Czech Bank takes hard route to the podium

Updated: 2007-11-30 10:58

BEAVER CREEK - He has a tiny budget and had to prepare his own skis but Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic took a podium spot in a World Cup Super Combined race on Thursday.

Bank finished third in a race won by Switzerland's Daniel Albrecht and pipped home favourite Bode Miller to a place in the top three.

Czech Republic's Ondrej Bank skis the Downhill portion of the World Cup Super Combined on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, in Beaver Creek, Colo. He finished third in the event. [Agencies] 

Not bad for a racer from a country where there is little infrastructure for professional skiers and even less in the way of financial resources -- Bank was given a paltry 1500 euros from the Czech Ski Federation to prepare for this season.

"It is pretty hard, I am trying to be as fast as the Austrians and the rest of the guys who have everything," he told reporters.

"It is not easy, I prepared my own slalom skis today. With football and (ice) hockey so popular in the Czech Republic there is not too much space for skiing."

That may be changing, however. Sarka Zahrobska is the current world champion in women's slalom and is in the chase for the World Cup title this season and now 27-year-old Bank can expect plenty of publicity back home.

"It is getting better with Sarka a world champion and I know that my result will have made a few people really happy," he said.

Asked if he could change one thing about his situation Bank highlighted financial support for the costly business of travelling the world to race.

"The money and the sponsors are important in order to be able to better prepare but the most important thing is to stay clear of injuries. I have already broken my leg twice so I know about that," he said.

Bank's previous best World Cup result was a sixth in the same event last season.

"I didn't do anything especially different from last year," he said. "I just like the hill and the snow here and enjoy competing on this course."

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