In the past three years of the Czech Republic's national time-trial, Michal Hrazdira (ASC Dukla Praha) has won twice; Ondrej Sosenka once. Yesterday, Sosenka levelled the score at two apiece, narrowly edging his rival out by just twenty-eight seconds after 48km of graft; the duo were the only ones to break the hour. Unsurprisingly, over such a long and selective course and distance, the time gaps to the lower placings were considerably bigger former Italian pro Milan Kadlec, now a teammate of Hrazdira rounded off the podium with third over three minutes down, just in front of Radek Blahut.
Recently, Sosenka who turns thirty in December has worked hard to establish his position as the best rider in the Czech Republic. Undoubtedly, the Acqua e Sapone rider has a good time-trial pedigree, having already won twice against the clock this year at the UNIQA Classic and, more prestigiously, the Tour of Belgium. Last year, he also took the Czech national road race alongside, as well as the Tour of Poland, which was a controversial inclusion in the inaugural ProTour schedule.
Five years ago, Piotr Mazur was one of the best time-trialists let alone junior racers in the world he won the world championship individual time-trial in Montreal (despite his nationality, Mazur was actually born in Vancouver, Canada) that year, and almost took the road race. The speculation and hype was gathering, and somewhere along the way, Mazur never really maintained the momentum as he matured more, only scoring solid results for modest Polish teams without attracting the attention of any continental giants. Today, still only 22, Mazur won the Polish individual time-trial all the more impressive considering he has been without a team for over three weeks since Team Skil-Moser cast him aside.
The youngster beat Intel-Actions aggressive talent Bartosz Huzarski by fifty seconds over the 40km course, with Jaroslaw Rebiewski (Knauf) just edging several riders for third spot, 123 behind. Nonetheless, Intel Action, the only Professional team in the country, can nonetheless be very proud of their results, considering four of their riders came home in the top ten.
Barring that junior world title, this is undoubtedly the best win of his career, and is his first victory altogether since the humble Lubelski Wyscig 3-Majowy two years ago. With this performance, surely the erratic Mazur will be able to claw his way back into the Polish domestic scene with a professional club; hopefully the Polish time-trial champions jersey will have a UCI-accredited home for 2006 or even earlier.
In Slovenia, Perutnina Ptuj have had to battle to ensure they remain the controlling force in domestic racing, with the advent of several challenging Continental teams in the country. Still, the squad has a rich heritage, having helped men like Jure Golcer and Radoslav Rogina on their way to obtaining contracts with Italian professional teams. In the national time-trial championship, it was their man Gregor Gazvoda who won, defeating veteran fighter Walter Bonca by thirty six seconds with Tenax pro and last years winner Dean Podgornik third. The race was notable by the conspicuous absence of the U23 World ITT champion Janez Brajkovic, bound for Discovery Channel at the end of July.
Gazvoda could well progress to a more lucrative deal overseas still only 23, he clearly is good against the clock, having taken second here last year in what was his first year as a pro. However, even before then, he made an impact, winning the Olympia Tour long time-trial in 2002. This is his second victory of the year, after winning a Tour of Cuba (2.2) stage in mid-February.
The Ukraine is a country endowed with several ox-strong time-trialists: excepting the given big hitter Serhiy Honchar, theres also Yuri Krivtsov, Sergiy Matveyev and Volodimir Bileka. However, with one or two of the bigger names opting out of the national time-trial competition, it was, surprisingly, another man who took the spoils. Andriy Grivko, a twenty-one year old neo-pro with Domina Vacanze, showed his ability to win his first elite national title, beating 2003 winner Matveyev into second place with Bileka, who has had an impressive season with Discovery Channel, having to settle for the final step on the podium.
His only other result of note this season was a third place finish at the 8km UNIQA Classic (2.1) prologue in Austria, behind Sosenka (see above!) and Liese. However, Grivko is clearly not lacking in talent, having won his pro contract on merit having an excellent 2004: he notched up several presitigious victories on the Italian amateur scene last year, including the Giro delle Regioni and the Giro di Toscana.
Czech Elite Mens ITT Results, 48km
1. Ondrej Sosenka (Acqua e Sapone-Adria Mobil) 59h 02m
2. Michal Hrazdira (ASC Dukla Prague) at 028
3. Milan Kadlec (eD System-ZVVZ) 311
4. Radek Blahut (PSK Whirlpool) 314
5. Stanislav Kozubek (ASC Dukla Prague) 425
6. Pavel Zerzan (eD System-ZVVZ) 523
Polish Elite Mens ITT Results, 40km
1. Piotr Mazur (KS Romet Renex Bydgoszcz) 46m 27s
2. Bartosz Huzarski (Intel-Action) 050
3. Jaroslaw Rebiewsi (Knauf) 123
4. Piotr Przydzial (DHL-Author) 131
5. Lukasz Bodnar (Intel-Action) 133
6. Robert Radosz (Grupa PSB) 134
7. Tomasz Lisowicz (Knauf) 145
8. Cezary Zamana (Intel-Action) 152
9. Tomasz Brozyna (Intel-Action) 156
10. Michal Pawlyta (Legia Bazyliszek-Sopro) 207
Slovenian Elite Mens ITT Results, 42km
1. Gregor Gazvoda (Perutnina Ptuj) 47m 21s
2. Walter Bonca (Sava Kranj) 036
3. Dean Podgornik (Tenax) 141
4. Andrej Omulec (Radenska Rog) 205
5. David Tratnik (Radenska Rog) 242
6. Boris Premuzic (Sava Kranj) 317
Ukranian Elite Mens ITT Results, 35km
1. Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze)
2. Sergiy Matveyev (Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare)
3. Volodymir Bileka (Discovery Channel)
More results to come.