Peace Race

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Peace Race
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0104-004, Friedensfahrt, Logo.jpg
Logo of the 1987 edition. Although the design changed during the years, it usually featured a white dove, representing peace.
Race details
Date 1 May – 9 May
Region Czechoslovakia / the Czech Republic
East Germany / Germany
Poland
English name Peace Race
Local name(s) Friedensfahrt (German)
Závod míru (Czech)
Preteky mieru (Slovak)
Wyścig Pokoju (Polish)
Course de la Paix (French)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI Europe Tour
Type Stage-race
Organiser Rudé právo, Neues Deutschland
and Trybuna Ludu (until 1989)
History
First edition 1948 (1948)
Editions 59
Final edition 2006 (2006)
First winner  August Prosinek (YUG)
Most wins  Steffen Wesemann (GER) (5 wins)
Final winner  Giampaolo Cheula (ITA)

The Peace Race (German: Friedensfahrt, Czech: Závod míru, Slovak: Preteky mieru, Russian: Велогонка Мира (Velogonka Mira), Polish: Wyścig Pokoju, French: Course de la Paix, Italian: Corsa della Pace, Romanian: Cursa Păcii) was an annual multiple stage bicycle race held in the Eastern Bloc states of Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland. First organized in 1948, it was originally created with the intent of relieving tensions existing between Central European countries following the interwar period and World War II.

Maintained by the three states ruling Communist parties' newspapers (Rudé právo, Neues Deutschland and Trybuna Ludu), it was dubbed to be the "world's biggest amateur cycling race"[1] and "Tour de France of the East".

Following the fall of Communism in 1989, the Peace Race was no longer state-sponsored and organizers faced trouble with gathering funds. The event was last held in 2006.[2]

History[edit]

The first Peace Race was held in 1948, when there were two editions connecting cities of Warsaw and Prague. The one to Prague was won by August Prosinek, the other one to Warsaw by Alexander Zoric, both from Yugoslavia. During the Cold War the Peace Race was known as the 'Tour de France of the East'.

Because cyclists from the Eastern Bloc were not allowed to become professional it was an amateur race. It attracted the best cyclists from communist countries, plus guest teams from non-communist countries. Communist-bloc riders tended to dominate the event, but there were exceptions: Briton Ian Steel won the 1952 race, and the British League of Racing Cyclists team also won the team competition - the first time that both classifications had gone to the same nation.

One of the later winners was Sergei Sukhoruchenkov, who also won the gold medal on the Olympic Road Race in 1980.

The most successful riders in the Peace Race was Steffen Wesemann from Germany who won the race five times; Ryszard Szurkowski from Poland and Uwe Ampler from East Germany each won the race four times. Gustav-Adolf Schur, who won the race twice, was voted the most popular East German sportsman ever in 1989.[citation needed]

After the end of the Cold War the race lost its significance.[citation needed] No race was held in 2005, and the 2006 race turned out to be the last.

German schoolgirls in Tessin (Rostock, Mecklenburg) making an English-language sign to be used to greet riders in the 1961 Peace Race.

In 2006, the 58th edition took place on May 13–20. It started in Austria's Linz and via Czech Republic headed to Germany where it ended in Hannover. No capital city of these countries were crossed during the race.

After 2006, the race has been cancelled from the cycling calendar.

Legacy[edit]

In April/May 2012 Alan Buttler organised a re-run of the 1955 Peace Race as a tribute to his father, Alf Buttler, who has the GB cycling team mechanic for many events in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He was joined by former peace riders including Gustav-Adolf Schur, Geoff Wiles, John Woodburn, Alan Jacob, and Axel Peschel.

There is a museum in Kleinmühlingen in Germany dedicated to the Peace Race.

