In Sports News this Monday: Zdeněk Štybar defends his world cyclo-cross tite; Tomáš Verner takes bronze at the European Figure Skating Championships; in tennis, Jiří Veselý wins the junior boys’ singles at the Australian Open, and in football, Sparta’s Ivory Coast striker Bony Wilfried joins the Dutch club Arnhem.
Zdeněk Štybar won the cyclocross World Championships in St. Welden, Germany, on Sunday, and grabbed his second men’s elite title in a row. The Czech racer won the event in grand style; he maintained a place in the leading pack until half-way through the race. In the fifth lap the Czech managed to break away, with Sven Nys from Belgium being the only one who could keep up. Two laps later, Štybar attacked again and built up a lead of some 19 seconds which he conserved until the finish. After the race, the two-time world champion had this to say.
“In the beginning, it was not going very well for me, I didn’t know what to expect and how my legs would do. But when I sped up I suddenly saw there were fewer people in the leading group so that was a good message for me. I didn’t know what shape Sven Nys was in, and when I tested him, I was suddenly on my own.”
Štybar, who recently joined the Belgian cycling Team Quick Step, said he was planning to stay in cyclocross for another season or two before moving completely onto the road.
In the women’s elite race, Kateřina Nash took bronze, and so did Karel Hník in the under-23 category.
In figure skating, Tomáš Verner took the bronze medal at the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, on Saturday. The 24-year-old, who won gold at the same event three years ago, ranked fifth after his short programme. But he then received the second highest marks for free skating which earned him the third place overall.
“I’m not happy about the third place, I’m really not. I made several mistakes and I lost by a few points to Amodio who is in top form right now. But I made serious mistakes, I fell in the short programme, I also jumped a double Lutz and the triple Axel was not good, either, there was no triple combination. So I’m not really satisfied.”
Another Czech, Michal Březina, was second after his short programme but fell twice in the finals and ended eighth.
Czech tennis player Jiří Veselý triumphed at Australian Open’s junior boys’ singles and doubles over the weekend. The 17-year-old Veselý, with Slovakia’s Filip Horanský, initially took the doubles title after they beat the Australian pair Wagland, Whittington 6:4, 6:4 on Friday. A day later, the top-seeded Czech also won the crown in singles when he crushed the Australian Luke Saville 6:0, 6:3. Veselý bagged the first set in just 31 minutes; he was losing 3:1 in the second but then took five games in a row to claim the title. He later told Czech radio he must have been distracted by the trophy that was on display by the court.
“To be honest, I only saw the trophy some five days into the tournament. But then I started thinking that I could actually win it, which made me lose focus, and I got a little nervous. But I got back and concentrated on my game again.”
Jiří Veselý is the first Czech junior to win the Australian Open. Both Czech hopefuls in men’s and women’s singles, sixth-seed Tomáš Berdych and Petra Kvitová, seeded 25th, were knocked out of the quarterfinals.
And finally, the reigning Czech football champions, Sparta Prague, have finalized two big transfers. On Sunday, club management announced Sparta had reached a deal to sell the Ivory Coast striker, Bony Wilfried to the Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem. The 22-year-old forward, who scored 17 goals for Sparta this season, is yet to undergo medical tests in Arnhem on Monday before the transfer is signed. The Czech side will receive an estimated 100 million crowns, or over 5.6 million US dollars.
To fill the gap, Sparta Prague has signed on the Croatian forward Andrej Kerič from the Czech top division club Liberec. Sparta will pay 1.5 million crowns for the 24-year-old Croatian, who scored 32 goals in the top Czech division since he arrived in Liberec three years ago.
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