Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsRadomir Simunek - Top 'Cross Performer for a Decade

Radomir Simunek – Top ‘Cross Performer for a Decade


Radomir Simunek
Radomir Simunek.

San Luis and the Tour Down Under are all very well – the world turns and we must ‘Mondialise’ mustn’t we?

But they steal the limelight from what really matters in January in the northern hemisphere – the six days and cyclocross.

The ‘cross worlds are on the horizon (12 days 15 hours 7 minutes so the Championship website tells me) and here at VeloVeritas we’ve been catching up with a few of the men who’ll be in the mix over the 3.4 kilometre circuit in Hoogerheide in the Netherlands province of North Brabant come the 1st and 2nd of February.

We spoke to former U23 World Champion Philipp Walsleben recently and today it’s the turn of the man with one of the most famous names in the sport.

The Czech Republic’s Radomir Simunek junior shares his name with his father who remains the only man ever to be a world champion at junior, amateur and professional cyclocross levels.

Radomir senior died tragically early at just 48 years-of-age in 2010.

Young Radomir has been a runner up in the Worlds at both Junior and U23 levels but has had the misfortune to be a round at the same time as his countryman Zdenek Stybar – one of the most gifted cyclocross performers in the sport’s history.

Despite this, Simunek has been a top performer on the circuit for a decade.

Turning pro with Mr. Bookmaker in 2005 he then rode for Palmans from 2006 to 2008 and BKCP from 2009 to 2012 before signing, last year with his current Belgian Kwadro Stannah squad – respectively, manufacturers of doors & windows and stair lifts.

Simunek was seventh in the Louisville Worlds in 2013 and will be looking for the snow to fall again in Hoogerheide.

Was there ever any doubt that you would become a cyclocross rider?

“I don’t think so, really.

“I played hockey for a long time until the age of 15 then I realized I wanted to be good at just one sport – cyclocross.

“And I wanted to be in the best condition to ride them well.”

Your late father must have been such an inspiration to you?

“He was – I remember when I told him that I wanted to ride a bike his eyes lit up and it gave me a lot of strength.”

You were second in the Junior Worlds to countryman Martin Bina – and now you are team-mates, a decade later…

“Martin – yes, we shared the same colours in 2004 and 2005 with the Czech team Author; then I went to Belgium whilst he remained at home in the Czech Republic.

“I am glad that we are together again in Team Kwadro Stannah; he’s a good friend.”

Radomir Simunek
Radomir is focused on the World Championship.

Then you were second to Zdenek Stybar in the U23 Worlds – it must be frustrating for you to be around at the same time as him – he’s denied you National and World titles.

“That’s life … Zdenek is an excellent rider and his quality is confirmed by his road results – in 2013 he was strong in Paris-Roubaix, won the Benelux Tour and a Vuelta stage, remember?”

Belgium must be like your second home – do you live there during the season?

“Yes, this is my second home, I live there all season.”

How’s your Vlaams?

“My Flemish language is quite good, I get by without any problems – it’s better than my English!”

Tell us about your Kwadro-Stannah team, please.

“It’s a young team, just founded last year – I’m happy that I was there at it’s foundation.

“The aim now is that every year we want to improve”

What is your favourite type of parcours and favourite venue?

“I like the course at Zolder a lot – my favourite parcours is one where there’s a lot of ice and snow.”

Do you ride a road programme in the summer?

“Yes, I ride with the team on the road – we have a programme of somewhere around 20-25 races.”

The Xmas/New Year period is very hectic for a ‘cross rider – how do you handle it?

“Yes, it’s a time when you have to be especially prepared mentally – there’s a great strain on both the body and the head…”

Radomir Simunek
Radomir flies the young Kwadro-Stannah team’s colours in the World Cups.

Are you an ‘equipment guy’ or do you leave that to the mechanics?

“I leave everything to them one hundred percent – and I trust them.”

You rode well in Louisville in the Worlds, what do you think of the US ‘cross scene?

“In the U.S. it’s a different mentality with the fans – like in all their sport, people there want more show.

“It’s just too bad it’s so far away.”

Van Der Haar has really burst onto the scene – too good, too soon?

