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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #3 - CDM
Tabor, Czech Republic, October 28, 2006
The new Simunek has arrived
By Brecht Decaluwé
Czech neo-pro wins world cup race on home soil
Radomir Simunek Jr (Palmans) has stepped into his fathers footsteps by grabbing his first big win on home soil in the international cross race in Tabor (Czech Republic). The neo-pro was delighted with the win: "This is a dream that comes true for me. I always started good in the previous races but I couldn’t keep up the up because I’m that young. With the hard underground over here I could stay in the slipstream of Wellens." The victory of Simunek comes as a surprise as he could only manage a 15th (Aigle) and 28th place (Ruddervoorde) in previous world cup races. Still, this win is more than luck as Simunek is one of the hottest prospects in cyclo-cross. With 23 yea-old Radomir Simunek and 20 year-old Niels Albert, it lookes like Charles Palmans has the future of cycling in his team!
Belgian Bart Wellens (Fidea) and Simunek rode together for most of the race. The race looked like a copy from the race in Hoogerheide last year where the two riders also engaged an early attack. The advantage was mainly the work of Bart Wellens. He explained the tactics he used: "I didn’t know what to do with Simunek - as he was in my wheels all the time - so I just kept going. I wanted to get a sprint." In the end it didn’t came down to a sprint as Simunek got rid of Wellens in the last lap. The Belgian commented on that finale: "It was a very tough last lap. Simunek suddenly had 20 metres and I couldn’t catch him anymore. He’s a big winner so I congratulate him. But now it can start raining because the courses are too fast for me," the Belgian laughed.
Simunek did more than following during the race: "I noticed that Wellens wasn’t as good as he tried to show so I tried something in the last lap," and it paid off for the young rider.
Behind the two protagonists world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) grabbed third place although he wasn’t that happy with it: "Third isn’t a bad result for me but it would’ve been better if I was in the break as well. Then we could’ve done more against Simunek as I had a good day as well. Still I thought my teammate Wellens would win today." Vervecken continued and explained how the two riders got away: "Nys’ feet got out of his pedal on a little hill and afterwards he didn’t try to get back on them. We - the Fidea-riders - only tried to protect the breakaway."
How it unfolded
Home rider Kamil Ausbuher (Budweiser-Budvar) had the best start on a dry and fast course. He was followed by Dutch champion Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank) who took over the lead during the first lap. Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) had a mechanical and abandoned the race. After this reconnaissance lap UCI-leader Sven Nys (Rabobank) accelerated at the barriers. Radomir Simunek Jr followed swiftly, just like Bart Wellens. The speed was pretty high but the rest of the bunch came back on them at the end of the second lap.
Bart Wellens launched an full on attack in the third lap. This attack was only responded by Simunek, Sven Nys didn’t follow the two riders. Immediately Fidea-riders Erwin Vervecken and Zdenek Stybar came to the front to slow down the speed. This succeeded as only Kamil Ausbuher kept working in the bunch. At the end of what proved to be the fastest lap, the leading duo had an advantage of 20".
Stybar tried to join the leaders - where Simunek was staying in Wellens’ wheel - during the fourth lap with an acceleration but didn’t continue his effort when he noticed he wouldn’t get there alone. The orange riders from Rabobank were there in the front group but they didn’t work. Apparently Nys, Vanthourenhout, De Knegt and Aernouts weren’t feeling too well. Meanwhile the lead grew up to 27" after the fourth lap.
Simunek did his work in the break during the fifth lap while Nys accelerated in the bunch. Young Stybar followed the UCI-leader, despite a minor crash from Stybar after a steering mistake. Lap six was another fast lap as Wellens worked hard to set the pursuers back. Their lead grew up to 38" on a group with Nys, Vervecken, Vanthourenhout, Stybar, Vantornout (Fidea) and Ausbuher. Still, at the end of the lap the Belgian started complaining direction Simunek as he wasn’t giving much support. Sven Nys was dropping some positions and world champion Erwin Vervecken decided to start the fight for place three as his teammate had a safe advantage. Behind the two leaders the bunch had crumbled into some groups. Vervecken, Vanthourenhout, Ausbuher, Vantornout and Stybar were 38" behind; Sven Nys, Enrico Franzoi (Lampre), Aernouts and De Knegt were ten seconds further away.
During lap eight, Zdenek Stybar tried to get away again with Erwin Vervecken joining his teammate. Behind the first four riders it all came back together as fourteen riders were together again. They were 54" behind the two leaders and ten seconds behind Stybar and Vervecken. In the penultimate lap the positions remained the same with the bunch coming closer on Vervecken and Stybar. Zdenek Mlynar was strong in last week’s world cup race but had to let the ‘bunch’ go today.
During the ultimate lap, Simunek was riding ahead of Wellens at a slow speed. After each obstacle he accelerated until he noticed Wellens came back. One kilometre from the finish he had a little advantage which he could maintain until the finish line. Behind this great fight the sprint for third place was easily won by world champion Erwin Vervecken. He advanced Sven Nys, who just popped ahead of Zdenek Stybar and Klaas Vantornout.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
1 Radomír Simunek Jr. (Cze) Palmans Collstrop 1.03.40 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.10 3 Ervin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.35 4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 5 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank 6 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 7 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank 0.45 8 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) CK Podborany 0.48 9 Gerben De Kneght (Ned) Rabobank 0.50 10 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 0.56 11 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 12 John Gadret (Fra) VC Roubaix Lille Metro 1.11 13 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 1.20 14 Thijs Al (Ned) Bejan-Rings 1.37 15 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.39 16 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro 1.41 17 Malte Urban (Ger) Heinz Von Heiden Team 1.44 18 Zdenek Mlynár (Cze) Max Cursor 19 Maarten Nijland (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert 1.50 20 Christian Heule (Swi) VC Gippingen 21 David Commeyne (Bel) Palmans Collstrop 22 Simon Zahner (Swi) VC Meilen 1.59 23 Milan Barenyi (Svk) Ck Zp Sport Podbrezova 24 Wiland Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.Nl 25 Jan Chrobák (Cze) Johnson Controls AS MB 2.04 26 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Stevens Racing Team 27 Thorsten Struch (Ger) Rsv Stuttgart 28 Robert Glajza (Svk) CK ZP Sport Podbrezova 2.08 29 Peter Presslauer (Aut) Stevens Racing Team 30 Václav Metlicka (Svk) Team Kral Rc Preil Hof E.V. 2.10 31 Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 2.28 32 Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi-7Mobile 2.40 33 Robert Gavenda (Svk) CK ZP Sport Podbrezova 2.59 34 Maros Kovác (Svk) Dukla Trencin 3.02 35 Roland Mutsaars (Ned) Zzpr.Nl 3.15 36 Alessandro Fontana (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo 3.22 37 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) Ciaponi Edilizia Tss 38 Andreas Moser (Swi) VC Bützberg 39 Issac Suarez (Spa) Russafa, P.C. 4.30 40 Jan Ramsauer (Swi) VC Hittnau 41 Lukás Kloucek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 4.40 42 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Stevens Racing Team 5.08 43 Sascha Weber (Ger) RSC St. Wendel 7.10 One lap down 44 Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce