Jan Barta wins the prologue

Siófok–Siófok (4km) individual time trial

BARTA smiles. NEILANDTS cries. The Czech rider wins the prologue for only 34 hundredth on the Latvian champion.

(Photos: Zoltán, Pertorini Márió, Halmágyi Zsolt, Tuba Zoltán)

On a flat and technical 4km-prologue, Jan BARTA (Elkov - Author Cycling Team) was the fastest man today during the opening prologue of the 40th edition of the Tour de Hongrie, in Siófok, along the Balaton lake. Krists NEILANDTS (Isreal Cycling Academy) finished 2nd even if he thought about the victory until the end of the race. The third man is the Polish guy Piotr BROZYNA riding for CCC Development Team.

129 riders started the 40th edition of the Tour de Hongrie this Tuesday the 11th of June for the prologue through the streets of Siófok, a seaside resort on Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.

The first town of this year’s race is the summer capital of the country; where Hungarian people go to rest and party.

Siófok is also twinned with Saint-Laurent-du-Var, a village close to Nice which will see the peloton of the Tour de France twice during the 2020 Grand Départ.

This aperitif is a 4km prologue in Siófok city center: flat and technical, perfectly  suited to time trial specialists to give them the opportunity to wear the first yellow jersey of the race.

Under a blazing sun and a temperature of around 33 **, the first impressive time was set by the very young Polish rider from CCC Development team, Damian PAPIERSKI. He finished the 4km of the prologue min 4’24’’41, not really a surprise for him or his team as he is the Polish junior time trial champion.

But 15 minutes later he was beaten by the Latvian champion, Kris NEILANDTS (Isreal Cycling Academy) who finished more than 7 seconds quicker than Papierski in 4’17’’54. New time to beat.

The Tour de Hongrie is a big event in Hungary, and fans turned out all along the course, choosing to watch the race instead of swimming in the lake.

In front of the crowds, Polish rider Piotr BROZYNA of CCC development Team almost beat NEILANDTS, finishing in behind him, beaten by a single second.

But when NEILANDTS thought about the victory and started to go in the direction of the podium, he saw the Czech veteran rider, Jan BARTA (Elkov - Author Cycling Team) beating him for only… 34 hundredth!!… It’s the 14th pro win for BARTA in his 14 pro seasons who just came back in his home country to continue to be a pro rider but also to help the new generation.

Tomorrow, he will wear the yellow jersey from Velence to Esztergom for the 194km of the first stage of the Tour de Hongrie. The stage is not really complicated and dedicated for sprinters.

Prologue, individual time trial, Siófok (4km):
1. Jan Barta (CZE, Elkov-Author) 4:17.20
2. Krists Neilands (LAT, Israel Cycling Academy) 4:17.54
3. Piotr Brozyna (POL, CCC Development Team) 4:19.29
4. August Jensen (NOR, Israel Cycling Academy) 4:19.46
5. Dusan Rajovics (SRB, Adria Mobil) 4:19.62
6. Antonio Puppio (ITA, Kometa Cycling Team) 4:20.36
11. Manuel Belletti (ITA, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 4:22.32

Quote Jan BARTA after the finish:

« I diid not expect such a victory here. Normally I prefer the longer time-trial but as I’m in good shape, I decided to do it at 100%. It was very close with Krists (Neilandts) but I’m super happy to wear the yellow jersey tomorrow. We will have to control the race but we don’t know how it’s gonna be. We will decide a tactic tonight. »

3 questions to Manuel Belletti (Androni-Giocattoli Sidermec)
2018 Tour de Hongrie winner

Q: This Tour de Hongrie is a great memory for you ?

A: Yes, a incredible moment for me and one of the best memory of my carrier, winning here last year. I did everything to make it possible. But this year, the race is different and with the hard stage on next Saturday, iI know that I’m not favorite and I won’t be able to win again.

Q: How is you shape after the Giro ?

(Belletti finished 4 times in the Top 10 on massive sprint stages)

A: I’m tired. I did not have many rest after the final stage 10 days ago. I needed to continue to ride to prepare the Tour de Hongrie. I was impossible for me to miss that race; it’s my first race wearing the Number 1 on my back.

Q: Who is the GC leader of your team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec?

A: Our team leader and our hopes for the general classification is our Colombian climber, Daniel Muñoz. He is a very good climber and the climb on stage 4 suits to him very well. He is in a great shape: last week he won the Tour of Bihor in Romania after a solo win through the stage 2. We will work for him.

Source: A.S.O., Vincent Renault