In Sports News this Monday: Mountain biker Kulhavý completes unique hat-trick in Marathon World Championships; Kreuziger to miss Tour de France over irregularities in biological passport; Štybar becomes national mass start road race champion; hurdler Hejnová delays return; and Vydra returns to Watford.
Czech mountain biker Jaroslav Kulhavý has come first in the sport’s Marathon World Championships in South Africa’s Pietermaritzburg. The 29-year-old is the reigning Olympic champion after triumphing in the men’s cross country in London two years ago and has also won the Mountain Bike World Championships; his latest success makes him the first rider ever to achieve a hat-trick of all three titles.
In Sunday’s 95km race Kulhavý finished ahead of Austria’s Alban Lakata and third-placed Christoph Sauser of Switzerland, the favourite. And the Czech was overjoyed by his latest success – which he had not expected to achieve so early in his career.
“My motivation was great, even though I have quite a bit of time for the marathon: for example, Christoph Sauser, who has won the Marathon World Championships several times is now 38 years old, nearly 10 years older than me – so there’s more time for me to do well in long-distance races. All in all, the circuit was good for me and I’m glad I took advantage of it and took the title; you never know what tomorrow brings and it might never have happened.”
Jaroslav Kulhavý wasn’t the only Czech to do well in Pietermaritzburg: current European champion Tereza Huříková took bronze in the women’s race.
Roman Kreuziger is the most successful Czech road racer ever but at present the man from Moravská Třebová is in hot water. The 28-year-old faces disciplinary proceedings from the Union Cycliste Internationale after irregularities dating from 2011 and 2012 were found in his biological passport. Though the management of his Tinkoff-Saxo team say they back him fully, they have sidelined the Czech and he will not support Alberto Contador in the Tour de France, which begins on Saturday. For his part, Kreuziger has issued a press release denying taking any forbidden substances or using any forbidden methods.
Cyclist Zdeněk Štybar has become the Czech national mass start road race champion. A former cyclo-cross world champion who now competes in both disciplines, Štybar was first over the line in the 192km race in the area around Slavkov near Brno on Sunday.
The world champion in the women’s 400m hurdles, Zuzana Hejnová, has had to delay her comeback after breaking a metatarsal. The athlete had hoped to compete for the first time this year in June but the return of an old heel injury means Hejnová is now setting her sights on a Diamond League meeting in Monaco in mid-July.
Czech international soccer striker Matěj Vydra is returning to English Championship club Watford for a second loan spell. The 22-year-old, who is owned by Italy’s Udinese, was voted the Championship’s player of the season while at Watford in 2013 before a less successful stint last term with West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.