Australia’s Wollongong hosts the road cycling world championships from Sunday. The championship program begins with a 34-kilometer time trial on Sunday. The World Cycling Championships will culminate on Sunday, September 25 with the men’s 267-kilometer road race.
A fifteen-member team of Czech representatives traveled to the venue of the championship, which is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean approximately one hundred kilometers from Sydney, on Tuesday evening.
Coach René Andrle does not want to promise medals in advance, but in some categories, according to him, Czech cycling will have the highest ambitions.
“I think we have a very balanced team and we can think of success in almost all categories,” Andrle said on the cycling association’s website.
The national team coach sees great potential in the juniors and in the U23 category. “Among the juniors, we have an incredibly strong team for the road race, Telecký and Novák are also excellent time trialists. At twenty-three, Vacek is one of the big favorites in the time trial, and we can play it in the road race in just a few cards. If there was a sprint, Bittner has the best chance, but we’ll see how the race develops.” Andrle stated.
Hirt could be the dark horse of the championship
The coach also believes in Štybar, who has not had an easy season. He struggled with his form all year, but now, according to Andrle, he is incredibly motivated. “He prepared honestly for the championship. He still doesn’t have a contract for next year and wants to show himself in the best light. He will certainly fit the heavy classical circuit. He should be our leader in Australia,” Andrle said to Stybar.
Michael Kukrle and Jan Hirt, who are also experienced fighters, will complement our number one on the counter-legs. Hirt’s great performances at this year’s Giro are promising. He rode for his first stage victory on the Grand Tour at this event and finished in an excellent sixth place in the overall standings. He was only fourteen seconds short of placing among the elite five.
“Hirt could be the dark horse of the race, given what he performed at the Giro. Above all, Kukrle should help,” said the coach of the national team on Czech Radio. “We’re a bit limited by only fielding three people, but an elite road race is always a lottery and anything can happen,” he added.
Any top ten finish will be an achievement
Among the women, Tereza Neumanová is number one, who rode as the general women’s Vuelta before the World Championships and flashed seventh place in the last stage.
Alongside her, the highly experienced Kateřina Nash, who in the past has achieved success mainly as a biker and cyclocross rider, will start. The native of Prachatic was already considering the end of her racing career, but lately she has been taking part in gravel races and training on the road in the USA, where she also lives.
According to Andrle, medal positions are not unrealistic. However, there are very specific races at the World Championship, and every result up to tenth place is said to be personally considered a success.
“The championship is held in Australia and it depends on how well someone can acclimatise. It may suit some, but not others. We can’t estimate this right now, but I believe everyone will be able to do it,” the optimistic Andrle looks forward to the World Cup.
Resources: Czech Cycling Association, Czech Radio