Jaroslav has finished the first race of the season. He took the four-stage Afxentia race in Cyprus mainly as a training of the initial intensity. So were the results – he started on the 16th position after fast time trial, second day he finished the 7th in the first half-marathon stage and in the third stage he sprinted for the bronze medal after fifty kilometers. He was starting the final part of the classical cross-country as the eighth in the overall ranking with the loss of 2:27 min.
“I failed at the end and lost in the overall ranking because of the flat tire…,” reports Jaroslav from Cyprus.
“It was going pretty well from the start. I wanted to set the pace in the first round and we were left in four in the front. Sometimes somebody reached us, somebody else dropped, but I was feeling good. In the 40th minute I realized that the tyre was going flat. I decided to ride carefully and inflate it partly, but it didn´t help. I had to stop in the tech zone and replace the wheel, which meant a bigger time loss. The rest of the race I rode more easily,” explained Jara after the final stage which he finished in the 23rd place.
“As a whole I take it as good four days. I think my condition is better than I expected. It was obvious that most riders are perfectly prepared for the Olympic selection and all were accordingly racing,” he added. The overall winner was Swiss Fabian Giger.
Jaroslav stays in Cyprus for one more week. His plan is a good training, material and testing some new stuff and new Nutrend nutritional supplements. And the next weekend – the second part of the Sunshine Cup – cross country category C1 race in Voroklini.
Overall classification of the Afxentia SHC stage race:
1. Fabian Giger /SUI, Kross Racing Team/ 5:37:32 h.
2. Maxime Marotte /FRA, BH SR-Suntour KMC/ + 1:24 min.
3. Marco Aurelio Fontana /ITA, Cannondale Factory Racing/ + 1:25 min.
13. Jaroslav Kulhavy /CZE, Specialized Racing/ + 7:51 min.
As in past seasons, also this year’s olympic season will be kicked off in Cyprus. Mediterranean island traditionally offers excellent conditions for training and quality Sunshine Cup races with good competition and the possibility of getting a decent amount of points. That’s why Jaroslav comes here every year.
“This year I am going to race both races of Sunshine Cup and I hope that I will race a little bit better than last year, when I couldn’t hit the pace in first two days due to breathing problem and was nearly defeated by the girls … :),” Jaro says before departure.
“The final result of these first races is not so important at the end, but it will be a good test of my condition after winter preparation and show what to improve in upcoming weeks. I got informations that in Cyprus will be very good competition again, which is good for comparation. It would be good to get there some UCI points so we can consolidate a position of the Czech Republic in UCI rankings before the final national nominations for the Olympics. The fact that at Sunshine Cup will start also Ondřej Cink and Jan Škarnitzl, we have the good chances, ” he explains.
Cyprus Sunshine Cup consists of a four-day race Afxentia on February 25th to 28th, and then the classic XC race the weekend after.
Jaroslav has returned from already his third and final training camp as a part of preparation for this special season. After two two-week training camps on Mallorca, this time Jaro and his coach Viktor Zapletal took advantage of a week of warm weather and hilly profile of Gran Canaria island.
“It’s a bonus, I usually do only two training camps before season. But this year, because of the Olympics, I want to be 100% sure that I do the best possible preparation,” explains Jaroslav the inclusion of short and intensive training block.
“For the first time since October, I took the mountain bike again. I got my new S-Works Epic World Cup 2016 right before departure, so I had a time to find my position on the bike again before I will take it to the Cyprus for first races. I tried to get back into the higher intensities in the training, to not to be so shocked in first races, but I still trained an endurance and strenght for most of the time. Season is going to be long, with two peaks and it will be important to have a good basis. I should be in good shape in the end of April and the next monts,” says Jaroslav.
The traditional season opener will take a place on Cyprus next week. Jaro compete in both races of Sunshine Cup as a four-day race Afxentia on 25 to 28 February and classic cross country in Voroklini one week after.