||Last Updated: Feb 18th, 2016 - 21:03:51
The Ice Speedway Gladiators Team Final in Togliatti is completed and those riders participating in the Individual series and their equipment will make the long journey to Almaty in Kazakhstan where the second round will be held this weekend.
The World Championship returned to Kazakhstan after a long break last year when the event was voted a success overall. Russia’s Dmitri Kolkatov was the winner of this round on a difficult track in 2015 and with a current lead of six points over his nearest rival will be hoping for a repeat success. Compatriot Egor Myshkovets in his debut season is less familiar with the track at the Medeu Stadium but his youthful enthusiasm will compensate and a tough challenge is anticipated from him and the other top Russians.
Franz Zorn now seemingly back to his best form had a satisfactory points return from his last visit here and although he partnered his protege Manfred Seifter in the Austrian team in Togliatti they will resume their battle to be the best western rider in this series along with another debutant, Swede Ove Ledström, currently level with Zorn on 16 points. Ledström was the top individual scorer in Togliatti and has shown that he is capable of beating the best despite his limited experience. There are also several riders who will be anxious to redeem their positions having performed below expectations in Krasnogorsk.
Local rider Denis Slepukhin is the Wild Card with Pavel Nekrassov and Vladimir Cheblokov as Reserves. Germany’s Stefan Pletschacher is unwell and will not now travel to Almaty. His place will be taken by fellow countryman Max Niedermaier.
An interesting tussle is anticipated and practice will be particularly important. Not only is it necessary for safety reasons but with the Medeu Stadium at 1700m above sea level, the highest track in the world, riders needed to test their engines and adjust them to perform at their best in the in the thinner air.
Germany’s Stefan Pletschacher has withdrawn from the Almaty round due to illness which will prevent him from flying to Almaty. His place in the draw will be taken by fellow German Max Niedermaier.
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