Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic) gave his home crowd the perfect start to the 2010 Cyclo-cross World Championships, winning a sprint finish to claim the junior men's title in Tabor on Saturday. Paprstka edged out France's Julian Alaphilippe by half a bike length at the finish after the two dropped final-lap companion Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands) in the closing stages of the race. Dolfsma finished third, nine seconds down on the leaders.
"I'd like to thank all spectators," said Paprstka after his win. "They were unbelievable and supported me so much. I enjoyed the conditions on the course today. This is my biggest win ever and hopefully there will be more like that in the future."
An exhausted Paprstka admitted that the sprint finish had played perfectly to his pre-race plan. "Last night my coach and I talked about the finish. He said the rider who hit the pavement first would win the sprint," he said. "It turned out like that and thus I knew I could win."
"We haven't made plans for a party, but for sure we will celebrate this victory."
Despite being narrowly edged out at the finish, Alaphilippe was pleased with second place. "I'm not really disappointed. On a course like this after a tough race I'm happy with the result that I've got. I was surprised to battle for the win but I came for the best possible result," he said.
"During the last laps I was in a group with three Dutch riders and then one crashed out of there. I attacked in an effort to get back to the leader. Once I got there I had sore legs and opted to wait for the sprint, which he won."
Of the Dutch riders, David van der Poel had been touted as the strongest contender for the win, but it was Emiel Dolfsma who led the team home with a bronze medal performance.
"During the last lap I was getting very close to the leader and one always tries to win but in the drop after the last bridge I crashed when my front wheel slid away. Then I was too far but I had run out of gas anyway. I opted to hold on for third instead of taking too many risks in an effort to get back to the front," he said.
While clearly happy with his own result, Dolfsma admitted that the team had expected a stronger showing in Tabor. "We had a few very strong riders so having only one rider on the podium isn't fantastic; we expected more from it. I wasn't the Dutch rider with all the expectation and that got me motivated. I didn't perform to the expectations at the European championships because of illness so then I focussed everything on the Worlds."
The Junior men's World Championship race began with the much-talked about conditions of the Tabor course playing havoc with the 46 rider field. Scrambling in the icy conditions, the opening kilometre quickly became a procession of riders - some on their bikes, some running - in search of clear track.
Those best able to avoid the carnage were the French, Dutch and Belgian squads, who had started on the front of the grid. France's Emilien Viennet was the first rider to push away from a quickly formed group of leaders that included pre-race favourite David van der Poel (Netherlands), Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands), Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium), Julian Alaphilippe (France) and Matej Lasak (Czech Republic). Viennet's slim advantage was short-lived however as he slipped over, with Vermeersch able to avoid the Frenchman and assume the lead.
At the end of the first lap, the group remained largely intact, with Bosman and Vermeersch leading Lasak, Van der Poel and Viennet across the line in 8:15 for the first of the five 3.2 kilometre laps.
On the second lap, Vermeersch went in search of the outright lead, but despite his best efforts could not shake his companions as the lead group gained confidence on the course and remained together to cross the line largely intact.
Paprskta mounts a Czech charge
Lap three created the first real shake-up of the leaders as Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic) shot through the group and grabbed pole position at the front of the race. Using the barriers to navigate the tight corners of the course, Paprstka quickly built a six second lead over a chase led by Dutch and French jerseys.
Consolidating his lead throughout the penultimate lap, Paprstka looked strong as Dolfsma (Netherlands) and Alaphilippe (France) re-doubled their efforts to catch him from behind. Meanwhile, Bosman and Van der Poel's challenge appeared all but over.
Closing a 14 second gap at the start of the final lap, Alaphilippe was the first to reach Paprstka, with Dolfsma linking up as the trio passed the first of the back-markers. Despite having held the lead alone for two laps, Paprstka surged once more, with Alaphilippe the only one able to respond. Dolfsma slid out in a corner to spoil his final chance of a return to the front end of the race.
