"There are great people here. I always feel welcome and accepted. When riding through the stadium, I can hear them chanting my name and not so much names of the other foreign riders. This feels so good. But I am certain it is not because of my results as I have never won here in Nové Město na Moravě. Well, actually, I have... But then, the race was called Vysočina Cup and organizing a World Cup event was just something people talked about," the thirty-six-year old biker from the Multivan Merida team says.
Jose came to the Czech Republic on Monday already, and spent two days in Prague. The Czech capital is one of his favourite destinations, too, as he proves by his numerous appearances at the Pražské schody race. "I don't even know how many times have I ridden the stairs of Schody," Hermida, a teammate of Ondřej Cink, says. "The atmosphere is always pleasant here, and I feel almost at home here. But you have got a bunch of great riders, too, like Kulhavý, Hynek or Cink, you do not need to adopt a Spanish biker and make him almost a home rider. You have got enough of your own," Jose laughs and slaps Hynek and Škarnitzl on backs. It is shortly after the Pražské schody race has finished and they are standing right next to him, behind the finish line at Hradčanské náměstí. Jose was second.
But now he is focusing on Nové Město only. He had not raced for quite a long time as he had been struggling with various diseases after finishing Cape Epic, and the Pražské schody race was the first race after Africa that he finished! This was why he raced hard: It was his last test before the first of the season's pinnacles.
"Personally, I think that spectators can be looking forward to a hugely nervous race in Nové Město. I predict that the first three laps will be intense and very interesting. Everyone will try to show off their strength," José speculates. But neither him, nor anyone else what the race will look like.“
"Each of us has a different racing agenda, so the top riders will really meet only now at the Vysočina. And with the exception of Florian Vogel, who has won every race he has started at so far, almost everyone's results are basically up and down now," says Jose, suggesting his prediction of the winner.
The racing programme starts at 4:30 PM with Women U23 race. Men U23, starting at 9 AM, will be the opener on Sunday that will be followed by Elite Women at 11:15 AM. And at 2:15 PM, the highlight of the first WC race will be started: Men Elite race.