Illustration photo – Zdeněk Štybar at the Olympic road race in Japan on July 24, 2021.
Prague – More than thirty Czech representatives should be present at the European road cycling championships, which will take place from September 20 to 24 in the Dutch province of Drenthe. The composition of the Czech team is not yet final, national team coach René Andrle is still looking for ways to supplement the temporary duo of Mathias Vacek and Matěj Zahálka in the elite men's category. The start of seasoned Zdenek Štybar is also not ruled out. The union informed about it in a press release.
The nomination of the men's team underwent several forced changes at the last minute due to the health status or team interests of some competitors, so only two names are currently certain. However, this number should increase. And Štybar is also in the game, even though he has been sick for the last few days. “We are waiting for his final verdict on how he will feel,” said Andrle.
The definitive form of the nomination should be clear in the coming days. “We are also in contact with Michal Schlegle, who is riding the Vuelta. We will see in what condition he finishes it. In any case, we want the men's road race to be run with a maximum number of six people. We deal with it every day, but it is not easy because some competitors do not want to release their teams and others don't feel ready to start the championship in this period,” explained Andrle.
Such are the reasons for non-participation, for example, of Pavel Bittner, a member of the DSM worldtour team. At the same time, Bittner would be among the contenders for the podium when starting in the top 23.
“He has a different program with his team and he did not want to start in Europe,” Andrle said. “Still, mainly in the youth categories, we have a number of people who can think high. Whether it's junior Král or Kvasničková and Kopecky in the women's 23 race. I believe that from the overall point of view it will be a better performance than at the World Championships,” wished Andrle.
As soon as it is possible to put together a lineup for the men's elite, the Czechs will have almost the maximum possible representation in each category. “I don't want to promise ahead of time that we are going for several medals, because Europe at this time towards the end of the season is a bit unpredictable, but we will fight. We certainly have a few candidates for a top position,” Andrle declared.
Among them will be the talent of Vacek. The rider of the elite Lidl-Trek team will run a road race and a time trial. “The World Championship didn't quite suit him, and I hope that it will be better now. The road race ends on a technical circuit, which can also be affected by the wind, but Vack should be fine,” believes Andrle.
Nominations of Czech cyclists at the EC in the Netherlands:
Men – elite: Mathias Vacek (time trial and road race), Matěj Zahálka (road race).
Women – elite: Denisa Slámová (time trial), Nikola Bajgerová, Jarmila Machačová, Tereza Neumanová (all road races).
Men under 23: Karel Camrda, Milan Kadlec, Matyáš Kopecký, Daniel Mráz, Tomáš Přidal, Jakub Ťoupalík (all road race).
Women under 23: Kristýna Burlová, Eliška Kvasničková (both time trial and road race) , Julia Kopecky, Barbora Němcová, Nela Slaníková (all road races).
Juniors: Kryštof Král, Pavel Šumpík (both time trial and road race), Martin Bárta, Jan Podařil, Daniel Rubeš, Štěpán Zahálka (all road race).
Junior women: Kateřina Douděrová, Nela Kaňkovská (both time trial and road race), Iva Kovaříková, Adéla Marková, Patricie Müllerová (all road race).