The Dutchman del Grosso confirmed his role as the favorite


After the medal absence in the junior women's race, Dutch fans finally celebrated the first gold medal in the U23 men's category at the Cyclo-cross World Championship in Tábor. Tibor del Grosso secured the gold, improving on his silver from last year in Hoogerheide. Belgians Emiel Verstrynge and Jente Michels claimed the other medals. The best among our representatives was Jan Zatloukal, finishing in the eighteenth position.

Shortly after entering the terrain, a crucial moment occurred – a massive crash. At the beginning of it was the American Strohmeyer, and many riders had their hopes dashed by the fall. Unfortunately, except for Václav Ježek, all other Czech riders were among them. However, Ježek, starting from the seventh position, quickly dropped in the standings.

At the front, Frenchman Bisieux, Verstrynge, Michels, and del Grosso settled in, but before the end of the first lap, del Grosso and Verstrynge were already leading. Handling the considerable delay from the start, twenty-one-year-old, primarily a mountain biker, Jan Zatloukal managed the best among our riders. He started in the seventh row and navigated through the crowded field ahead of him, finishing ahead of Ježek in twentieth place.

"It wasn't ideal. I started from way behind, and during that massive crash, I had to stop; we bumped into each other. I struggled the whole lap, making one mistake after another, and only then did it start going well. Cyclo-cross is not my primary discipline, so I take everything, but I wanted more," said Jan Zatloukal, adding, "the atmosphere was great, I have to thank all the fans for coming and cheering us on."

"I knew it wouldn't be my day right from the morning. I never felt very comfortable in deep mud, but I did my best. I started quite well, and the mass crash in the first corner helped me a lot. From the first lap, I felt that my legs weren't turning at all. But I couldn't let anything go because the fans were pushing me incredibly. Yesterday the track was partially frozen, but today it was just mud, and there was a lot of running," said Václav Ježek.

However, from the second lap onwards, del Grosso began to demonstrate his current position in the world peloton. He distanced himself from his competitors in the leading group and confidently rode to the gold, improving on his silver from last year in Hoogerheide.

Results Men U23:

1. del Grosso (Niz.) 52:02,

2. Verstrynge,

3. Michels (oba Belg.) oba +27,

4. Bisiaux +1:13,

5. Lelandais (oba Fr.) +1:28,

6. Ackert (Kan.) +1:39, ...

18. Zatloukal +3:44,

23. Ježek +4:28,

32. Fiala +5:40,

45. Černý +8:06,

50. Jindřich +9:34,

51. Kerl (všichni ČR) +10:10.

Author: Jaroslav Cícha