David Vršecký ranked ninth in the handicap race in Smolensk. Yuri Jegorov ranked eleventh.
As the title reveals, David suffered all race through. "Mika Mäkinem did not manage the start and virtually blocked the whole even line, I suddenly found myself ranking ninth," described David the beginning of the race. This was not he end of his trouble, though. He found in front of him another "top blocker" René Reinert. David was immediately clear that this was the end of racing for the time being. "Last year I ranked second after him in the handicap race. I did understand the relentlessness with which he struggled for his first and so far last victory. But the way he approached today ´s duel for the eighth rank entertained and annoyed me at the same time." In the middle of the race David came to the conclusion that the rest of the starting field had developed a substantial advantage and potential overtaking Reinert and one extra point would not resolve anything. "This is also what our sport is sometimes about. I calculated with three or four extra points after today. I hope I will cope with this tomorrow."