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Former professional cyclist Grete Treier: Ladies Tour of Estonia will write the history of Estonian cycling

On May 28, the Ladies Tour of Estonia, a cycling competition for female cyclists, will start for the first time. The race will start from Turu Street in Tartu, and almost 70 women will compete for the highest place. As this is the first time, the former professional cyclist Grete Treier gives an overview of women's cycling and the upcoming race.

Estonian female riders on a Czech Gracia-Orlova tour. Author: Estonian Cyclists Union.

Grete Treier is a 33-time Estonian champion who has pedaled in Italian professional clubs Michela Fanini Record Rox and Gauss RDZ Ormu. Her best results are: 17th place at the Olympic Games in London in 2012, 8th place overall in the Giro d'Italia in 2007 and 2008 (1 stage win). She is one of those, thanks to whom the Ladies Tour of Estonia can take place. In the following interview, she talks about the importance of the Ladies Tour of Estonia in Estonian cycling and explains what to expect from the competition.


How important is that there is now a Ladies Tour of Estonia?

In recent years, the International Cycling Federation (UCI) has paid great attention to the promotion of women's cycling. Minimum wages have been set, and in addition to many of the men's great bike rides, there are also women's races. In addition, many men's clubs have women's teams. Estonian cycling is also moving towards reducing inequalities between women and men. The Ladies Tour of Estonia, which will take place for one day, will help to take a big step forward.

This has historical importance, as it is Estonia's first international high-level race for women. Estonian women's cycling has been in the shadows for years, although there have been good female cyclists. There are very few competitions in Estonia where women can compete with each other, they often have to do it with men. Now our female cyclists have a great opportunity to compete internationally at home.


Who could achieve the highest place among Estonian female cyclists?

Aidi Gerde Tuisk (46th place) and Elina Tasane (53rd) did quite equal results on the difficult Gracia-Orlova cycling tour of the Czech Republic at the end of April, and Liisa Ehrberg (64th) was not far behind (among 96 riders). Kristel Sandra Soonik also showed progress on this tour. Among Estonians, I would bet on our strong female junior Elisabeth Ebras (unfortunately Laura Lizette Sander can't compete) and also those who finished the Gracia-Orlova cycling tour.

It does not matter to me who makes the best result among Estonians. It is important that the cooperation goes well and the Estonian with the strongest legs and good luck brings us a high place.


I am also glad that the Estonians are very interested in this historical competition – in addition to the Estonian women's team, there are 2 more Estonian mixed teams (Hawaii Express mixed team 1 and mixed team 2).


Who do you see as a favorite of foreign cyclists?

Leleivyte Rasa (LTU). Rasa, who was already very strong in the junior class, has achieved 9th place at the World Championships.  In addition 5th and 9th place at the European Championships, last year she was 3rd at the European Championships.

Scandolara Valentina(ITA). She was also a strong rider as a junior, was 6th in the group race at the European Games.

Inga Češulienė (LTU). A multiple champion of her country, last year she won the Baltic Road Championships.

Although Rasa and Valentina both have a strong sprint leg, Rasa has achieved very high places at the World Championships and European Championships. She seems to be a strong fighter.


What could the race look like?

The course runs mostly on a smooth road, so women can use strong wind sections to attack in the early and middle phases of the race. There could be attacks from the group at the city circles (2 laps) starting at the 77th km, where there are sections with curved streets, cobbled ascents and descents.

I think that the 8 km gravel section will spice up the race in the first half of the race. If the tyre breaks in this part of the race, the athlete will use energy to get back to the group, but she will still have to ride more than half the distance (74 km) until the end of the race. In case of group finish, a strong sprint leg may not be enough to win, but the skilful movement and teammates support will also be beneficial.


A total of 13 teams, 72 women, are currently starting at the Ladies Tour of Estonia. The total length of the course is 111.7 km (incl. 7.5 km long neutral).


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