World Cup #1 – Plzen

Sunshine isn’t normally the dominant weather at cyclo-cross races, but that was the case on Sunday, at the first round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Plzen, Czech Republic. It was another great weekend with brilliant racing, though it wasn’t without controversy.

The elite men lined up for the start and the ‘start in a minute’ signal was given, but a camera operator and a photographer stayed behind the start line, filming/photographing former World Champ Niels Albert. Looking back to the race, it looked like it was the pre-race introduction of the riders but suddenly you see Albert shouting angrily – for some reason, no one told the camera guy to get off the course. That was the first interesting thing, he was very upset quite understandably and a couple of minutes later it turned out that the race officials weren’t going to call the race off and have another, fair start. Even eventual winner Sven Nys mentioned later at the post-race press conference that when the same thing happened to him a couple of years back in Pijnacker, the race stopped, they were lined up again at the start line and off they went – not this time.
Albert tried hard but couldn’t really get in touch with the front group that consisted of the usual suspects: Nys, Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout. They battled for the podium positions and in the final corner Nys had 20cm advantage over Styby and that proved to be enough to beat him in the slightly uphill finish.

It was a good weekend with great racing and even better weather which is supposed to hold out for the Tabor round of the World Cup. See you on Sunday!

<- Click on the left for the photos

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