The Czech cross country skier Katerina Neummanova has won her fourth World Cup race in seven starts, coming first in the 10 kilometre classic in Umea, Sweden on Saturday. Speaking after the 11th World Cup triumph of her career, Neumannova said she had not had high expectations when she arrived in Sweden.
"When I came to Umea for the race I wasn't too happy at all. I had been looking forward to the cool Scandinavian weather, but it was four degrees above zero and there was water flowing everywhere. It didn't look at all like it would be a good race, and I certainly didn't imagine I'd win."
It was almost an historic day for Czech skiing on Saturday, when three hours after Katerina Neumannova's win Lukas Bauer was on course for victory in the men's 15 kilometre classic. With a 20-second lead, Bauer made a dreadful mistake, starting on another lap instead of turning towards the finish line! When he realised his error the Czech skier made for the finish and did cross the line first. However, he was subsequently disqualified for not returning to the correct "corridor".
Both Sparta Prague and Teplice would have hoped for better league results as they prepared for big European games this week. Sparta, who play host to holders AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday, were lucky to even take a point from their home game against Pribram on Saturday; Pribram were denied a clear penalty in the first half and later hit the post during time added on. Teplice, meanwhile, drew 0:0 against Olomouc, extending their run of games without a win to nine. They play Glasgow Celtic away in the first round of their UEFA Cup tie on Thursday. Back in the Czech league, Slavia are now level on points with Sparta after beating Zlin 2:1. Both Prague clubs are trailing leaders Banik Ostrava, who have a game in hand, by six points.
The former Czech international Patrik Berger, who has been dogged by injury in recent years, underwent a knee operation in the United States last week and will miss the rest of this season.
The Czech Extraliga is hotting up as the play-offs approach: Pilsen, who were in tenth before the weekend, beat both Karlovy Vary and Vsetin to advance to the crucial eighth place. Kladno, meanwhile, fell to ninth place after losing to Vitkovice. There are just two rounds of the regular season left.
Czech national team coach Slavomir Lener brought some interesting news back from a scouting visit to North America ahead of April's Ice Hockey World Championships: legendary goalie Dominik Hasek, currently out with a groin injury, has expressed interest in playing in the championships, two years after retiring from international hockey. Several other Czech stars addressed by Lener also said they might accept a call-up, among them Robert Lang, who currently leads the NHL points table.