In Sports News: Kreuziger suffers worst Tour de France in otherwise impressive career; motorcyclist Abraham finishes outside the top ten in US MotoGP; Jablonec notch four goals in pre-season football match; Lukáš Jarolím to captain Slavia Prague; Chelsea and Petr Čech win in Thailand.
This year’s Tour de France, which was won by Australian rider Cadel Evans, was the worst by far for Czech hopeful Roman Kreuziger, who races for Team Astana. After finishing ninth in the overall standings in 2010 and 2009 (and 13th before that) Kreuziger completed this year’s race in 112th spot out of a remaining 167 riders. Falls in the first week crippled the racer’s chances; in the second and third he preserved his strength for strong individual stage finishes but there too failed to persevere.
Team Astana members were originally to help the Kazakhstani team leader Alexander Vinokourov gain a shot at the title; he, however, went out in Stage 8 after suffering a crash and nasty femur break. The racer later announced his retirement from cycling. While Kreuziger can’t exactly be happy with this year’s Tour, he told journalists he would learn from the experience; the Tour de France remains one of the most gruelling competitions in the world: the 2011 edition saw riders cover 3,430.5 kilometres, ending on the traditional Champs-d’Elysees in Paris on Sunday.
Czech rookie motorcycle racer Karel Abraham at the weekend finished just outside of the top 10, at eleventh spot, in his premiere in the US Grand Prix. Abraham, on his Ducati, started from 13th position and moved up to 10th until the final stages, where he was edged by Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama, who beat him by the slimmest of margins. The latest finish leaves Abraham 12th in the overall standings with 46 points. Sunday’s race in California was won by Australian MotoGP racer Casey Stoner.
Czech football club Jablonec got off to a good start in its pre-season preparation at the weekend, when it downed second division club Vlašim by a score of 4:1. Lafata scored two in the game. In other pre-season matches, České Budějovice defeated Jihlava B, and Hradec Králové won over Bohemians. The 2011/12 football season begins on July 30.
In other football news, fellow players from Slavia Prague have nominated midfielder Lukáš Jarolím to be the next team captain, replacing Karol Kisel who has returned to play in Australia. The club’s coach Michal Petrouš backed Jarolím for the post, expressing confidence he would do well. Slavia have been training in Italy, playing matches against teams like Lazio and Parma. Last season the club which was in danger of being relegated to the third division over financial problems, finished 9th overall.
Star goalkeeper Petr Čech has returned from a minor injury and helped his club Chelsea earn a 4:0 win in Thailand in a preparation match against players from the Thai top division. The Czech goalie only played the match’s opening 45 minutes; in the second half fellow teammate Hilario took over. The Czech national squad will be pleased that Čech is back in action: the Czech team is scheduled to play a friendly against Norway on August 10th.
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