Reports are in from the final weekend of racing in the traditional season-opener of the Sunshine Cup. The Orange Monkey Team and guest Brits Lee Williams and Sue Clarke have been racing and we now have the final news on their three-week stint.
Sue racing in week one - week two was a little more damp to the touch
First news in from Sue Clarke on her fifth position overall in week two of the Sunshine Cup. This week weather conditions were wet and cold, putting the Brits at a distinct advantage! Over to Sue...
"I'll be back later with full rider diary but check out the results for this weekend's Sunshine Cup stage race! I was fifth overall grabbing a final podium place, taking fourth in yesterdays XC stage in terrible conditions! It is UCI S1 points which will put me in 29th in the World Rankings once updated.
"Lee did good pulling up to 16th in XC stage by the finish after a steady start."
Week Three Direct from Monkey HQ:
After having problems throughout the first two races the team were almost back to normal for the final round of the Sunshine Cup in Amathous near Limassol.
The race was set on an archaeological site right next to the sea and actually dropped onto the boardwalk over the sea during the short lap. The course was very rocky with some short sharp climbs and fast sketchy descents which was enough to keep even the best riders in the world on there toes!
After struggling with a knee injury all week Ben was less than optimistic going into the first race of the day but after a slow start gradually worked his way up to the head of the race. Suddenly he found himself in contention though and grew stronger as the race progressed before eventually pushing his way into the top three. In the final kilometres Ben was pushing second place and finished just 15 seconds adrift with an outstanding performance giving him and the team their first podium of the series! It was just reward for our star Junior rider after some bad luck in the build up to the race.
The Elite race was to be a fast hot dusty affair with 80 riders raring to tear up the tarmac on the opening start loop which dropped onto the main road along the sea front for a short period. As with Bens race it was to be a slow start for both Chris and Paul as the large field bunched up in the singletrack climb and reduced to walking pace as the first lap became a procession with riders jostling for position before eventually being strung out. Both riders were close together and whilst the guys ahead were dropping like flies from punctures, heat exhaustion and crashes the two Monkey's slowly made headway through a congested field. Chris finished the race after four hard laps in 48th position with Paul not far behind in 53rd. It was a good effort by both riders in a quality field of athletes. The race was won comfortably by an in form Jaroslav Kulvahy.
In the final race Lee Williams of Wiggle managed a creditable 32nd position while Anthony Morris took advantage of a mistake being entered into Elite for some extra training and finished 64th. Sue Clarke got 9th on the day but finished a superb 4th overall in the series.
It was a fantastic end to the series with a buffet and music making for a wonderful atmosphere in an idyllic location on the seafront.
Once again the Sunshine Cup has been a fantastic experience for the team and we would like to thank all of our sponsors, our equipment was faultless and our Cannondale Scalpels very much appreciated on the final rocky course in Amathous.
We would also like to thank Sue Clarke (Our fellow Cannondale rider), Lee Williams & Anthony Morris for their fantastic company and to the series organiser Mike and his crew at MTBCyprus.com for a wonderful series.
Its back to the cold.... Until next year!
Results - Sunshine Cup Finals
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 2:02:23
2 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:03:05
3 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Dimp -Giant 0:03:11
4 Thomas Litscher (Swi) RV Altenrhein 0:03:44
5 Frank Schotman (Ned) Stappenbelt-Specialized MTB Team 0:05:16
6 Alexey Medvedev (Rus) Corratec-Elettroveneta 0:06:05
7 Periklis Ilias (Gre) ISD Cycling Team 0:07:24
8 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 0:07:40
9 Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team 0:07:57
10 Stefan Sahm (Ger) Team Bulls 0:08:05
32 Lee Williams (GBr) Team Wiggle 0:17:15
1 Mona Eiberweiser (Ger) Central Pro Team 1:48:27
2 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Central Ghost Pro Team 0:01:03
3 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK 0:01:52
4 Anja Gradl (Ger) Central Ghost Pro Team 0:02:52
5 Janka Stavkova (Svk) CK Epic Dohnany 0:03:45
6 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team 0:04:14
7 Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:04:54
8 Barbara Benko (Hun) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team 0:05:25
9 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britain 0:05:46
10 Githa Michiels (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:06:47
Week Two Direct from Monkey HQ:
After a reasonable set of results from the riders in round 1 of the Sunshine Cup, the focus now turned to the demanding stage race in the Macheras mountains. The format for the race was a one lap Time Trial of the XC course on Friday afternoon followed by a point to point marathon the day after and finally a Cross Country race on the Sunday followed by a huge barbeque... we were looking forward to that the most!
