By Jean-François Quénet in Marmaris
It's been almost three years since Ondrej Sosenka became the world hour record holder with 49.700 kilometres covered on the Krylatskoye velodrome of Moscow (July 19, 2005) but he disappeared from the scene after winning the Chrono des Nations in France just one second ahead of world champion Michael Rogers in October that same year.
"Professionally and personally I've had a lot of hard times," Sosenka explained on the start line of stage three in the Presidential Tour of Turkey in Bodrum. A chaotic road season in 2007 led him to a split with his Polish team Intel-Action that he had rejoined after the end of his three years of romance with Aqua e Sapone in Italy. "I almost didn't race last year and I finished the season in an amateur club in the Czech Republic."
The 32-year-old from Prague returned to the Pro Continental outfit from his country, PSK Whirlpool, a team he already rode for in 2000. "With PSK Unit Expert, I won my first stage in the Peace Race," Sosenka recalled. PSK are the initials of the police sports club.
Since the Czech team registered only in March, the Presidential Tour of Turkey is Sosenka's first race this year. "But we have had a three-week training camp in Mallorca, and I added a personal training camp in the Canarias," he explained. "Usually in the spring I don't go well, but now I feel better than ever for this time of the year. I almost made the breakaway in stage two. I'm very happy with my condition. Now I hope to do well in the Szlekiem Grodow Piatskokich, a Polish race that includes a time trial."
Time trial is still what Sosenka is the best at. A six-time national champion, he'll try to win the Czech title again but the Olympics aren't in the picture for him because the Czech Republic hasn't qualified any rider for the time trial in Beijing. "I'll focus on the world championship and the Chrono des Nations again at the end of the season," he said.
"Only in 2009 I want to go for the hour record again. For now, I have to re-build myself as a rider. If everything goes well again, I'll go back to a big team and try to cover more than the mythical barrier of 50 kilometres in one hour."