There has been some confusion surrounding the Tour de Ski in cross country skiing, the fourth stage of which was held in the Czech Republic’s Nové Město na Moravě on New Year’s Day. The Czech skiers Lukáš Bauer and Martin Koukal finished in first and second place respectively, with reports in the media that this was a historic first for Czech skiing. But then it emerged on Wednesday that while Bauer had crossed the line first, he was not the winner, because he had a head start following what is called the “prologue” of the race. The same applies for the second stage of the Tour de Ski, which Lukáš Bauer was also wrongly believed to have won. To add to the skier’s woes, since it emerged that he had received prize money in contravention of the rules of the International Ski Federation he has been ordered to return the cash. This has been a very murky affair indeed, and questions will surely be asked about how it came about.
On Sunday Bauer and Co. had been in action at Prague Castle of all places; it was temporarily covered in snow for a sprint event, with hundreds turning out to support the home skiers, among them President Václav Klaus. But that race was not without controversy either, the coach of the German team describing the Hradčany event as a “joke”.
Czech skiing fans have another event to look forward to next weekend, this time in downhill, when the World Cup comes to Špindlerův Mlýn. But they may not get to see the Czech slalom world champion Šárka Záhrobská. Záhrobská was injured during a ceremony in which one of the resort’s six slopes was named after her; a shard of glass from a bottle of champagne narrowly missed her eye, but the 22-year-old did need stitches and her trainer father says she may not be fit to compete at the weekend.
The young Czech ski-jumper Roman Koudelka is having a great season, and has given Czech fans a new hero following the demise in form of Jakub Janda. Koudelka, who is still only 18, finished fourth in the second event of the Four Hills tournament in Germany’s Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day. It was the third time Koudelka has come fourth this season.
The young Czech striker Martin Fenin has left the Czech football club Teplice for the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt. Fenin was one of the stars of the Czech team which reached the final of last summer’s Under 20 World Cup and later made three appearances as a full international. A couple of his more experienced national team colleagues could also be on the move now the transfer window is open, with Jan Koller perhaps the closest to a transfer. There is speculation the giant striker will leave Monaco for Nuremberg, where he would be in the company of compatriots Tomáš Galásek and Jaromír Blažek.
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