Zemanová fulfills hopes, earns silver


Successful Sunday. After Kryštof Bažant's bronze, Kristýna Zemanová added an even more valuable medal – silver – in the women's U23 category race.

The triple Czech champion fulfilled the medal hopes of our fans, finishing second only to the superbly prepared Briton Zoe Bäckstedt, who, after her junior triumph two years ago, ascended to the top step among U23 women. The bronze went to the fifth-ranked woman from the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Leonie Bentveld from the Netherlands.

Other Czech riders also performed well. In particular, debutant Simona Spěšná fought for sixth or seventh place for a long time. However, towards the end of the race, she ran out of energy a bit and finished in twelfth position.

Before the race, everyone was clear that the quartet of riders would contend for the medals. In addition to the three medallists, Marie Schreiberová from Luxembourg belonged to them, and that's how it looked after the start. After a traditionally excellent start, Schreiberová and Bäckstedtová took the lead, forming the second pair behind them were Zemanová with Bentveldová, and Spěšná was around seventh place. However, in the first lap, Bäckstedt left Schreiberová behind, and from then on, she rode her solo golden race.

On the contrary, Schreiberová could not mentally handle the loss of contact and fell behind the pair Zemanová, Bentveldová, who, after the first lap, was trailing the leading rider by 23 seconds. In the sections where strength was decisive, the Czech rider had the upper hand in the battle for silver, but Bentveldová did not let her escape. From behind, last year's junior world champion Isabella Holmgren from Canada was advancing.

At the beginning of the final lap of the 3250 meters long circuit, Zemanová, who had performed excellently tactically up to that point and was looking for a place to make a decisive move, attacked. However, she did not secure a decisive lead, and Bentveldová caught up with her. Still, the Czech triple champion could not respond to another attack, and mentally she broke.

"It's absolutely unreal. I really wanted to win a medal in front of the home crowd. When Zoe pulled away, and I saw Marie's expression (Schreiberová), I saw that she broke. Then I picked out the spot where I wanted to attack in the duel with Bentveldová, and it worked. I didn't even feel the pain on the challenging track; I didn't expect the mud to be so tough here. It pleases me even more; the fans were cheering, they were fantastic, and the medal belongs to them too," said Kristýna Zemanová.

And her fellow national team member Simona Spěšná added, "I started fantastically, and I might have overdone it a bit. However, considering the start from the back position, it had to be that way. But I am absolutely happy; it was an indescribable experience. The spectators were even better than in Nové Město na Moravě at mountain bike races. I was around seventh place throughout the race; I couldn't have done better."


1. Bäckstedtová (Brit.) 48:24,

2. Zemanová (ČR) +44,

3. Bentveldová (Niz.) +55,

4. I. Holmgreová (Kan.) +1:08,

5. Schreiberová (Luc.) +1:42,

6. van Sinaeyová (Belg.) +2:14, ...

12. Spěšná +3:24,

16. Hladíková +5:11,

24. Jeřábková (všechny ČR) +9:20.

Author: Jaroslav Cícha