2009-2010 Nations Cup Ranking: 11th (1640 pts)
2010-2011 Nations Cup Ranking: 10th (1882 pts)
Men: 7th (1695 pts)
Women: 15th (187 pts)
2011/2012 World Cup Team
What You May Have Missed Last Season
The rise of Martin Jaks as back-up for Lukas Bauer over the course of the season was downright amazing. In 2009-2010, Jaks didn’t show up much on the radar – he scored 16 points, and was most notably a cog in the machine of the Czechs surprise Olympic-bronze medal winning relay team.
Fast forward to 2010-2011, where Jaks finished 16th in the opening 15 k skate in Gallievare, and never looked back, finishing in the points in 15 races on the circuit, and collecting a career best 438 points. That includes the entire Tour de Ski, where he also collected a bronze medal during the pursuit in Oberstorf, in what was possibly the least impressive finishing sprint last season.
Of course, Jaks may be following a little too closely in Bauers’ footsteps. The 25 year old qualified in just two sprints on the season (both during the Tour), although he finished a surprising impressive seventh in one.
Lukas Bauer himself was his usual strongman self, especially on the Final Climb during the Tour de Ski. The Czech slow-twitch muscle wonder topped Alpe Cermis 30 seconds faster than his closest competitor, and moving up from tenth place into third overall in the competition.
The Czech women were very quiet, led by Eva Nyvltova who was fairly strong during Tour de Ski, finishing a season-best eighth in the skate sprint in Toblach, Italy.
What You Need To Know for This Season
As per a recent interview with FasterSkier, Bauer is focusing in on the Tour de Ski again, and as he himself admitted, he needs to be better at sprinting to win his third Tour.
Not to belabour the point, but Bauer was the only man in the top 10 not to score a single sprint point this season. He was the closest during the Tour de Ski when he finished 34th in Toblach, Italy, in a skate sprint, sandwiched in the standings between the renowned Norwegian Snorri Einarsson and elite Frenchman Benoit-Gilles Duford.
During the off-season, the Czechs were big on biking – Bauer scaled back his usual mountain bike racing efforts to just one race, while the entire team spent a significant amount of time on two wheels.
It was a good summer off the trails as well for the Czech team, as Bauer is now $2,500 richer, (which seeing as he’s sponsored by BMW and Husqvarna, among others, he probably needs desperately), and Jaks got married!
The Czechs are also a man down – Martin Koukal, member of the Olympic bronze medal-winning relay team, and 2003 50 k skate World Champion has opted to ski on the Marathon Cup circuit this season. Interestingly, he also went on quite the South American adventure this summer.
Who You Should Watch
FasterSkier tipped Eva Nyvltova last year, and we’ll give ourselves a pat on the back for it, as she doubled her World Cup points total. And you know what? We’re going to call on Nyvltova to do it again.
While Nyvltova may not be Katerina Neumanova right now, or ever (which may be a good thing), she is the kind of solid, dependable if not flashy skier that can rack up points. At 25, she’s still young, and has just 29 career World Cup starts. Most importantly, she has shown a knack for Tour skiing, finishing 22nd and 19th in her two trips thus far.