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Astana's Vaitkus makes off-season marathon appearance

By:
Cycling News
Published:
September 13, 2011, 23:04 BST,
Updated:
September 14, 2011, 0:02 BST
Edition:
MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) taking his turn in the break today.

Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) taking his turn in the break today.

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Road pro to compete in Estonian mountain bike marathon championships

Tomas Vaitkus (Astana Cycling Team) will be at the start line of the 14th annual SEB Tartu Rattamaraton taking place in Estonia on September 18. The Lithuanian pro road cyclist won the Tartu GP in 2005 and is a former teammate of Lance Armstrong. Vaitkus has spent this year riding for Astana along with Estonian Tanel Kangert, the winner of Tartu Rattamaraton last year.

Vaitkus is modest when it comes to the plans regarding the upcoming marathon. "I haven't set any major goals for Tartu Rattamaraton. So far I have only competed in a few small mountain bike races in Lithuania.

"Besides, my season is closed by now and I am not training seriously since my last road race, Hamburg's Vattenfall Cyclassics Therefore the main aim is to try the marathon, to see how I feel. I want to see if I can ride well."

Allan Oras, the winner of Tartu Rattamaraton as well as the European Marathon Championship in 2009, noted Vaitkus's talent. "He is definitely one of the strongest riders. I believe his physique and the marathon track will show if he can compete against the other elite riders on the South Estonian landscape." Oras has competed in the Tartu Rattamaraton for 10 years and is signed up again this year.

All together more than 5000 cyclists are expected to take part. Participants can choose between two different distances - 89km and 40km. The 89km event will double as the Estonian marathon national championships.

For more information on the race, visit www.tartumaraton.ee.

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