Swinging around the final corner side-by-side, Paprskta left nothing to chance as he opened the sprint over Alaphilippe. The Czech's power was too much for the Frenchman as he finished half a bike length behind the new junior World Champion.
Dolfsma crossed the line nine seconds later, but was clearly satisfied with his performance, pumping his fists in celebration of his podium position.
Cody Kaiser was the best placed of the US riders, finishing in 33rd, 3:05 down on Paprstka.
|1||Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)||0:40:30|
|2||Julian Alaphilippe (France)|
|3||Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands)||0:00:09|
|4||Matej Lasak (Czech Republic)||0:00:19|
|5||Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)||0:00:20|
|6||Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands)||0:00:39|
|7||David Menut (France)||0:00:48|
|8||David Van Der Poel (Netherlands)|
|9||Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)||0:00:56|
|10||Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)||0:01:00|
|11||Radek Polnicky (Czech Republic)||0:01:01|
|12||Tim Merlier (Belgium)||0:01:09|
|13||Clément Le Bras (France)|
|14||Yannick Eckmann (Germany)||0:01:11|
|15||Clément Venturini (France)||0:01:14|
|16||Michael Boros (Czech Republic)||0:01:31|
|17||Bob Jungels (Luxembourg)||0:01:32|
|18||Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic)||0:01:40|
|19||Emilien Viennet (France)||0:01:49|
|20||Diether Sweeck (Belgium)||0:01:53|
|21||Lars Forster (Switzerland)||0:01:54|
|22||Jannick Geisler (Germany)||0:02:00|
|23||Janusz Lessnau (Poland)|
|24||Danny Van Poppel (Netherlands)||0:02:14|
|25||Fabio Alfonso Todaro (Italy)|
|26||Lukas Müller (Switzerland)||0:02:27|
|27||Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania)||0:02:28|
|28||Wenzel Böhm-Gräber (Germany)||0:02:32|
|29||Jens Vandekinderen (Belgium)|
|30||Julian Lehmann (Germany)||0:02:42|
|31||Jon Ander Insausti (Spain)||0:02:50|
|32||Francesco Acqvaviva (Italy)||0:02:56|
|33||Cody Kaiser (United States Of America)||0:03:05|
|34||Bartosz Pilis (Poland)||0:03:06|
|35||Nicolas Samparisi (Italy)||0:03:17|
|36||Thomas Moses (Great Britain)||0:03:24|
|37||Luke Gray (Great Britain)||0:03:28|
|38||Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)||0:03:43|
|39||Chris Wallace (United States Of America)||0:04:08|
|40||Kris Dahl (Canada)||0:04:11|
|41||Paulo Gonzalez Fontan (Spain)||0:04:14|
|42||Scott Thiltges (Luxembourg)||0:04:16|
|43||Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)||0:04:20|
|44||Jeff Bahnson (United States Of America)||0:04:21|
|45||Mackenzie Carson (Canada)|
|46||Pietro Santini (Italy)||0:04:27|
|47||Jaroslav Chalas (Slovakia)||0:04:47|
|48||Rudy Lorenzon (Italy)||0:05:18|
|49||Lex Reichling (Luxembourg)||0:05:31|
|50||Luke Grivell-Mellor (Great Britain)||0:05:55|
|51||Peio Goikoetxea (Spain)||0:06:18|
|52||Kiernan Orange (Canada)||0:06:24|
|53||Skyler Trujillo (United States Of America)||0:06:27|
|54||George Stancu (Romania)||0:06:53|
|55||Tom Schwarmes (Luxembourg)||0:07:17|
|56||Marek Michalec (Slovakia)||0:07:38|
|57||Matt Spinks (United States Of America)||0:07:48|
|58||Conor O'brien (Canada)||0:08:22|
|59||Lukas Gebrlin (Slovakia)||0:08:34|
|60 -1lap||Daniel Hula (Slovakia)|
|61||Jonas Pedersen (Denmark)|