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Cyclo-x championship needs a solid partner

By Adam Marsal
Čestmír Kalaš is a legend in the Czech Cyclo-cross scene. He raised up the Tábor Cyclo-cross scene from the ground up. He brought the World cup and the World championship in Cycle-cross to Tábor.

It’s not only because of his deployment and diligence but also thanks to support from partners such as Škoda AUTO. Read the interview with the president of the Czech cyclo-cross committee and president of the organising committee for the 2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, Čestmír Kalaš.


How did the cooperation with Škoda start?

We noticed in 2000 that Škoda, the largest Czech automobile producer, was interested in cycling. We had seen the Škoda logo starting to appear on the jerseys of professional cycling teams from Italy and other countries.


Moreover it was during the time, when Škoda signed partnership with Tour de France and it was clear that cycling is interesting topic for them. In year 2000 we signed up the contract with director of Škoda for our historically first world championship set in 2001.

What was your partnership based on?

We’d already had experience running a Championship. The Czech National Cup had eight competitions and with fantastic spectator support. The World Championship was broadcast live all around the world and had amazing audience figures. Škoda provided a fleet of cars for the trainer and organisers. A Škoda car lease was part of the price package for the winner of the Czech Cup.


Has the form of support changed over time?

Everything goes forward. Škoda gained more experience, especially in their support of Tour de France. During the long-time cooperation the quantity and quality of advertising has grown. We now have more resources for the World Championship on a level which such an event rightly deserves.

Did other car companies compete to be your sponsor?

Truthfully yes. But we are Czechs and Škoda is the best car for us. Our representation trainer drives about 100,000 kilometres a year! He drives regularly to Belgium – it is cold outside so he jumps in his car and drives back home without any stop. Always any problems too.


Škoda has stayed strong with us even when we didn’t have such results as we had expected. They always hold us and we will hold them back. It’s simply clever.

How hard is it to prepare for such a big event?

The preparation takes two years. Last year before the event starts we are pursuing team with four people. Lot of things has to be done from securing the track to establishing press center. Last week before the start we have 300 people working on the track. Except the other things we must for example build 8 kilometers long barricades that separate the audience from racers.