Czech team off to the arctic circle

14 November 2016 15:05
Tomas Portyk flying in Seefeld
Tomas Portyk flying in Seefeld -

Six Czech Nordic Combined team athletes are turning their attention north today: Miroslav Dvorak, Tomas Portyk, Lukas Danek, Ondrej Pazout, Jan Vytrval and Martin Zeman are off to Rovaniemi and will stay up north until the season opener in Ruka on the 26th and 27th of November 2016. Service techs Vladimir Kopal, Miroslav Sedlacek and physiotherapist Ladislav Vencalek have already left with with a fully loaded van to make the long journey to the north.

„Even though we’re only 5 km from the Arctic Circle, there hasn’t been much snow yet“, head coach Vladimir Smid tells. „But the Finnish organisers have created a 7 km snow track out of snow farming snow and from this weekend on, the HS 100 is also ready and prepared for winter jumps. Now I only wish for one thing: calmer wind conditions than the usual ones which almost traditionally make the training and the World Cup Opening difficult.“

All athletes are in good health except for Miroslav Dvorak who had to battle various health problems this year: an achilles tendon inflammation in May, the flu and the smallpox during the summer and a sprained ankle. He couldn’t take part at the training camp in Oberhof’s ski tunnel due to an inflammation in his hand. „Hopefully, this was all the bad luck for this season for him and he’ll get into shape now, although the overall amount of training he had is definitely less than the other athletes“, Smid sums up.

Still, Dvorak and also Tomas Portyk are set for two of the four Czech World Cup spots, the other two will go to the two athletes who show the best shape in the final training days. „Since Dvorak and Portyk are our best atheltes, I expect them to move forward in the World Cup points“, Smid says about his expectations for the two top performers. „Our talented juniors showed great performances and although they are on the rise, it will be hard for them to find their place among all the veterans. They are still young after all. For them, it’s about gathering experience and prepare for the Junior World Championships in Park City in early February.“

The team will now continue the cross-country training of the month of October and focus on speed training in particular. On Saturday, the 19th of November, the international „First Snow“ competition in Rovaniemi is on schedule for the team in which they can test their shape against many of the other international teams training in the area at the moment.