Our new name will be Tartu2024 Cycling Team and we continue in the UCI continental level with a very strong line up mixed with very young guys coming from juniors. For the first time we will have more than one race in the 1st category (before there was only the Tour of Estonia).
The biggest change compared to previous years is that we will have 1-2 riders older than U23. The previous season showed us that a team captain was needed and we made a deal with the 25 year old Siim Kiskonen who rode for us few years ago. Despite finishing 27th in the Europe Tour's team classification the past season, we aim higher and with Siim as team captain we just might have the missing piece in the puzzle. Siim can also position himself very well in the punch sprints and can deliver in the smaller group.
We will have 4 riders in the roster from 2022 and they are all high quality riders and we expect them to shine in 2023: Markus Knaapi (climber) from Finland, Estonians Andre Roos (sprinter) and Joonas Kurits (rouleur) and we are very happy to have Alekss Krasts (puncheur) from Latvia.
There will be 4 guys out from juniors: Jomantas Venckus and Rokas Adomaitis from Lithuania and Lauri Tamm and Aaron Aus from Estonia. They will have also the school to finish and will have a bit lighter program compared to others.
Last weekend we had our first meeting in Kääriku and 22 years old Markus Pajur (ex-Arkea Samsic) joined us too. He is still in the middle of searching a team for 2023, but if he doesn't find any suitable one, we will have him as the team leader. If he finds a team, we will look for another rider as the team will stay 10 men big.
There are also some changes in the staff as our manager Rene Mandri will start as Sports Director in the Israel-Premier Tech from 01.01.2023. The coach of Lithuanian national team Gediminas Bagdonas (ex-pro Ag2r LaMondiale) will join the Baltic cycling project as Sports Director. Toms Flaksis from Latvia will still help riders with the training plans and Jaan Kirsipuu has now an even haigher responsability to lead the team.
The first race of the year will be Tour of Rwanda (2.1) followed by one day races and 4-5 day tours in Netherland, Belgium and France. The most important highlight for a Baltic team are of course Tour of Estonia (2.1) on the streets of Tartu, Baltic Chain Tour (2.2) and Baltic Championships organized in Lithuania this year.
Our mission is still to help young guys to progress and win the attention of the biggest teams in the world. Two of our riders from 2022 team made it, Madis Mihkels joined Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert World Tour team and Aivaras Mikutis the Swiss Pro Team's (Tudor) development program for 2023.