In Sports News this Monday: first place in Estonia’s Otepaa represents a double hat-trick for cross country skier Lukáš Bauer; Šárka Záhrobská admits to lacking “zest” after another off-the-pace finish in the slalom World Cup; Czech ice hockey captain Patrik Eliáš is knocked unconscious during an NHL game; and Czech men’s number one Radek Štěpánek exits the Australian Open in the first round.
The Czech Republic’s leading cross country skier Lukáš Bauer celebrated a double hat-trick on Saturday: he won the 15 km classic in the World Cup at Otepaa in Estonia for the third year in succession – and made it three first place finishes in a row in all races. The 15 km classic is not among the events at next month’s Winter Olympics, but Czech sports fans will be hoping the 32-year-old can make his current excellent form pay in the 15 km free in Vancouver. Coach Miroslav Petrásek had this to say after Bauer’s latest success.
“Again Lukáš put in an excellent performance here. He confirmed what he showed at the Tour de Ski – that he is very well prepared. From the second round it was only a question of how much Lukáš would win by…Now I hope he can deal with a few small problems so that he’ll be able to fly to Canada on the 20th for training.”
Bauer is heading to Canada on Wednesday and will skip the next two cross country World Cup weekends, after making success at the Olympics his top priority this season.
The Czech Republic’s Šárka Záhrobská has told reporters she is lacking “zest”, after a ninth place finish in a slalom World Cup event in Slovenia’s Maribor on Sunday, her worst result so far this year. Indeed, since winning at Aspen in November, Záhrobská hasn’t even come close to a place on the podium. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old says there is plenty of time left to train and improve before the Winter Olympics, adding that she would be happy with any medal whatsoever from Vancouver.
The Czech ice hockey captain for the Olympics, Patrik Eliáš, was stretchered off during a game between his New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Eliáš was unconscious for some minutes after a hit in the chin from Colorado’s Ryan Wilson. Fortunately, tests on the Czech captain were clear and he told reporters he should be back on the ice in a few days. Patrik Eliáš experienced disappointment at the last Winter Olympics in Turin, when he suffered a rib injury in the Czech Republic’s opening game and had to go home early.
The Czech Republic’s men’s number one Radek Štěpánek was knocked out in the very first round of tennis’s Australian Open. Štěpánek, who just days ago was telling reporters he wanted to get past the quarter-finals in a Grand Slam for the first time, was beaten 6-2 6-7 4-6 6-3 4-6 by Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.
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