Round two of the World Cup brings the world’s best to Tabor, in the heart of the Czech Republic. Almost two years ago, Zdenek Stybar dominated the field on home soil to capture his first World Championship, in heavy snow. Conditions will be much better this time around with weather expected to be in the mid to upper 40s and no precipitation is expected.
All eyes will be focused on last weekend’s leading trio of Stybar, Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels. In 2010, however, Tabor’s World Cup was quite a different story as Klass Vantornout and Martin Bina landed on the podium a head of Francis Mourey and the rest of the field. Bina is on the comeback trail from an injury that has derailed the start of his season. Vantornout looked good last weekend, playing the role of teammate to Pauwels, and ultimately capturing 5th.
The big story from last weekend was the bizzare start that left Niels Albert, Tim Johnson and Mourey scrambling to get past a TV cameraman, losing 20-30 seconds right away. The madness also led to a crash that knocked Sven Vanthourenhout out of competition for a while. Look for Albert and Mourey to shake things up and seek revenge for their misfortunes last week. As we previously mentioned, the Belgians get to add another rider since Nys is the current World Cup leader. They’re bringing U23 standout Vincent Baestaens, who will be looking to impress in his first elite World Cup race. Dieter Vanthourenhout will replace his cousin, Sven.
Jeremy Powers will lead an impressive American squad, looking to back up his 10th place finish in Plzen. Powers will have a second row starting spot leaving him in a good position to strike early and often. Fellow Americans Jonathan Page, Jamey Driscoll, Tim Johnson and Chris Jones will also race in Tabor. Johnson will be looking for another top-20 finish, while Page will look to improve on his 21st in Plzen.