In Sports News this Monday: Zdeněk Štybar becomes the first Czech ever to win the World Cup in Cyclo-cross; Kateřina Novotná takes the all-round title at the European Short Course Championships for the first time in her career; and the Czech team for next month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver is the biggest ever.
Zdeněk Štybar has become the first Czech ever to win the World Cup in Cyclo-cross, a form of terrain cycling in which riders regularly dismount to carry their bike over obstacles. Going into Sunday’s final race of nine, Štybar knew exactly what was required of him: second place in Hoogerheide in the Netherlands would be enough to secure overall victory in the competition. And second, behind Belgium’s Niels Albert, is where the 24-year-old finished, after employing perfect tactics to secure an historic victory.
“Finishing in second place, or at worst second place, was very difficult, given the competition. Albert rode an excellent race and it was extremely hard. I went all out and couldn’t have given even half a percent more. From the start of the race to the last metre I fought to stay in second. Fortunately it worked out, but it was the hardest race of my career.”
Next weekend Zdeněk Štybar will be in action rather closer to home, when the Cyclo-cross World Championships are held in the central Bohemian town of Tabor.
Štybar he wasn’t the only Czech to notch up a significant victory on Sunday, as speed skater Kateřina Novotná won the all-round title at the European Short Course Championships in Dresden. Victories in the 1000 m and 3000 m on the final day left Novotná three points ahead of her nearest rival, Arianna Fontana of Italy. It was a slim margin, but enough to secure her first ever European Championships all-round gold.
“The last day is definitely the most important, because that’s when the two finals are. Thanks to the fact that Fontana wasn’t in the final it made it possible for me to catch up with her. That gave me a chance, and in the end it was decided in the super-final. It went well for me, I was feeling good physically – everything was just right.”
With a little over two weeks go to before the Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver, a Czech team with a record 88 members has been named for the Games. The Czech Republic took four medals in Turin in 2006. So how many would the secretary general of the Czech Olympic Committee Petr Hrubec regard as satisfactory this time out?
“You can read in the newspapers that we could gain seven or eight medals. But to be realistic, we are looking to have something like in Turin. And if we get one more medal, that would be great.”
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