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An interview with Petr Dlask, December 29, 2006

Czech giant on the way up

Petr Dlask takes on good world cup result to move up in the UCI-rankings

There was a new face on the podium of the world cup event in Hofstade - Czech giant Petr Dlask. The 30 year-old had a terrible start of the season where he just couldnít deliver any decent results, but is beginning to find his good form. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwe spoke to the Fidea Cycling Team rider after the race.

Petr Dlask in Hofstade world cup
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
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Petr Dlask, the Czech cyclo-cross champion, lives near Loenhout, Belgium - a centrally-located hotbed of UCI 'cross racing where the GvA-trophy holds its fifth event on Thursday. It seems like the perfect place to camp for the season. But after a string of disappointing results in October and November, Dlask decided to return to the Czech Republic for a while.

"I hope this means a comeback for me ..."

- Dlask referring to second in Hofstade.

"I expected this season to be just as good as last year, but for some reason the results didnít come. Mentally it started to be difficult and thatís why I returned to the Czech Republic. Even though my wife and child are staying with me in Belgium, Iím 30 years-old and itís a bit harder for me to acclimate to the Belgian habits than it is for my younger compatriots like Stybar and Simunek," Dlask explained.

"At home, I have my whole family around me and I can train in the mountains" he continued, "I donít like to train beside the flat canals in Belgium." The mountain training must have done Dlask a world of good, because last week, the results finally started to come. Dlask took a solid third place in Veghel-Eerde and a very strong second place in Hofstade behind world champion Erwin Vervecken.

"I hope this means a comeback for me; Iím currently 26th in the UCI-rankings and I hope to get back to the top five or at least top ten before the end of the season," Dlask said.

Dlask (l) finished on the podium
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
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To achieve that goal Dlask probably wants to find more courses with sand sections like in Hofstade; the tall rider was able to make the difference while running with big steps through the sand. "Iíve got super legs to run in the sand. Working my way through the mud goes alright as well, but I realize that I need to be good at every course," Dlask admitted.

Another way to move up in the UCI-rankings is to stay healthy. Dlask suffered some back problems in the past. "My back is alright now and I hope to stay healthy for four or five weeks. But it is difficult with the current weather - with rain and coldness - as it is risky to go out for a training ride," said Dlask.

There are quite a few important races coming up as the season heads quickly toward the world championships in Hoogelde-Gits at the end of January. We asked the Czech champion what races we can expect him in front again.

Dlask in late 2005
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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"Loenhout is very important for me, as I live pretty close to that town, but Diegem is also important. Afterwards the national championships are all important where my main rival will be U23 world champion Zdenek Stybar," the current Czech national champion admits he wants to extend his title.

Dlask also indicated that the world championship is an important goal for a number of reasons, including looking forward to next year's contracts. "Itís necessary that I get good results to please my sponsor," he said. Dlask will be hoping that this year will turn out to be the opposite of last year. "Last yearís season was good but the world championships were a disappointment," he said, so hopefully this year's poor start will turn good in the end.

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