Plzeň, 90 km west of Prague and the fourth most populous city in the Czech Republic, played host to round one of the most prestigious and hotly contested series of cyclocross in all the world, the UCI World Cup. Team Rapha FOCUS was well represented by Jeremy Powers hot off his big win in Fort Collins, CO and the team’s newest member, making her first appearance in the team livery, Julie Krazniak.

Julie Krasniak toed the line for the first time this season coming straight off of the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, DEN. And the first World Cup event of the season is quite the place to do it! Julie managed a strong ride, coming in 25th in easily one of the strongest women’s fields ever to start a World Cup. After the race, Julie reflected on Facebook:

Première coupe du monde, premiers repères en cyclo cross, un peu de mal avec… tout! le double shift qui bloque, le boyaux qui se décolle, le moteur en mode super diesel!… Une 25ème place en coupe du monde pour commencer une longue série de course et débuter l’entrainement cyclo cross!

First World Cup, first cyclo cross benchmark, a bit of trouble with… everything! [such as] the double barriers, the engine is [strong] in super diesel mode!… a 25th place in the World Cup to start a long series of cyclo cross racing and training!

You could tell it was going to be a good day when Jeremy starts off the day with a tweet like:

I woke up and said to myself. “I’m going to suffer today, a lot.” Ready for a good day, thanks for all the messages.

After an interesting start where Jeremy was luckier than many and did not get blocked at the start of the race, we saw Jeremy play it smart and stick with the front group getting ahead of the initial splits in the field, getting as high as 7th place on the stairs in the first lap. Jeremy spent much of the middle of the race with former World Champion Niels Albert chasing a hard charging front group containing the current World Champion and perennial strongman, former World Champion, and eventual winner Sven Nys. Jeremy closed out the day in 10th place, his highest career finish in a World Cup! Jeremy later reflected on twitter:

Thanks everyone for all the messages, it was a great day, met my goal of top 10. Couple [of] things to work on I’ll try for a little better in Tabor!

Back home, Chris Jones held down the fort in Southern California at Spooky Cross, recovering well from his Tour of Britain injury that kept him off the bike for the early part of the season, coming in 4th and 5th in the excellent Southern California weather.

Chris and Zach will join Jeremy and Julie next week on the site of last year’s UCI Cyclocross World Championships for World Cup #2 in Tábor, CZE.

photos by: Balint Hamvas