UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships XCO: Triple for Swiss and unstoppable Julie Bresset
The Swiss have proved they have the best cross country riders with a triple podium in the Men’s Elite competition.
Nino Schurter ruled supreme, finishing in first followed by the Flückiger brothers Lukas, the older in second and Mathias the younger came in third. In the women’s race, French Julie Bresset won with a big lead over Gunn Rita Dahle Flesja from Norway who placed second. Georgia Gould from the USA took bronze.
The podium was completely red and white, as the Swiss riders were unbeatable today and took the first three places in the Cross Country Men’s Elite final. More than 12,000 visitors witnessed their triple victory, with a long-awaited Gold medal for Olympic silver medalist, Nino Schurter. With a comfortable 29 second lead ahead of the second and third placed Flückiger brothers, who struggled to keep the pace up. The sound on the4.5km course was dominated by the noise of the famous Swiss cowbells that the numerous Swiss fans brought with them. With temperatures reaching 27°C degrees and a cloudless sky, Schurter struggled in the first five laps to defend his leading position. In the beginning he rode against fellow Swiss rider Fabian Giger (who later finished fifth) and Olympic third placed Marco Aurelio Fontana from Italy. In the later stages Marco fought hard with Schurter until the sixth of eight laps when a crash put Marco out of contention for a win in Saalfeden. Lukas Flückiger came in second and finished without any serious pressure from behind. In the final lap, his brother Mathias found some reserve in his legs and passed French Julien Absalon who achieved a fourth place finish.
Schurter commented on his victory as follows: “It was a really nice revenge for the missed Gold in London. I had a very good start and managed to control the lead throughout the race, although the fight against Marco was a real hard one. After his crash he fell behind. I found an excellent line, I felt good on the course and for me it was the perfect race. I was also looking forward to the great performance of the Flückiger-Brothers.”
Olympic Gold medalist Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) didn’t have his best day. Already in the first lap he was out of the Top Ten and could only finish as 13th.
Sidestory: Swiss rider Christoph Sauser (rank 16) participated in his 20th consecutive World Championship in Saalfelden Leogang, making him the most senior cross country elite rider of all times.
Here is the Top Ten of the XCO Men Elite 2012:
Schurter, Nino (SUI), 1:40:55
Flückiger, Lukas, (SUI), +0:29
Flückiger, Mathias (SUI), +0:51
Absalon, Julien (FRA), +1:04
Giger, Fabian (SUI), +1:16
Fontana, Marco Aurelio (ITA), +1:45
Fumic, Manuel (GER), +1:58
Stander, Burry (RSA), +2:01
Tempier, Stéphane (FRA), 2:06 Mantecon Gutierrez, Sergio (ESP), +2:53
The fight for the women’s crown was quite clear. Julie Bresset from France maintained the formidable shape she already presented at the Olympics. She finished her almost perfect season with the World Championship title. Crossing the finish line, she was 1:47 minutes ahead of second placed Gunn Rita Dahle from Norway. With 3:16 minutes to US-rider Georgia Gould who finished third.
Many of the 58 female starters had problems with the muddy and slippery downhillsections on the course in Saalfelden. The tight berms after the descents aswell as the rooty and stony passages caused a lot of crashes, also among the top riders. Best examples: Eva Lechner from Italy and German veteran SabineSpitz. Both started with top positions. Lechner was out of the medal race after a severe crash in round one, she pulled back sixth position only to crash again in the final lap and consequently finished 14th. Spitz collided with second placed Dahle Flesja and was forced off her bike two more times to avoid more crashes. However, with her very competitive run, she finished with a respectable sixth place.
But Olympic Champion and now also World Champion – Julie Bresset, was way ahead of her competitors and was a lonerider for the last five rounds. Pretty overwhelmed with her result, she commented: “It is still hard to realize what happened to me this year. I profited of course from Gunn Rita’s and Sabine’s crash. So I would say I won this race on a technicality.”
Silver medalist Dahle Flesja (39) was however really satisfied with her performance: “ After the really unlucky Olympic-competition I then got sick some weeks before, during my preparations. I didn’t think I could ride for a medal in my condition, so I am really happy with the Silver medal and the season finally ended on a high for me”
Here’s the top ten of the XCO women elite’s class:
1. Bresset, Julie (FRA), 1:32:25
2. Dahle-Flesja Gunn-Rita (NOR), +1:47
3. Gould Georgia (USA), +3:12
4. Süss, Esther (SUI), +3:22
5. Kalentieva, Irina (RUS), +3:23
6. Spitz, Sabine (GER), +3:45
7. Hurikova, Tereza (CZE), +3:50
8. Davinson, Lea (USA), +3:50
9. Dawiddowicz, Aleksandra (POL), +4,03
10. Klemencic, Blaza (SLO), +4,05
Tomorrow the World Championships will come to an end with the Cross Country Eliminator, for the first time as a worlds discipline. We will see some of the top riders again, having to prove their sprint qualities. The Eliminator starts at 1:30pm in the city centre of Saalfelden.
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Start-Ziel-Sieg für die Französin Julie Bresset
- Die Französin feiert auf den sechs Runden in der Bürgerau einen Start-Ziel-Sieg und lässt die Konkurrenz mit weiten Abständen zurück: „Ich bin überglücklich und kann es noch immer nicht fassen. Die Goldmedaille habe ich heute sicherlich in den technischen Bereichen der Strecke für mich entscheiden können.“
- Für die Norwegerin Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa ist die WM- Silbermedaille eine Olympiarevanche: „Vor wenigen Tagen bin ich noch wegen einer Grippe im Bett gelegen. Wenn mir vor einer Woche jemand gesagt hätte, dass ich heute Silber gewinne, hätte ich in ausgelacht“, strahlt die Norwegerin.
- Dritte wird – wie auch schon bei den Olympischen Spielen – die US-Amerikanerin Georgia Gould. Pech hatte die Deutsche Sabine Spitz. Nachdem sie in den ersten beiden Runden noch auf Podiumskurs gelegen war, wurde die Olympia-Silberne von einem Defekt im Hinterrad gestoppt und musste einen weiten Weg in die Wechselzone zurücklegen. Die Aufholjagd der Deutschen endete auf Rang 6.
Österreichs einzige Starterin, Lisi Osl
Lisi Osl, wird heute 16.: „Es war ein sehr hartes und spannendes Rennen. Ich habe bis zuletzt gekämpft und alles gegeben. Bei dieser Dichte kommt vieles auf die Tagesverfassung an. Ich war nach meinem gestrigen Trainingssturz leicht verunsichert. Ich werde weiter kämpfen, schließlich gehöre ich noch nicht zum alten Eisen. Die Stimmung an der Strecke war heute einfach ein Wahnsinn. Ich hatte das Gefühl, alleine auf der Strecke zu sein, weil so viele meinen Namen gerufen haben. Absolutes Gänsehautfeeling.“