The TARTU 2024 team participated in the 34th Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc et des Champions Olympiques 2.2. - where did Siim Kiskonen win the first stage. After that, we started to defend his general lead, and the whole team focused on getting our first tour win this season. When, after the second stage, we lost Rokas and Siim crashed twice, the outlook was not perfect. But the boys continued to fight.
The third stage was 166 km, where three guys went to brakeaway and we controlled the peloton. As the attackers were not dangerous to our general classification, we tried to hold a gap of one minute. 30 km before the finish, sprinter teams took it upon themselves to do the work, but they were too late, and one of the brakeaway riders took the stage win.
The fourth stage was the longest at 220 km. Again, the guys did a very good job controlling the peloton. The whole stage was very active, and there were many attempts to get away from the main peloton. The stage ended with a pucnch sprint, where Markus Pajur was 11th. He had super legs after a long stage, and the result wasn't far away, but he kicked out 100 metres before the line. We kept the yellow, which was our main goal.
The fifth and last stage was 175 km with a narrow cobblestone climb in the middle of the race. We focused on being there for the position, and we were. Unfortunately, Siim had a puncture at the top of the climb, cars were too far away because of narrow conditions, and we lost 1.30 minutes to the leaders. Jomantas, Alekss, and Lauri stopped immediately. Lauri gave Siim his front wheel, and they started to drive back the gap. While Markus was in front with the leaders, he stopped also, and all the guys did their maximum to bring back the leading peloton. After 50 kilometres of pursuit, Siim was back in the main group. Markus and Alekss both had puncutures after bringing Siim in front. Lauri was the only helper for the last 30 kilometres. They covered all the dangerous attacks, and Siim crossed the line in 24th position, which was enough to defend the lead, and we WON the general classification.
Teamwork is the dream work. Without a strong team, it is almost impossible to win tour like this, but our team worked like clockwork. All the guys did their best and gave everything to defend the lead. This is a win for the team, not only for the Siim. It's a good thing to take with us and gives a lot of confidence to future riders.