“Lars is very good and I think he’ll be to the fore for a long time; but in The Netherlands he already has a big competitor coming along – Mathieu Van Der Poel.”

Hoogerheide for the Worlds – what do you think of that course?

“It’s a course where a lot will depend on the weather – at that venue it really affects the track.

“But the World Championships is a special race and anything can happen…”

What do you still you have ‘to do’ in cyclocross?

“I still have the goal of winning the World Championships.”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Ian Field National Champion!

It feels good just writing the words, Ian Field National Champion. I left you at the end of my last blog sat on the sofa watching the Superprestige race in Diegem unable to race due to a back injury.

Ian Field Blog: My World Cup Campaign Kicks Off

Ian Field Blog. Hey, my lack of blogs and reports are due to me being a busy bike rider over the past few days! I'll start at the beginning...

Steve Douce – Seven Times British Cyclo-Cross Champion

Over the last couple of winters we’ve tracked down and spoken to some of the ‘greats’ of British cyclo-cross, John Atkins, Keith Mernickle, Chris Wreghitt and Barry Davies to name four. But our Spanish mentor, Al Hamilton pointed out to us that we hadn't spoken to the man who won the title seven times in the 80’s and 90’s – Steve Douce.

Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championship 2008

On a freezing, grey, Sunday afternoon on the frost hardened grass and mud of Dundee's Caird Park, Scotland's newest professional, Ross Creber gave his sponsors, Plowman Craven their first national cyclo-cross title. The slim mountain biker was head and shoulders above the rest; a gutsy ride from Greig Walker (Edinburgh RC) gave him the silver medal ahead of junior, Kenta Gallacher (Team 777) who took bronze.

Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championship 2007

Craig Hardie (Dunfermline CC) disproved the old adage that; "a good big 'un, will always beat a good little 'un," when the 37 year-old from Dalgety Bay left his much-taller rival Dan Whitehead several lengths back to win the Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championships 2007 on a snowy and technical circuit at Plean Country Park.

John Atkins – Britain’s greatest ever cyclo-cross rider; 13 times a British Champion

John Atkins is Britain’s greatest ever cyclo-cross rider; 13 times a British champion and still the nation’s best ever finisher in the Worlds – and at a time when ‘cross gods, the de Vlaeminck brothers were at their zenith. He lives quietly in retirement in Wales, doesn’t ‘do the internet’ and isn’t a man for the ‘stats.’ He was surprised we wanted to speak to him but gave freely of his time and anecdotes. Here’s what John had to say to VeloVeritas just after young van der Poel had won the Worlds in Tabor.

At Random

Glasgow and Scotland to host inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships 2023

The UCI is delighted to announce that Glasgow and Scotland have been awarded the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships.The historic and innovative event will take place over two weeks in August 2023.

Memories of Jason MacIntyre

Six years ago Jason MacIntyre was fatally injured in a collision with a lorry whilst out for an easy ride around his home town of Fort William. Jason had won British Championships in a convincing manner and by doing so - and in the way he conducted himself on and off the bike - he had forced his way into the attentions of British Cycling.

The Gordon Arms Trophy 2007

The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even overshoes the choice for many riders too.

Bremen Six Day 2019 – Nights One, Two and Three

It’s always cold at the Bremen Six Day, the Baltic is just up the road so you get cold or cold and wet; today it’s the latter but the cabin has a window so we can at least see the sky – not like the usual breeze block with no windows.

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Nine, Back to School

Tobago is hot, real hot, damn hot - it's just the strong breeze which is preventing certain parts of me from spontaneously combusting. We're staying in Viola's at Lowland, which is the flat coastal strip between the capital of Scarborough and where we are now - Pigeon Point at the south west tip of the island.

Richard Davison – “Personalised coaching employing genomics is the coming thing”

It’s not often we have a professor in the pages of VeloVeritas but that’s exactly what Richard Davison is; as well as Assistant Dean (International) at the University of the West Coast of Scotland. He was also instrumental in the setting up of British Cycling’s current coaching system and does ‘one on one’ coaching with riders. Richard was also a successful rider on the Scottish scene a year or two back – and that’s where our interview starts...