Czech Paprstka gives home nation dream start at Worlds

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."

Slippery start

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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
1Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)0:40:30
2Julian Alaphilippe (France)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands)0:00:09
4Matej Lasak (Czech Republic)0:00:19
5Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)0:00:20
6Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands)0:00:39
7David Menut (France)0:00:48
8David Van Der Poel (Netherlands)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)0:00:56
10Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)0:01:00
11Radek Polnicky (Czech Republic)0:01:01
12Tim Merlier (Belgium)0:01:09
13Clément Le Bras (France)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Yannick Eckmann (Germany)0:01:11
15Clément Venturini (France)0:01:14
16Michael Boros (Czech Republic)0:01:31
17Bob Jungels (Luxembourg)0:01:32
18Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic)0:01:40
19Emilien Viennet (France)0:01:49
20Diether Sweeck (Belgium)0:01:53
21Lars Forster (Switzerland)0:01:54
22Jannick Geisler (Germany)0:02:00
23Janusz Lessnau (Poland)Row 22 - Cell 2
24Danny Van Poppel (Netherlands)0:02:14
25Fabio Alfonso Todaro (Italy)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Lukas Müller (Switzerland)0:02:27
27Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania)0:02:28
28Wenzel Böhm-Gräber (Germany)0:02:32
29Jens Vandekinderen (Belgium)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Julian Lehmann (Germany)0:02:42
31Jon Ander Insausti (Spain)0:02:50
32Francesco Acqvaviva (Italy)0:02:56
33Cody Kaiser (United States Of America)0:03:05
34Bartosz Pilis (Poland)0:03:06
35Nicolas Samparisi (Italy)0:03:17
36Thomas Moses (Great Britain)0:03:24
37Luke Gray (Great Britain)0:03:28
38Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)0:03:43
39Chris Wallace (United States Of America)0:04:08
40Kris Dahl (Canada)0:04:11
41Paulo Gonzalez Fontan (Spain)0:04:14
42Scott Thiltges (Luxembourg)0:04:16
43Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)0:04:20
44Jeff Bahnson (United States Of America)0:04:21
45Mackenzie Carson (Canada)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Pietro Santini (Italy)0:04:27
47Jaroslav Chalas (Slovakia)0:04:47
48Rudy Lorenzon (Italy)0:05:18
49Lex Reichling (Luxembourg)0:05:31
50Luke Grivell-Mellor (Great Britain)0:05:55
51Peio Goikoetxea (Spain)0:06:18
52Kiernan Orange (Canada)0:06:24
53Skyler Trujillo (United States Of America)0:06:27
54George Stancu (Romania)0:06:53
55Tom Schwarmes (Luxembourg)0:07:17
56Marek Michalec (Slovakia)0:07:38
57Matt Spinks (United States Of America)0:07:48
58Conor O'brien (Canada)0:08:22
59Lukas Gebrlin (Slovakia)0:08:34
60 -1lapDaniel Hula (Slovakia)Row 59 - Cell 2
61Jonas Pedersen (Denmark)Row 60 - Cell 2


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