GeneralNewsTeam 18: Slovakia

Avatar Kieran JonesNovember 1, 2011

Slovakia

2009-2010 Nations Cup Ranking: 16th (419 pts)

2010-2011 Nations Cup Ranking: 18th (377 pts)

Men: 18th (47 pts)

Women: 13th (330 pts)

2011/2012 World Cup Team

Men

Martin Bajcicak

Peter Mlynar

Women

Alena Prochazkova

Katarina Garajova

 

What You May Have Missed Last Season

Alena Prochazkova was by far and away the biggest Slovak standout on the World Cup, as she amassed 315 World Cup points single-handedly – good enough for 22nd in the World Cup overall standings.

At 28 years old, Prochazkova has been a strong sprinter for the last several seasons, and gets the job done in both skate and classic. This past season she went 7 for 9 in qualifying for sprints on the World Cup, and in the two days she failed to qualify, she finished 31st and 35th.

While she failed to pick up a medal this past season, she had enviable experience of facing what was possibly the toughest womens final in the history of sprint racing during World Championships in Oslo.

Sure, she finished last, and was out-gunned pretty much the entire way around the course, but when you’re up against Marit Bjoergen, Petra Majdic, Justyna Kowalczyk, Arianna Follis, and Vesna Fabjan, it’s no cakewalk. By FasterSkier calculations, that’s over 150 World Cup medals in one heat – pretty impressive.

Martin Bajcicak was tops in very quiet mens squad, and at 35 he posted his smallest World Cup points total since 2003, when he was already a 6-year veteran of the circuit.

What You Need To Know for This Season

It isn’t enough that Bajcicak is the top points producer, and one of the two men on the Slovakian National Team – he’s also listed as the mens’ team coach on their website. He’s in the twilight of his career, and it’s not difficult to imagine that he is eyeing up the position for when he retires.

According to a recent interview, Prochazkova is skipping the first World Cup weekend in Beitostolen, Norway, in favour of focusing on the mini-tour in Kuusamo, Finland, the following week. In the interview she also mentioned her goals were to finish in the top 10in the Sprint Cup, and that while funding for Slovakian sport has been reduced, she has not been affected.

Who You Should Watch

Peter Mlynar is still young, and has had a few bright spots, including a 12th place in the team sprint in Oslo, where he and Ivan Batory paired up. The 23 year old hasn’t had much success on the World Cup to date, but cleaned up on the lower-level Slavic Cup last season, winning two sprints.

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Kieran Jones

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