On July 10, Budapest celebrated the beginning of the 2021/22 Hungarian V4 Presidency as well as the start of the 8th Visegrad 4 Bicycle Race in Hungary, with a public festival at the Castle Garden Bazaar (Várkert Bazár).

Attended by sports fans, families, and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, the event – organised by the Hungarian Tourism Agency – featured cultural, sport and gastronomical programmes. At the ceremonial start of the bicycle race at 13.00, participants were greeted by Tamás Menczer, state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Princzinger, president of the Hungarian Cycling Federation, and Attila Valter, winner of Tour de Hongrie in 2020.

Some 160 racers from 27 teams competed over a 157.3 km-long distance between Várkert Bazár in Budapest and Pannonhalma in western Hungary, both World Heritage Sites. Michal Schlegel, from Czechia, won the race with 3:45:42; Viktor Potočki from Croatia was second, and Viktor Filutás from the host country, Hungary, was third.

Organised annually since 2013 with individual sections in all four Visegrad countries, the V4 Bicycle Race (UCI 1.2 level) is one of the oldest and most popular V4 civil society initiatives. The race symbolises the Visegrad Group’s dynamism as well as the friendly relations between the four countries’ societies. It is supported by the Visegrad Fund, the V4 countries’ joint institution that has financed thousands of joint grant projects, scholarships and artist residencies in and around the Visegrad region since its establishment in 2000.

As the first major public V4 event in Budapest after the COVID restrictions, the race and the accompanying festival conveyed a message of reopening, a key priority of the Hungarian V4 Presidency.

See Gallery for photos of the opening event and bicycle race.