In Sports News this week: Roman Kreuziger’s outlooks in Tour de France uncertain; in superbikes, bad luck streak continues for Jakub Smrž at the world Superbike championship event in Brno; Czech football champions Viktoria Plzeň begin their bid to reach Champions League; and Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitová receives a queen’s welcome in her home town.
Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger’s outlooks in this year’s Tour de France are uncertain, following a wrist injury he suffered in the Tour’s seventh stage on Friday. Some 50 km before the finish, the 25-year-old Astana rider got involved in a mass crash and although he managed to finish the stage in 149th position, his swollen wrist made it difficult for him to steer his bike properly. In Sunday’s ninth stage, Kreuziger finished 120th, and in 113th overall position loses over 40 minutes to the leader, Thomas Voekler from France. Roman Kreuziger said he was going to consult his doctors over his injury on Monday, a day of rest at Tour de France. But even if he continues, the Czech rider lost practically any chance of finishing within the top ten riders overall, a standing he achieved in the previous two Tours.
A streak of bad luck continued for Czech rider Jakub Smrž at Brno’s round of the World Superbike Championships over the weekend. In Sunday’s race one, Smrž had a good start but his Ducati did not do well on the hot track, and he finished 11th. In Sunday’s second race, the Czech rider fell in the 13th lap and did not finish. The 28-year-old member of the Czech-Italian team Liberty Racing now ranks 12th in the championship’s overall standings. Brno was never his favourite circuit although he did well in Friday’s qualification in which he finished 5th. After the race, Jakub Smrž was sorry things did not work out better.
“Friday and Saturday was really great, but today we did what we could. I made some mistakes but there was also a problem with engine settings. The heat was also not good for us at all; in fact the bike lost some of its power because of it.”
Turning to football now, where Czech champions Viktoria Plzeň begin its bid to reach the Champion League. The first-time Czech league winners left on Monday for the Armenian capital of Yerevan where they’ll face the local champions, Pyunik, in the first leg of the Champions League’s second qualifying round. The Czech side did not know much about their opponents but Plzeň captain Pavel Horváth said the weather forecast was favourable for the Czechs.
“In my experience, it’s always better to start with the away game. From what I saw on the internet, it should be 33 degrees Celsius there with rain, which I hope could be an advantage for us”.
The second leg is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, in Plzeň. However, Viktoria’s stadium is undergoing a major renovation which means only the arena’s main stand will be open for fans.
And finally, Czech Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová was given a queen’s welcome in her home town of Fulnek, in the north-east of the country, on Friday. After meeting with Czech President Václav Klaus, himself a big tennis fan, the 21-year-old rising star arrived on the main square of her home town in a white convertible to the cheers of some 1,500 hundred people. Ascending a stage erected in front of the town hall, Petra Kvitová was greeted by church bells and given the freedom of the city, as the second person in the town’s history after the 17th century educator Jan Ámos Komenský. The Wimbledon champion spoke to Czech Radio.
“Next week, I’ll be going to the Tatra mountains for some fitness training, so I won’t be getting much rest. But I’ve been doing fine although all the celebrations are exhausting. I would rather play tennis, but it’s the price of success, and I accept it as such.”
Following her Wimbledon win, Petra Kvitová has moved up one position to reach the 7th place in the WTA rankings, the highest she has ever been in the course of her career.
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