Madis Mihkels won the first 192km long stage of the Tour of Estonia (UCI 2.1) from Tallinn to his hometown Tartu. The 18 year old outsprinted Team BikeExchange-Jayco's Kaden Groves on the 300m long cobbled climb to the top of the famous Toomemägi at the heart of the European Capital of Culture 2024, Tartu.
The tour started in Tallinn with a 3.7km long prolog the day before and it didn't go as planned for Madis. He was stopped by some cars on the racing course and he lost valuable seconds to his main rivals. After the stage win in Tartu he climbed to second in GC losing only 0.2 seconds to the Australian fast man Kaden Groves.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco didn't defend their leaders jersey on the challeging circuit in Tartu during the 2nd stage and they tried to get rid of "amateurs"and put everybody under pressure by attacking the group several times during the race with the quality riders they had brought to Estonia. It came out not to be as easy as they fought and burned out all their matches. Young guys from Team Ampler-Tartu2024 neutralized all of those attacks and it was Madis himself who put the opposition under pressure several times on the cobbled climb, maybe one-two times too much during the race as he cracked on the final loop himself. Madis was already in the winning move with Norman Vahtra (Estonian National Team) and Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuanian National Team), but his legs gave up on the last cobbled climb and the main group cought him during the last 7km. The GC went to the experienced Siskevicius who is riding for the French continental team Go Sport- Lille Roubaix Metropole and the last stage to the local guy and Siskevicius's team mate in France, Vahtra (ex world tour rider - Israel Start Up Nation) . Groves finished 3rd and Madis 4th in the GC.
Team Ampler-Tartu2024 did a fantastic job during the race controlling most of the attacks and helping Madis to position perfectly for each tactical point of the course.
Team's latvian coach Toms Flaksis told after the race in Facebook: "I'm proud. I'm happy. I saw father in tears of joy, I saw children screaming 'Ampler, Ampler!' Each of Team Ampler-Tartu2024 is my hero too. A weekend to remember forever, on and off the bike."
Download photos here.
Author Maris Vancevičs
Madis's winning sprint here
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