Skiing World Championship in Planica. Pictured from left are Swedish skiers Emma Ribom, Jonna Sundling and Maja Dahlqvist in Slovenia on February 23, 2023.
Planica (Slovenia) – Skier Michal Novák finished fourth at the world championships in Planica and won in this discipline, the best Czech result at the top event in history. In the final, the twenty-six-year-old runner was not enough for the defending champion of Norway Johannes Hösflot Klaeb, the second was his compatriot Paal Golberg, and the bronze was won by the Frenchman Jules Chappaz. About three and a half seconds separated Novák from the podium. Sweden's Jonna Sundlingová defended the gold among women.
Photogallery: 2023 WC Classic Skiing in Planica
Novák, a native of Karlovy Vary, beat Martin Koukal's previous Czech maximum in the sprint, who finished fifth in 2003. The last time Aleš Ryzý was in the final in the speed discipline was 14 years ago in Liberec. Among the Czech representatives, the last time he won a valuable metal was at the World Championships in 2015 by Lukáš Bauer, who took silver in the classic 50 kilometer race in Falun.
Among the women, Tereza Beranová was the best finisher today, making it to the semi-finals and finishing twelfth overall. Kateřina Janatová, Barbora Antošová, Luděk Šeller and Ondřej Černý were eliminated in the quarter-finals, only the forty-third Adéla Nováková did not make it to the top thirty.
Novák equaled his personal best in the sprint, he was also fourth this season at the start of the Tour de Skiing in Val Müstair. The eleventh man in the running order of the World Cup confirmed the role of the Czech number one already in the qualification, when he clocked the fourth fastest time. He was second to Chappaz in the quarter-finals and succeeded in the semi-finals thanks to his time from third place.
On the other hand, the winner of the qualification, Norwegian Erik Valnes, ended up in the semi-finals. The defender of the silver medal stepped on his ski on the climb, broke it, and after the fall was left lying in the snow in frustration.
Novák held on to the medal positions at the beginning of the final race, but in the second half Golberg and Chappaz and the Czech got past him the representative did not make up for the loss in the end. Still, he held off Sweden's Calle Halfvarsson and France's Lucas Chanavat for a career-best finish at the top event.
World Cup leader Klaebo won his third consecutive world gold in the sprint and his seventh world championship triumph at the same time. He also won in the same discipline at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang 2018 and last year in Beijing.
Swedes won the women's race. In addition to the victorious Sundlingová, her compatriot Emma Ribomová took the silver, Maja Dahlqvistová finished third and another Linn Svahnová was fourth.
World Championships in Classic Skiing in Planica (Slovenia):
Sprint classic (1.4 km):
Men: 1. Klaebo 2:56 .07, 2. Golberg (both Nor.) -2.22, 3. Chapaz (Fr.) -2.24, 4. Novák (Czech Republic) -5.90, 5. Halfvarsson (Swed.) -11.64 , 6. Chanavat (Fr.) -32.27, …23. Šeller, 28. Černý (both Czech Republic).
Women: 1. Sundlingová 3:21.67, 2 Ribomová -0.87, 3. Dahlqvistová -4.45, 4. Svahnová (all Swedes) -8.06, 5. Skistadová -10.93, 6. T.U. Wengová (both Nor.) -27,29, …12. Beranová, 17. Janatová, 28. Antošová, in the qualification 43. A. Nováková (all Czech Republic).