By Steve Medcroft
Besides the fact that it is comprised of a set of cyclocross races, what do the Georgia, USA and World Cup Cyclocross series have in common? Both have unsponsored Czech riders named Dlask tearing up the top of the standings.
In World Cup, Petr Dlask gave Bart Wellens and Sven Nys a run for their money in Tabor, Czech Republic at World Cup stop number one. Dlask teamed up early with countryman and previous Tabor winner Kamil Ausbuher to set a pace so aggressive Nys said, "I won't be good for a few hours after this," at the end of the race.
In the US, Dlask's younger brother Ondrej is giving 2004 Georgia Cyclocross series winner Jed Schneider a challenge; the pair have traded wins in the first two races of the series. Dlask took the second race, held in Macon.
"The racing here is different here," Ondrej Dlask said on Thursday. "Much different than the UCI races in the Czech Republic or Belgium." The terrain is different for sure but Dlask also says that absent the intensity of the pressures of World Cup competition, the approach a racer can take to competing is different in the U.S. "Here, you can ride just for fun," he says. "I'm working during the week and I don't have the time to train to ride as much as I want so it's not so serious."
Dlask says he's in the U.S. on a vacation that never ended. "I just came for a few weeks with my friends at first. I liked it so I stayed one more week. Then a month. Then more." So long, Dlask, who has settled with a girlfriend and works full time in the States, says that he was surprised to look at his original return ticket and see that he's five years late for the flight.
As for racing, Dlask says that we shouldn't be surprised that both he and his brother are competitive riders. "Petr is my older brother. He was born in 1976; he's two years older than me. "When we were kids, we rode every day together. We'd wake up at 7 or 8 and would meet a group of people in the middle of town who would ride together all day."
The two brothers chose different paths as they reached maturity though. "We are different. He has always had just the bike. When I was still thinking about parties and beers and friends, his mind was totally on the bike. He doesn't care about anything else but his training." As for what is the key to brother Petr's success in World Cup ‘cross this year, Ondrej says "He is training and he has been patient and he's having a really smooth run."
Ondrej Dlask says that although he sees how privileged the life of a professional cyclist is, he is realistic in knowing that although he will "ride the bike forever" he'll probably remain an amateur. Dlask says he plans to remain in the U.S. at least one more year.
Four races have been completed in the Georgia Cyclocross Series. The remaining races are:
- 11-06-05 #4 Augusta
- 11-13-05 #5 Marietta
- 11-19-05 #6 Hendersonville, NC UCI Race
- 11-20-05 #7 Hendersonville, NC UCI Race
- 11-27-05 #8 Covington
- 12-03-05 #9 Monroe State Championships
- 12-04-05 #10 Athens Series Finale