"Way better than last season" - Team Czech Republic and the winter preparation
With Miroslav Dvorak's podium place in Oberwiesenthal and a third place in the Sommer Grand Prix overall (Germany's Johannes Rydzek may have been better points-wise but as the SGP rules say, only who has been competing in all events is eligible for the prize money), head coach Ludek Sablatura can look back on quite a successful summer for the Czech Nordic Combined team. But for Sablatura's taste, this was just the beginning. "I think, physically we're way better than last season. Pavel Churavy above all others has made enormous progress."
The Czech team has kept busy after the Summer Grand Prix to make this step forward and into the direction of a similarly successful winter season. "We have been at home in Liberec for some days after the Summer Grand Prix", Sablatura goes through the busy schedule. After this, we have been jumping in Predazzo, Ramsau and Klingenthal. Especially this training camp in Germany went very well for us."
Asked after the rather curious happenings at the Czech summer championships in October where Polish newcomer Krystian Gryczuk, who started for a Czech club as was therefore eligible to take part in the Czech championships, managed to stand on top of the podium, beating experienced Czech athletes like Miroslav Dvorak and Pavel Churavy, Sablatura answers: "The national championships were just a good training competition to me. Every athlete was allowed to start with different roller-skis. Normally, Gryczuk has no chance."
Like for many other nations, the primary goal is of course the World Championships. Everything up to a 10th rank in the individual competitions would be a big success for us. To prepare for this and the upcoming season opening, the Czech team is currently completing a final training camp at Lillehammer. Sablatura's team for the first competition of the winter will consist of Miroslav Dvorak, Pavel Churavy, Tomas Slavik and Ales Vodsedalek. "Unfortunately, Tomas Portyk does not have any points from the COC, so he isn't eligible to start. But he is a young athlete. He still has time."