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Jun 17 2021

ALLIED cyclists to cover over 1,000 km in week-long Estonia tour

SZCZECIN, Poland - Personnel based in Estonia with the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group and other formations are embarking on NATO Velo, a thousand-plus-kilometer bike ride around Estonia, starting on 17 June.

The tour, dubbed NATO Velo, is the second of its kind, following last year's inaugural event. "NATO Velo 2020 was a great success, and we hope to repeat that success this summer," said COL Dai Bevan, Commander eFP Estonia.

Whereas last year's event took place in August, this year it has been brought forward to June, and will also coincide with the Victory Day (Võidupüha) ceremonies, centered this year on Paide, on June 23. "This time, we will have participants from many of the allied nations that make up the NATO battlegroups in Poland and the Baltic states, as well as soldiers and officers from Estonia and the other nations in this region," COL Bevan continued.

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NATO Velo 2021 programme
With this wide participation, NATO Velo 2021 will prove a powerful demonstration of NATO's commitment to this region, and a show of unity and spirit of cooperation between those nations. The extra bonus is that the bicycling tour gives us the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Estonian countryside and visit some of the towns and cities in Estonia, the Colonel summarized.

Around 50 officers and other ranks are to take part this year, with a total of up to 10 Allied nations represented. The entire tour lasts seven days, starting in Tallinn Thursday and making its way from there eastwards towards Rakvere, then south to Tartu, before turning to the southwest, and Pärnu. The route continues in a northerly direction, to Haapsalu, before the penultimate stage and Paide, in central Estonia.
Following the Victory Day events, the cyclists have one more leg to finish – Paide to Tallinn – and will have covered close to 1,000 km all told.

While in Pärnu (June 20) and Paide (June 23), the cyclists will host "meet the soldiers" events, where members of the public will get to see both personnel and materiel, ranging from small arms to armored vehicles, and will have the opportunity to learn more about eFP, its role in Estonia and NATO in a wider perspective.

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A British service member of eFP Estonia and an Estonian boy during a static display on NATO Velo 2020 tour, August 2020 / Photo by eFP Estonia.
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Participants at the start line of NATO Velo 2021 in Tallinn, 17 June 2021 / Photo by eFP Estonia

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office, courtesy of ERR.ee

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