Czech Cycling Tour Stage 4: Dual Czech Victory for Etixx - Quick-Step!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Zdenek Stybar won the final stage of Czech Cycling Tour on Sunday, making it three wins out of four stages for the team.
The Czech rider won 144.9km Stage 4 ahead of Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Argon 18) and Stefan Schumacher (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). Stybar and Pieter Serry were part of a lead group that formed inside 10km to go, as riders bridged to a solo attacking Schumacher. The race came back together with about 25km remaining, but there was then a peloton split. Schumacher then decided to go ahead alone, but it would be Stybar, former Czech Champion racing at home, who crossed the line victorious. Serry earned a 5th place finish.
Petr Vakoc, current Czech Road Champion, also sealed the overall by crossing the line in 7th place. He went into the final stage with a 6" advantage over Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18). With the stage win, Stybar confirmed a 3rd place GC finish. Serry completed the stage race with a 4th place overall.
This is the 43rd and 44th road win for Etixx - Quick-Step in the 2015 season. Etixx - Quick-Step opened Czech Cycling Tour with a TTT victory, and Fernando Gaviria won Stage 2 as a stagiaire.
"As a team our first goal was to control the race," Stybar said. "We wanted to bring Vakoc with the leader's jersey until the end. In the final kilometers were were on the front setting a good tempo to prevent attacks. Suddenly we realized we were a bit off the front with a few guys. So at the top of the climb we went full gas. We caught Schumacher and we went to the finish to decide the stage victory. We made it, and I won. It's really nice as a Czech guy to win at home. Also, it's special because I earned a podium place in the overall with this win. Yesterday I raced well, but suffered with cramps in the end. Today was a good day to try and do well again, and see if I could finish on the GC podium. I managed to do it. So, this is a great way to close the Czech Cycling Tour. I'd like to thank the public that supported me these few days here, and also the race organization. They did a great job. The race is well organized and we leave here with really good memories of this race."
"To be honest at the start I was a little bit nervous," Vakoc said. "You never know what can happen in a race. Then after the first five kilometers there was the first breakaway bonification. Barta took one second, so at that point we stayed very focused as a team and tried to do our best. In the final there was a move at the front with a few guys including Styby and Serry. For us this was perfect, because I could control and stay behind. They could try and take all the bonifications. My race was to always stay on the wheel of Barta, the guy I needed to control. So, at the end, I am really happy to accomplish my objective and win the overall. This race was one of the main objectives of my season. I race on a strong team and am often at the service of a lot of big champions. I wanted to really take my chance here and try to win in front of my public. I did it. For me, it's a great achievement and satisfaction. I also have to say the public was super nice, the race was good, and now I'm looking forward to the next races with big motivation."