In Sports News this Monday: Czech rider König wins admirers on climb to eighth overall in Tour de France – former national champion Benčík tips him to join top team; Špotáková makes it three out of three Diamond League wins; Sparta send weakened squad to Tallinn for Champions League qualifier; and Ostrava “ultras” to stay away from home games.
The Czech rider Leopold König has been winning admirers at the Tour de France. The NetApp-Endura team leader, who is 26, is eighth overall in the world’s most famous cycling race with six stages to go. Climber König has been particularly successful in the Tour’s Alpine stages, coming third in Chamrousse and ninth in Rissoul. As he pointed out before Monday’s rest day, only overall leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy outdid him in the Alps.
“If it was the Tour de Alps, not the Tour de France I’d actually be second or third – which would be pretty good! I was comfortable in the Alps, and only Nibali was ahead of me overall. So I will go into the Pyrenees with greater confidence – I’m looking forward to them.”
König’s Germany-based NetApp team only got into the Tour de France as a wild card entry and many believe it won’t be long before the Czech cyclist – who also won a stage and came ninth in Vuelta last year – is snapped up by a more prestigious stable. Among them is former Czech national champion Petr Benčík.
“A great performance, just like in Vuelta. Before the Tour de France I tipped König to come eighth and I still believe that he will do so, even though he hit a few holes at the start. His performance has been absolutely super and I think he’s definitely staked a claim for a place in one of the top teams.”
Czech javelin star Barbora Špotáková has continued her perfect comeback after maternity leave. The Olympic champion topped the podium at a Diamond League meeting in Monaco on Friday, her third triumph in the competition in a row. Meanwhile, world champion Zuzana Hejnová came eighth in the 400m hurdles in Monaco on her return from injury.
Sparta Prague have left several key players at home ahead of the second leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie with Levadia Tallinn on Tuesday. The Czech title holders can afford to do so, after a 7:0 demolition of the Estonians in Prague last week in which captain David Lafata found the net five times. Sparta are set to face either Malmo of Sweden or Latvian outfit Ventspils in the next round.
Baník Ostrava’s home games look like being relatively quiet next season. The club rejected a call from hard-core supporters to reduce the amount of data spectators have to provide for fan registration cards so the “ultras” have decided to stay away from Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium.