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Peace Race

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Course de la Paix Logo
Peace Race
Logo of the 1987 edition. Although the design changed during the years, it usually featured a white dove, representing peace.
Race details
Date1 – 9 May
RegionCzechoslovakia / the Czech Republic
East Germany / Germany
English namePeace Race
Local name(s)Friedensfahrt (in German)
Závod míru (in Czech)
Preteky mieru (in Slovak)
Wyścig Pokoju (in Polish)
Course de la Paix (in French)
CompetitionUCI Europe Tour
OrganiserRudé právo, Neues Deutschland
and Trybuna Ludu (until 1989)
First edition1948 (1948)
Final edition2006 (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 [ˈvɨɕt͡ɕik pɔˈkɔju], French: Course de la Paix, Italian: Corsa della Pace, Romanian: Cursa Păcii) is a cycling race that was established as the largest amateur event in Eastern Europe after the Second World War. Since 2013, it has been run as one of the most prestigious stage races for national U23 teams.


At the outset, due to the political situation, it was an amateur event, which therefore excluded participation of "capitalist" cycling stars. Nevertheless, the organisers were able to give the event an international character thanks to the start of competitors from the socialist sphere. Workers' organisations from Italy, France and Finland also sent their representatives. In Prague, forty-five years after the first edition of the Tour de France, seven teams set off to Poland, and ten from Warsaw.

The race was officially called Slavjantour and took place between Prague and Warsaw. It was actually two races. A seven-stage race starting in Prague and a five-stage race from Warsaw. That first year, 53 competitors set off from Prague to cover 1,106 kilometres; 39 of them reached Warsaw after the seven stages. In the opposite direction, the course measured 880 km and 65 riders attempted to cover the five sections, although only 52 arrived in Prague. The winner's yellow jersey, modelled on the Tour de France, was claimed by Yugoslavs in both destination cities: in Prague Alexander Zorič (35:53.16 hours and an average speed of 30.7 km/h), in Warsaw Augustin Prosenik (26:52.25 hours, 32.4 km/h).

It was not until 1950 that the official name was changed to the Peace Race.

Gradually, the race gained in popularity and repute, although it remained open only to amateurs. From 1952, East Germany was added to the host countries and the races took place between Prague, Berlin and Warsaw. The opening stage starting locations and the finish line of the final stage alternated. In the eighties, the then Soviet Union was also included in the list of host countries.

After the beak up of the Czechoslovak Federation in the spring of 1993, the race remained almost exclusively in the territory of the Czech Republic. Thirteen years later the final edition of the Peace Race took place. Financial problems caused the collapse of the organisation.

Steffen Wesemann of Germany has the most victories in the history of the Peace Race. However, his five triumphs date to the period after 1989, when the Velvet Revolution took place in Czechoslovakia. Pole Ryszard Szurkowski and German Uwe Ampler can each boast four victories in the Peace Race.

German Olaf Ludwig was the absolute king among the sprinters, and he dominated the points competition eight times. Ryszard Szurkowski won three overall victories. In the mountain climbing competition, the best with three victories each are Sergej Suchoruchenkov from the then Soviet Union, Uwe Ampler and Czech competitor, Jaroslav Bílek.

Czech and Czechoslovakian cyclists have also left an indelible mark in history of the Peace Race. Victory was celebrated by Jan Veselý (1949), Jan Smolík (1964), Vlastimil Moravec (1972), Ján Svorada (1990), Jaroslav Bílek (1993), Pavel Padrnos (1995) and Ondřej Sosenka (2002).

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


In April/May 2012 Alan Buttler organised a re-run of the 1955 Peace Race as a tribute to his father, Alf Buttler, who was 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 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.[1]

Peace Race U23[edit]

2013 saw a revival of the race, but in a completely different format. It became a race for national teams of cyclists under 23 years old. Since the 2015 season it has been part of the prestigious Nations Cup series.

