A strong last lap from Zdenek gave him a fourth place finish in the GP Sven Nys on New Year’s Day. And he did it on his brand new pink Specialized bike. “I started a bit too enthusiastically. Maybe I wanted to show off my new outfit a little too much.”
Not only were the new colors of Omega Pharma-Quick Step (as his team is now known) on display today, but Zdenek got a few new bikes as well. “In an eye-catching color. It has to do with the history of Specialized, which made its first bikes in pink.”
Zdenek was only too happy to show off his new toys. “Did you see my new Zipp wheels? And my bike is now fitted with Sram. My mechanics had a lot of work to do. I also have new Oakley glasses and a new helmet, which is also from Specialized.”
With so much great new equipment, Zdenek wanted to immediately thank his sponsors. “A little too much,” he said after the race. “I started fast and totally lost my rhythm. I fell back to eighth and thought I’d fall even further behind, but eventually I got through it.”
By that time Sven Nys was gone. The hometown favorite turned the race into a one-man show and led from start to finish to pick up his first GVA Trophy victory of the season. Zdenek had an excellent final lap and was able to move up a number of places.
“I gave everything but still finished fourth. Not bad, but I wanted more. But it’s not easy to switch bikes from one day to the next, although I do believe I’ll get used to it. Hopefully that will happen in the coming days.”
And what did he think about Sven’s performance? “He was really strong, huh? I think he had his best day of the season. It’s too bad for him that the world championships aren’t held here every year. Then he’d have been world champion 11 times. I have a lot of respect for him. He can still win crosses when he’s 50.”
In the overall GVA Trophy standings, Zdenek lost some ground on leader Kevin Pauwels, who finished second today behind Nys. Zdenek is 16 points behind. The next rounds are in Lille and Oostmalle, but aren’t until after the world championships in Koksijde.
Next week there’s no GVA, Superprestige or World Cup race on the schedule, but the Czech championships are. “I already know it won’t be easy. Martin Zlamalik was good today and Radomir Simunek is always prepared to go for the title.”