A 14th place finish. That was all Zdenek was able to manage in the fourth round of the GVA Trophy in Essen today. “I’m a little embarrassed. There were so many supporters there. Sorry. I don’t have any explanation for my bad results,” was his initial response after the race.
The race started well enough for our champion. Zdenek had the fastest start and rode with Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels, among others. Then he suddenly dropped back and continued to fall further behind the leaders.
While a reborn Bart Wellens went on the attack in search of Niels Albert, who was making his reentry after an injury, the world champion fought for a place among the top 10. But he would eventually lose that fight as both his legs and his head would not cooperate.
Sven Nys looked as though he’d be the winner, following a counterattack on Wellens, but the champion had mechanical trouble. So the win went to Wellens, who looks to be back to his old self after some disappointing results. Albert finished second, ahead of Rob Peeters.
And Zdenek? He finished back in 14th. “Mentally it was really tough today,” he said later. “It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about quitting. The fans kept me in the race. I have to thank them for thier support.”
“I love cycling in this area,” our Czech went on to say. “I have a lot of fans here. As far as the race goes: I’m going to forget about it as quickly as possible. I have to keep believing that there’s nothing wrong and that I just keep having a bad day. Right?
In the general classification, Zdenek sees Kevin Pauwels, who finished fourth today, increase his lead. But thanks to the bad luck Nys had, our man is still in second overall, 22 points behind the leader. Zdenek will get a chance to put in a better performance in tomorrow’s World Cup race in Namen.
By on 17/12/2011