Initially the race had just three stages, but this was expanded to four stages in the fourth year of the race. Past years have seen stars of the current world peloton, such as Tadej Pogačar, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Julian Alaphilippe and Marc Hirschi, lined up at the start of the race.

The Peace Race U23 is ridden over exceptionally demanding courses in the Jeseníky hills, which makes it the perfect proving ground for World Tour candidates.

"Every year we see young talents on the Peace Race who will soon appear on the rosters of elite division teams. Individual national teams send their best cyclists to the Peace Race. The stages of our race are regularly praised for revealing the strengths of the riders. Without exaggeration, we can say that it is a race comparable to those somewhere in the Pyrenees or the Alps," says Leopold König, director of the Under-23 Peace Race.

List of races[edit]

Olaf Ludwig (East Germany), Morten Saether (Norway), and Uwe Raab (East Germany) on the podium during the 1987 edition
Peace Race 2006.
Year Route Length
(in km)
Stages Overall winner Winning team
1948 WarsawPrague 1104 7 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia August Prosenik Poland Poland I [1/9]
1948 Prague—Warsaw 842 5 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Aleksandar Zorić Poland Poland I [2/9]
1949 Prague—Warsaw 1259 8 Czechoslovakia Jan Veselý France France II
1950 Warsaw—Prague 1539 9 Denmark Willi Emborg Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [1/5]
1951 Prague—Warsaw 1544 9 Denmark Kaj Allan Olsen Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [2/5]
1952 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2135 12 United Kingdom Ian Steel United Kingdom United Kingdom
1953 Bratislava—Berlin—Warsaw 2231 12 Denmark Christian Pedersen East Germany East Germany [1/10]
1954 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2051 13 Denmark Eluf Dalgaard Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [3/5]
1955 Prague—Berlin—Warsaw 2214 13 East Germany Gustav-Adolf Schur [1/2] Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [4/5]
1956 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2212 12 Poland Stanisław Królak Soviet Union Soviet Union [1/20]
1957 Prague—Berlin—Warsaw 2220 12 Bulgaria Nentcho Christov East Germany East Germany [2/10]
1958 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2210 12 Netherlands Piet Damen Soviet Union Soviet Union [2/20]
1959 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 2057 13 East Germany Gustav-Adolf Schur [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [3/20]
1960 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 2290 13 East Germany Erich Hagen East Germany East Germany [3/10]
1961 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2435 13 Soviet Union Yury Melikhov Soviet Union Soviet Union [4/20]
1962 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 2407 14 Soviet Union Gainan Saidkhuzhin Soviet Union Soviet Union [5/20]
1963 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 2568 15 East Germany Klaus Ampler East Germany East Germany [4/10]
1964 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2246 14 Czechoslovakia Jan Smolík East Germany East Germany [5/10]
1965 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 2318 15 Soviet Union Gennady Lebedev Soviet Union Soviet Union [6/20]
1966 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 2340 15 France Bernard Guyot Soviet Union Soviet Union [7/20]
1967 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2307 16 Belgium Marcel Maes Poland Poland [3/9]
1968 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 2352 14 East Germany Axel Peschel Poland Poland [4/9]
1969 Warsaw—Berlin 2036 15 France Jean-Pierre Danguillaume East Germany East Germany [6/10]
1970 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 1976 15 Poland Ryszard Szurkowski [1/4] Poland Poland [5/9]
1971 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 1895 14 Poland Ryszard Szurkowski [2/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [8/20]