Junior and Under 23 Peace Race[edit]

A Junior Peace Race was first held in 1965 and held again the following year. After a hiatus it was revived in 1974 and has been held every year since, continuing after the senior race was no longer organised. Several riders who won the junior race have gone on to senior success, including Roman Kreuziger, Sr., Roman Kreuziger, Jr., Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, Peter Velits, Tanel Kangert and Michal Kwiatkowski.[3] An Under 23 Peace Race was added in 2013.[4]

List of races[edit]

Year Route Length
(in km)
Stages Overall winner Winning team
1948 Warsaw - Prague 1104 7 August Prosinek Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Poland I Poland [1/9]
1948 Prague - Warsaw 842 5 Alexander Zoric Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Poland I Poland [2/9]
1949 Prague - Warsaw 1259 8 Jan Veselý Czechoslovakia France II France
1950 Warsaw - Prague 1539 9 Willi Emborg Denmark Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [1/5]
1951 Prague - Warsaw 1544 9 Kay Allan Olsen Denmark Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [2/5]
1952 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2135 12 Ian Steel United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom
1953 Bratislava - Berlin - Warsaw 2231 12 Christian Pedersen Denmark East Germany East Germany [01/10]
1954 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2051 13 Eluf Dalgaard Denmark Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [3/5]
1955 Prague - Berlin - Warsaw 2214 13 Gustav-Adolf Schur East Germany [1/2] Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [4/5]
1956 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2212 12 Stanisław Krolak Poland Soviet Union Soviet Union [01/20]
1957 Prague - Berlin - Warsaw 2220 12 Nencho Khristov Bulgaria East Germany East Germany [02/10]
1958 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2210 12 Piet Damen Netherlands Soviet Union Soviet Union [02/20]
1959 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 2057 13 Gustav-Adolf Schur East Germany [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [03/20]
1960 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 2290 13 Erich Hagen East Germany East Germany East Germany [03/10]
1961 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2435 13 Yuriy Melikhov Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [04/20]
1962 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 2407 14 Gainan Saydkhushin Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [05/20]
1963 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 2568 15 Klaus Ampler East Germany East Germany East Germany [04/10]
1964 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2246 14 Jan Smolík Czechoslovakia East Germany East Germany [05/10]
1965 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 2318 15 Gennady Lebedev Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [06/20]
1966 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 2340 15 Bernard Guyot France Soviet Union Soviet Union [07/20]
1967 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2307 16 Marcel Maes Belgium Poland Poland [3/9]
1968 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 2352 14 Axel Peschel East Germany Poland Poland [4/9]
1969 Warsaw - Berlin 2036 15 Jean-Pierre Danguillaume France East Germany East Germany [06/10]
1970 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 1976 15 Ryszard Szurkowski Poland [1/4] Poland Poland [5/9]
1971 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 1895 14 Ryszard Szurkowski Poland [2/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [08/20]
1972 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 2025 14 Vlastimil Moravec Czechoslovakia Soviet Union Soviet Union [09/20]
1973 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 2076 P, 16, E Ryszard Szurkowski Poland [3/4] Poland Poland [6/9]
1974 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 1806 14 Stanisław Szozda Poland Poland Poland [7/9]
1975 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 1915 P, 13 Ryszard Szurkowski Poland [4/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [10/20]
1976 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 1974 P, 14 Hans-Joachim Hartnick East Germany Soviet Union Soviet Union [11/20]
1977 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 1648 13 Aavo Pikkuus Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [12/20]
1978 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 1796 P, 12 Alexander Averin Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [13/20]
1979 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 1942 P, 14 Sergei Sukhoruchenkov Soviet Union [1/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [14/20]
1980 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2095 P, 14 Yuriy Barinov Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [15/20]
1981 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 1887 P, 14 Shakhid Zagretdinov Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union [16/20]
1982 Prague - Warsaw - Berlin 1941 P, 12 Olaf Ludwig East Germany [1/2] East Germany East Germany [07/10]
1983 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 1899 P, 12 Falk Boden East Germany East Germany East Germany [08/10]
1984 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 1689 P, 11 Sergei Sukhoruchenkov Soviet Union [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [17/20]
1985 Prague - Moscow - Warsaw - Berlin 1712 P, 12 Lech Piasecki Poland Soviet Union Soviet Union [18/20]
1986 Kiev - Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 2138 P, 15 Olaf Ludwig East Germany [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [19/20]
1987 Berlin - Prague - Warsaw 1987 P, 14 Uwe Ampler East Germany [1/4] East GermanyEast Germany [09/10]
1988 Bratislava - Katowice - Berlin 2008 P, 13 Uwe Ampler East Germany [2/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [20/20]
1989 Warsaw - Berlin - Prague 1927 12 Uwe Ampler East Germany [3/4] East Germany East Germany [10/10]
1990 Berlin - Slušovice - Bielsko-Biała 1595 P, 11 Ján Svorada Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [5/5]
1991 Prague - Warsaw 1261 P, 9 Viktor Rakshinsky Soviet Union Poland Poland [8/9]
1992 Berlin - Karpacz - Mladá Boleslav 1348 P, 9 Steffen Wesemann Germany [1/5] Germany Germany
1993 Tábor - Nový Bor 1342 P, 9 Jaroslav Bílek Czech Republic Czech Republic Czech Republic [1/2]
1994 Tábor - Trutnov 1354 P, 9 Jens Voigt Germany Czech Republic Czech Republic [2/2]
1995 České Budějovice - Oberwiesenthal - Brno 1379 P, 10 Pavel Padrnos Czech Republic Poland Poland [9/9]
1996 Brno - Żywiec - Leipzig 1703 P, 10 Steffen Wesemann Germany [2/5] Team NE Telekom
1997 Potsdam - Żywiec - Brno 1629 P, 10 Steffen Wesemann Germany [3/5] Team Deutsche Telekom Germany [1/2]
1998 Poznań - Karlovy Vary - Erfurt 1591 10 Uwe Ampler Germany [4/4] Team Mroz Poland [1/3]
1999 Znojmo - Polkowice - Magdeburg 1613 10 Steffen Wesemann Germany [4/5] Team Mroz Poland [2/3]
2000 Hannover - Kudowa Zdrój - Prague 1608 10 Piotr Wadecki Poland Team NürnbergerGermany
2001 Łódź - Plzeň - Potsdam 1611 10 Jakob Piil Denmark -no competition
2002 České Budějovice - Chemnitz - Warsaw 1470 10 Ondřej Sosenka Czech Republic Team Mroz Poland [3/3]
2003 Olomouc - Wałbrzych - Erfurt 1552 9 Steffen Wesemann Germany [5/5] Team CCC Polsat Poland
2004 Brussels - Wrocław - Prague 1580 9 Michele Scarponi Italy T-Mobile Team Germany [2/2]
2006 Linz - Karlovy Vary - Hannover 1283 8 Giampaolo Cheula Italy Team Unibet.com Netherlands

