In Sports News: Martina Sáblíková is crowned the women’s European Speed Skating Champion for 2011; cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer clinches the bronze medal in this year’s Tour de Ski; Zdeněk Štybar wins the Czech championship in Cyclo cross for the fifth time; Czech Tatra truck racer Aleš Loprais clinched his second stage win in this year’s Dakar Rally; Sparta stumble again in the domestic hockey league.
Martina Sáblíková has been crowned the women’s European Speed Skating Champion for 2011, winning two of four events at the championship at Collalbo, Italy at the weekend. The phenomenal Czech racer – who won two gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver last year, dominated in the Ladies’ 3,000 and 5,000 metres. Both times beating Ireen Wust of the Netherlands – in the later race by more than 10 seconds. Sáblíková won the European Championship for the second time in a row and for the third time in her career; she won her first title back in 2007, also in Collalbo.
In other winter sport, cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer on Sunday clinched the bronze medal in this year’s Tour de Ski, coming first in the final race – the men’s 10 kilometre – in Val de Fiemme on Sunday. His time was 30 minutes 28.3 seconds. After the final event, here’s what Bauer had to say:
“As the defending champion of last year’s Tour, I didn’t want to lower my expectations. In the final race when I glanced back and saw that they could no longer catch me, I felt a bit of satisfaction. This was the toughest of the four Tours I have taken part in and after all the difficulties – and with a little luck - I was able to finish third.”
The final stage win moved him from tenth just a day earlier, a phenomenal comeback proving once again that Bauer does well when the chips are down. Fellow Czech racer Martin Jakš finished eighth overall in the Tour. The top medal went to Swiss racer Dario Cologna.
The defending World Cyclo-cross champion Zdeněk Štybar won the Czech championship for the fifth time on Saturday, almost a minute ahead of nearest rival Martin Zlámalík in the race, which was held in the Hlinsko area. Jaroslav Kulhavý finished in third place. The championship race on Saturday was the 60th in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Štybar’s record of five wins ties that of Petr Dlask; the all-time record of seven wins belongs to Radomír Šimůnek, who passed away last year.
Czech Tatra truck racer Aleš Loprais clinched his second stage victory in the Dakar Rally underway in South America. In the seventh stage he finished ahead of Russian competitors Kabirov and Chagin. Kabirov leads overall, Chagin is second but only two seconds ahead of Loprais’s team. Loprais was understandably pleased with the win but cautious:
“It’s true that we’ve got more than half the race behind us but we know that anything can happen. We’ve seen it: even those ahead that broke down... so anything can happen at any second. But of course we are happy with the stage win and pleased we made things tougher for the Russians.”
In the top Czech domestic hockey league Sparta Prague have continued to struggle, losing in a penalty shootout to Karlovy Vary. The team is in 12th spot in the overall standings, only ahead of lowly Kladno and Mladá Boleslav. České Budějovice downed Liberec 4:0, Třinec crushed league-leaders Vítkovice 6:1 and Pardubice defeated Mladá Boleslav in a spectacle of goals 8:6. In other action, Kometa Brno, in 9th place blasted a cannonade of shots against 6th place Slavia, but goalie Miroslav Kopřiva was up to the task: Slavia were able to take the game by a score of 4:1.
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