1972 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 2025 14 Czechoslovakia Vlastimil Moravec Soviet Union Soviet Union [9/20]
1973 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 2076 P + 16 + E Poland Ryszard Szurkowski [3/4] Poland Poland [6/9]
1974 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 1806 14 Poland Stanisław Szozda Poland Poland [7/9]
1975 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 1915 P + 13 Poland Ryszard Szurkowski [4/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [10/20]
1976 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 1974 P + 14 East Germany Hans-Joachim Hartnick Soviet Union Soviet Union [11/20]
1977 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 1648 13 Soviet Union Aavo Pikkuus Soviet Union Soviet Union [12/20]
1978 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 1796 P + 12 Soviet Union Aleksandr Averin Soviet Union Soviet Union [13/20]
1979 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 1942 P + 14 Soviet Union Sergei Sukhoruchenkov [1/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [14/20]
1980 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2095 P + 14 Soviet Union Yuri Barinov Soviet Union Soviet Union [15/20]
1981 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 1887 P + 14 Soviet Union Shakhid Zagretdinov P + Soviet Union Soviet Union [16/20]
1982 Prague—Warsaw—Berlin 1941 P + 12 East Germany Olaf Ludwig [1/2] East Germany East Germany [7/10]
1983 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 1899 P + 12 East Germany Falk Boden East Germany East Germany [8/10]
1984 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 1689 P + 11 Soviet Union Sergei Sukhoruchenkov [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [17/20]
1985 Prague—Moscow—Warsaw—Berlin 1712 P + 12 Poland Lech Piasecki Soviet Union Soviet Union [18/20]
1986 Kiev—Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 2138 P + 15 East Germany Olaf Ludwig [2/2] Soviet Union Soviet Union [19/20]
1987 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw 1987 P + 14 East Germany Uwe Ampler [1/4] East Germany East Germany [9/10]
1988 Bratislava—Katowice—Berlin 2008 P + 13 East Germany Uwe Ampler [2/4] Soviet Union Soviet Union [20/20]
1989 Warsaw—Berlin—Prague 1927 12 East Germany Uwe Ampler [3/4] East Germany East Germany [10/10]
1990 Berlin—SlušoviceBielsko-Biała 1595 P + 11 Czechoslovakia Ján Svorada Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia [5/5]
1991 Prague—Warsaw 1261 P + 9 Soviet Union Viktor Rjaksinski Poland Poland [8/9]
1992 Berlin—KarpaczMladá Boleslav 1348 P + 9 Germany Steffen Wesemann [1/5] Germany Germany
1993 TáborNový Bor 1342 P + 9 Czech Republic Jaroslav Bílek Czech Republic Czech Republic [1/2]
1994 Tábor—Trutnov 1354 P + 9 Germany Jens Voigt Czech Republic Czech Republic [2/2]
1995 České BudějoviceOberwiesenthalBrno 1379 P + 10 Czech Republic Pavel Padrnos Poland Poland [9/9]
1996 Brno—ŻywiecLeipzig 1703 P + 10 Germany Steffen Wesemann [2/5] Team NE Telekom
1997 Potsdam—Żywiec—Brno 1629 P + 10 Germany Steffen Wesemann [3/5] Germany Team Deutsche Telekom [1/2]
1998 PoznańKarlovy VaryErfurt 1591 10 Germany Uwe Ampler [4/4] Poland Team Mroz [1/3]
1999 ZnojmoPolkowiceMagdeburg 1613 10 Germany Steffen Wesemann [4/5] Poland Team Mroz [2/3]
2000 HannoverKudowa-Zdrój—Prague 1608 10 Poland Piotr Wadecki Germany Team Nürnberger
2001 ŁódźPlzeň—Potsdam 1611 10 Denmark Jakob Piil no competition
2002 České Budějovice—Chemnitz—Warsaw 1470 10 Czech Republic Ondřej Sosenka Poland Team Mroz [3/3]
2003 OlomoucWałbrzych—Erfurt 1552 9 Germany Steffen Wesemann [5/5] Poland Team CCC Polsat
2004 BrusselsWrocław—Prague 1580 9 Italy Michele Scarponi Germany T-Mobile Team [2/2]
2006 Linz—Karlovy Vary—Hannover 1283 8 Italy Giampaolo Cheula Netherlands Team Unibet.com

Most individual wins[edit]

Cyclists with three wins at least listed


  • 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, Belgium

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Winners list". Course de la Paix Juniors / Junior Peace Race. Retrieved 3 May 2014.