Help flew in on the Wednesday in the form of team manager Will along with Paul's girlfriend to make sure the riders were fully looked after and could focus on the race in hand. Unfortunately preperation wasn't going according to plan with all three riders having some midweek problems. Ben hurt his knee in round one last weekend, Paul had sever toothache that had initally started after landing the week before but was now getting worse and Chris had an upset stomach leaving him with little energy.
Thursday came and the riders went to the race venue for practice only to find it under water as a constant stream of heavy rain flooded the course leaving them to make the decision to pre-ride the course early morning. Friday and the day of the Time Trial - an all out effort over a tough course with three big descents and a lot of climbing! Ben was first off and put in a brave effort fighting the pain in his knee and finishing in a creditable 7th position amongst a strong field dominated by Russians. The rain continued to pour down as both Paul and Chris got ready for their race against the clock. Paul felt good and put in a faultless ride but having not slept much since arriving in Cyprus he suffered on the climbs and his time was not as good as he had hoped for. Chris suffered all the way round and put on a brave face as he tried his best with virtually no food inside him. Paul finished the stage in 67th with Chris in 75th.
It was a disastrous start for the two Elite riders with this race being there main focus all winter the disappointment was clear to see. It had been a tough first day in appalling conditions. Rest, food and sleep and tommorrow may be better!
There were some outstanding results from our training partners with Lee Williams getting 10th in the Elite Mens beating World marathon Champion Roel Paulisson, National Champ Sue Clarke took 6th place in the Elite Women and Anthony Morris took a great 2nd place in the Masters.
With no better news overnight Chris took the bold decision to pull out of the stage race and try to recover so he could continue to train for the final race in Amathous next week. Ben started the slightly shorter course at the earlier time of 9.30am and was quick to get in amongst the leaders and put the pain of his knee to one side.
The course took in some long fire road climbs before eventually getting onto some tough singletrack climbing and then a knarly descent down onto the cross country course and back to the arena, it was a tough but challenging course and although it was no longer raining the weather was certainly not sunny and the thunder storm the night before had left plenty of water on the ground.
Ben put in a really solid performance and was just seeconds away from placing as high as fourth position. For Paul the toothache and lack of sleep had finally taken its toll and he just couldn't get up to speed and eventually blew his doors coming home near the back extremely frustrated with the performance.
Sue had a great ride to 4th position in a top quality womens field, Anthony finished 2nd to cment his place in the overall and Lee stormed to 25th in a packed mens field.
The final stage of the race was a Cross Country race and it was now left to Ben to fly the Monkey flag with both Chris and Paul not taking to the start line. Chris still had the stomach problem and paul had now had to go to hospital for a pain killing injection two nights in a row leaving him shattered and unable to race. It was immense disappointment and frustration for the two riders who have trained all winter with these races in mind.
Lee Williams Ben was still feeling some discomfort from his knee although that soon went out of his mind as the gun went and started a cold wet race around the tough circuit. As the rain lashed down ben started to feel the pain and began to drop back in the opening laps but with riders dropping like flies in the tough conditions, Ben showed great character picking off riders and moving back up through the field to finish in an excellent 8th position.
Sue, Lee and Anthony continued there impressive form with 4th, 16th and 2nd respectively.
