Arthur Green Lost In Prague
Early morning trip to Stanstead Airport was going well until a major snowstorm hit, well major in British terms then in traditional fashion I got lost, damn.
It was if the snow was a complete surprise no gritters nothing, the car park number plate recognition cameras could not deal with snow, it was all going wrong I skidded my car to a halt and hopped on the transfer bus, fair play to the driver his vision was severely impaired and the bus was on the slide, still we made it , I thanked him, check in was normal…But then the hour and a half sitting on the plane waiting to be de-iced, what fun!
I went to the wrong train station for Tabor but a very pleasant gentleman took the time to walk me in the correct direction, I shook his hand and bid him farewell.
Now sitting on a train that reminds me of my childhood in the days we travelled to school and stuck our heads out the window's and other teenage things, the new problem I have is no ticket, but thankfully that worked out ok the nice lady conductor sold me one and gave it the official stamp.
The trip to Tabor takes you through some pleasant countryside that was mainly covered in snow, as we passed through staions the Station Master came out to supervise the trains passing he was dressed in a splendid uniform topped off with a striking red cap, arriving in Tabor I followed a bunch of Flemish speaking men with blue hats assuming they knew where they were going, they did... then a bit more investigative work and I found the accreditation office/press room.
I managed a few snaps of riders training but they were few and far between so it was back to the press room to get a photo bib, well that was what I thought but my bad luck
continued according to the UCI, I had ticked the wrong box so no bib this was a massive disappointment after the effort of getting here, and I immediately thought that I would rather be bird watching and not following cycling.
Disheartened I took off for the train back to Prague not really knowing where I was going until a lovely old lady walked with me and pointed me in the right direction, this was the plus side to the day, the out and out friendliness of the Czech people.
After wandering around in a daze for a full ten minutes I eventually found someone who knew where I need to go "Turn left at the tramps" he said no he didn't he said "Turn left at the trams"
The building was huge, I worryingly got the tiny lift to the ffth floor, and was greated by Werner brandishing a incense stick, yet another friendly face, things picked up a bit after receiving a e mail from the lovely laura from the U.C.I saying that I was going to be alllowed a photo bib, Phew! so with that news it was bed.
I was to meet Pim (Dutch Photographer -Peloton Photos) after a few coffees and pastries that I have to say could rival anything I have ever had in France, we boarded the train choosing one of te new rolling stock and settled into our commute.
After sorting the bib out, and a few more coffees and a sneaky donut it was out into the cold Tabor air for the first race of the weekend, Junior Men probably our best chance in the race was Alfie Mose, but Alfie had one of those days and probably didn't perform as well as he would of liked but was very upbeat and professional at the end happy to have had the opportunity to race the Worlds.
Arthur Green (above) also had a fantastic race finishing 28th, but not as good as the Danish mountain bike rider who beat race favourite Belgian Eli Iserbyt in spectacular fashion, and with the best celebration of the weekend.
Race two and it was time for the women including under 23's and juniors, the good news coming out of Tabor is that there will be a separate race for the women in Zolder next year.
We were represented by British Champion Helen Wyman, Nikki Harrris Hannh Payton and junior Amira Mellor, who was the youngest in the race.
Helen got a cracking start taking the race by the scruff of the neck with the others all settling into the race but Hannah had some bad luck in running being brought down early on.
Amira was riding out of her skin not looking out of place in the elite race, most definitly a contender for the junior title in Zolder next year, finally finishing in 28th.
It was Nikki Harris that was mixing it up in the front group battling for a medal, with Marianne Vos and Catherina Nash, Sanna Cant and Pauline Ferrand Prevot were having there own battle in the front for the gold medal.
Nikki fought so hard fighting to stay with the lead group and was up into fourth, Nash was pushing too hard and crashed twice, but Nikki was unable to bring back Vos to get the bronze, but was more than happy with fourth and so she should be, Nikki gave it her all and us a great day out.
The race for the gold came down to a sprint with Prevot coming out on top much to the dissapointment of Sanna Cant.
Best question in the press conference from a Dutch journalist to Cant and Prevot " what percentage was Vos riding at today" both looked confused Marianne " Hello I am here, not on holiday" Marianne looked content with her bronze, Cant however sat there looking very upset and angry, latter saying she was the first real cross rider over the line, a quote that I doubt will make her many friends in the womens peloton.
The Under 23 race was pretty much over and done with from the start with Michael Vantournhout beating pre-race favourite Laurens Sweeck.
Michael Vantournhout World Under 23 Cyclocross Champion 2015 Tabor It was a series of bad luck for two of our riders with Jack Clarkson breaking his shoe, and Ben Sumner shipping his chain six, yes six times, how can that happen? Nicholas Barnes however was happy with his ride and already looking forward to next year, I manage to ask Ben a stupid question, did you enjoy your day ? a photographer said "he shipped his chain six times, how could he f@@king enjoy his day" Ha! I was only trying to raise his mood.
Jack 'Splats' Clarkson Last race of the day was the hotly anticipated Elite Mens Race, was it going to be the old guard, with Kevin Pauwels leading the old boys or Mathieu van der Poel and the young pretenders, van der Poel didn't quite disappear into the distance has he's done before, but it wasn't long before he put clean air between himself, Pauwels, Lars van der Haar and Wout van Aert leaving them to fight out the other medals. After his poor start and bad luck van Aert rode himself into second lapping the fastest of the lot, this year seems to be the uprising of the new stars of cyclocross, and the future looks bright.