stage route will be more challenging than the battle in Šumava. "I've done a lot of training here and it was never a matter of just putting in the kilometres. It was always about hard work."
Use the code "jsemvbaliku"
In the heat of the debates about the difficulty of the routes and studying the hill profiles on both routes, the news about the Black Friday event certainly did not disappear. When you enter the password "jsemvbalíku", everyone who signs up for L'Etape gets 20 percent off.
For those interested in the Heroes category, the discount is then increased by a further ten percent. Women can benefit from a sixteen percent discount year-round as part of the gender balance.
And until the end of the year, there is an incentive moratorium on moving from the Middle Route of the Hill Stage to the longest distance, which is only 25 kilometres longer. So don't hesitate to take up L'Etape's challenge.