Further reading[edit]

01. K. Małcużyński, Zygmund Weiss : Kronika wielkiego wyścigu, Ksiażka i wiedza, Warszawa, 1952

02. Adolf Klimanschewsky: Warschau-Berlin-Prag. Ein Erlebnisbericht von der Friedensfahrt 1952. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1953.

03. Brigitte Roszak/Klaus Kickbusch (Redaktion): Friedensfahrt. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1954.

04. VII. Internationale Friedensfahrt. Volkskunstverlag Reichenbach, 1955.

05. VIII. Wyscig Pokoju, Zavod Miru, Friedensfahrt. Verlag: Sport i Turystika, Warszawa 1955.

06. Horst Schubert: Etappengefüster. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1956.

07. Horst Schubert u.a.:Jedes Jahr im Mai. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1957.

08. Herbert Kronfeld: Zwischen Start und Ziel. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1957.

09. Egon Lemke: Giganten der Pedale. Verlag Junge Welt, Berlin, 1958.

10. Autorenkollektiv: Friedensfahrt. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1962.

11. Klaus Ullrich: Kluge Köpfe – schnelle Beine. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1963.

12. Alles über alle Friedensfahrer. Verlag Neues Deutschland, Berlin, 1964.

13. Täves Friedensfahrtlexikon. Verlag Neues Deutschland, Berlin, 1965.

14. Klaus Ullrich (Hrsg.): Fahrt der Millionen. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1967.

15. Trzdziesci lat Wyscigu Pokoju. Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Warszawa, 1977.

16. Klaus Ullrich: Die große Fahrt. Sportverlag, Berlin, 1977.

17. Günter Teske: Das gelbe Trikot. Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin, 1981.

18. Klaus Ullrich: Jedes Mal im Mai, Sportverlag, Berlin, 1986, ISBN 3-328-00177-8.

19. Ulf Harms: Der verschwundene Friedensfahrer. Militärverlag der DDR, Berlin, 1987, ISBN 3-327-00433-1.

20. Gustav-Adolf Schur (Hrsg.): Friedensfahrt, Spotless-Verlag, Berlin, 1995, ISBN 3-928999-47-8.

21. Tilo Köhler: Der Favorit fuhr Kowalit: Täve Schur und die Friedensfahrt. Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, 1997, ISBN 3-378-01015-0.

22. Manfred Hönel/Olaf Ludwig: 100 Highlights Friedensfahrt. Sportverlag, Berlin,1997, ISBN 3-328-00717-2.

23. Maik Märtin: 50 Jahre Course de la Paix, Agentur Construct, Leipzig, 1998, ISBN: ohne.

24. Klaus Ullrich Huhn: Die Geschichte der Friedensfahrt. Spotless-Verlag, Berlin, 2001, ISBN 3-933544-52-1.

25. Bogdan Tuszynski/ Daniel Marszalek: Wyscik Pokoju 1948–2001, Verlag FDK Warszawa, Warszawa, 2002, ISBN 83-86244-33-X

26. Andreas Ciesielski: Das Wunder von Warschau, Scheunen-Verlag, Kückenshagen, 2005, ISBN 3-934301-83-5

27. Alan Buttler/Klaus Huhn: Wie die Friedensfahrt "ausgegraben" wurde, NORA Verlagsgemeinschaft Dyck & Westerheide, Berlin, o.J., ISBN 978-3-86557-301-8

28. Rainer Sprehe: Alles Rower? Ein Wessi auf Friedensfahrt. Covadonga-Verlag, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-936973-70-9


  • Kopfsteinpflaster und Asphalt. Radio-Feature des MDR. 1 CD. Pool Music und Media, 1998, 4260031180232.
  • Hagen Boßdorf: Geschichte der Friedensfahrt. VHS-Video. 1997, ISBN 3-328-00770-9.
  • Friedensfahrt Course de la Paix 1978, Dokumentation des WDR, Köln, 1978
  • Damals in der DDR. 3 CDs, 2001, BMG 743218855023.