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Modern Peace Race for Charity

| Blog, ProCycling | 03/05/2012 08:52am

Few people have heard of the Peace Race, but those who have know how difficult it is. This summer Alan Buttler and Geoff Wiles will attempt to ride the 1955 route in memory of former Great Britain mechanic Alf Buttler.

The pair will be taking on the 2,214 kilometre 13 stage ride from Prague to Berlin and finishing in Warsaw.  They aren’t just taking the gruelling challenge for fun and hope to raise money for Diabetes UK. Alf’s first race as a mechanic was the 1955 event, where Gustav-Adolf Schur became the first German to win.


The race, which hasn’t been run since 2006, began two years after World War Two ended when much of Europe was still in tatters. Behind the iron curtain Polish sport journalist Zygmunt Dall wanted to use sport to bring Poland and its neighbour, Czechoslovakia, together.

Initially Dall floated the idea of a boxing match, but thought it would be an inappropriate way to improve relations between the two neighbours. With tension between the two countries still high, Dall and Czech journalist Karel Tocl set about staging a bike race between the two countries. A compromise had to be reached on the finish location, as both wanted to crown the champions in their respective capital cities. In the end it was decided to stage two races in opposite directions.

They would both start on the 1st May with the Czech bound race ending on the 5th and the other ending on the 9th. August Prosinek was named the first Peace Race champion in Prague. Poland’s hopes of a home winner were dashed by Alexander Zoric winning the Prague to Warsaw race. Since then the race would alternate its destination each year.

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