P=prologue, E=epilogue

Peace Race 2006.

Most individual wins[edit]

Cyclists with three wins at least listed

Overall:

  • 5 wins: Steffen Wesemann
  • 4 wins: Ryszard Szurkowski, Uwe Ampler

Sprinter competition:

  • 8 wins: Olaf Ludwig
  • 3 wins: Ryszard Szurkowski

Mountain climbers competition:

  • 3 wins: Sergei Sukhoruchenkov, Uwe Ampler, Jaroslav Bílek

Most team wins[edit]

  • 20 wins: Soviet Union
  • 10 wins: East Germany
  • 9 wins: Poland
  • 5 wins: Czechoslovakia
  • 3 wins: Team Mroz

Winners by country[edit]

Individual overall competitions were won by cyclist from following countries:

  • 12 wins: East Germany
  • 10 wins: Soviet Union
  • 7 wins: Poland, Germany
  • 5 wins: Denmark
  • 4 wins: Czechoslovakia
  • 3 wins: Czech Republic
  • 2 wins: SFR Yugoslavia, France, Italy
  • 1 win: United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Netherlands

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dubiański (2001), p. 50
  2. ^ "Wyścig Pokoju po raz drugi w historii odwołany" [Peace Race cancelled for the second time in history]. Wirtualna Polska. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Winners list". Course de la Paix Juniors / Junior Peace Race. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Závodu Míru U23" [Peace Race U23]. ttvsportgroup.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 3 May 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tuszyński, Bogdan (1989). Wyścig Pokoju 1948–1988 [The Peace Race 1948–1988] (in Polish). Warsaw: Sport i Turystyka. ISBN 83-217-2662-3. 
  • Ferenc, Jakub (2008). Sport w służbie polityki. Wyścig Pokoju 1948–1989 [Sport used by politics. The Peace Race 1948–1989] (in Polish). Warsaw: Trio, Collegium Civitas. ISBN 978-83-7436-160-6.