Results - Sunshine Cup Stage Race
Stage One (Time Trial - Prologue)
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 0:21:02.90
2 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team +0:00:21.42
3 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) DIMP Giant +0:00:32.48
4 Maxim Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team +0:01:07.24
5 Jiri Friedl (Cze) 2010 Merida Biking Team +0:01:19.81
6 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 2010 Merida Biking Team +0:01:19.89
7 Moorlag Henk Jaap (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team +0:01:24.58
8 Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) V.C.Lapomme Marseille +0:01:32.74
9 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) SRM Stevens +0:01:33.65
10 Williams Lee (GBr) Team Wiggle +0:01:39.59
67 Paul Beales (GBr) Orange Monkey Cycling Team +0:05:06.42
75 Andrews Christopher (GBr) Orange Monkey Cycling Team +0:06:53.16
1 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) German National Team 0:26:55.02
2 Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus) Primorskiy District +0:00:21.85
3 Janka Stevkova (Svk) Ck Epic +0:00:58.59
4 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube Mtb Team +0:01:03.66
5 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK +0:01:19.00
6 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britain +0:01:20.16
7 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team +0:01:51.85
8 Mosch Vanessa (Ger) +0:02:12.06
9 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Look +0:02:20.86
10 Melanie Spath (Ger) Cycleways +0:02:45.05
1 Jonas Pedersen (Den) HMTBK 0:23:20.32
2 Anton Stephanov (Rus) 0:00:14.95
3 Artem Alexandrov (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:01:09.63
4 Alexey Krylov (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:01:24.35
5 Sergey Lahanov (Rus) Dinamo Moscow 0:01:30.03
6 Nikita Chubukov (Rus) Karofilm 0:02:23.33
7 Ben Roff (GBr) 0:04:35.22
8 Egor Komin (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:07:00.73
9 Eirinaios Koutsiou (Cyp) Iraklitos 0:07:34.31
10 Egor Kropachev (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:10:52.36
Stage Two (Point To Point)
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 1:49:03
2 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team 0:00:44
3 Jan Škarnitzl (Cze) Dimp Giant 0:01:59
4 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:03:10
5 Jiri Friedl (Cze) 2010 Merida Biking Team 0:03:15
6 Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) V.C.Lapomme Marseille 0:04:09
7 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 2010 Merida Biking Team 0:04:29
8 Periklis Ilias (Gre) Greek National 0:04:59
9 Thomas Dietch (Fra) Team Bulls 0:05:09
10 Frank Schotman (Ned) Stappenbelt-Specialized MTB Team 0:05:15
25 Lee Williams (GBr) Team Wiggle 0:10:25
69 Paul Beales (GBr) Orange Monkey Cycling Team 0:39:34
1 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK 1:54:18
2 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) German National Team 0:04:12
3 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team 0:07:43
4 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britain 0:09:23
5 Janka Stevkova (Svk) CK Epic 0:10:02
6 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Look 0:12:55
7 Melanie Spath (Ger) Cycleways 0:12:57
8 Anne Terpstra (Ned) Stappenbelt Specialized MTB Team 0:16:35
9 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:16:59
10 Ksenia Chernykh (Rus) Orient Giant Russia 0:19:35
1 Jonas Pedersen (Den) HMTBK 1:45:05
2 Anton Stephanov (Rus) 0:02:55
3 Alexey Krylov (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:04:34
4 Yuri Lebedev (Rus) 0:11:13
5 Egor Kropachev (Rus) Primorskiy District
6 Ben Roff (GBr) Orange Monkey 0:11:52
7 Egor Komin (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:13:52
8 Sergey Lahanov (Rus) Dinamo Moscow 0:15:35
9 Ilya Bykov (Rus) 0:16:43
10 Nikita Chubukov (Rus) Karofilm 0:17:58
Stage Three (XC Race)
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 2:06:29
2 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad 0:00:12
3 Periklis Ilias (Gre) Greek National 0:01:13
4 Jan Škarnitzl (Cze) Dimp Giant 0:01:56
5 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:03:43
6 Henrique Avancini (Bra) ISD Cycling Team 0:03:54
7 Maxim Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team 0:04:39
8 Anton Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team 0:05:06
9 Henk Japp Moorlag (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team 0:06:47
10 Frank Schotman (Ned) Stappenbelt-Specialized Mtb Team 0:06:53
16 Lee Williams (GBr) Team Wiggle 0:11:06
1 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK 1:41:21
2 Janka Stevkova (Svk) Ck Epic Dohnany 0:00:31
3 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube Mtb Team 0:01:12
4 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britain 0:01:26
5 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) German National Team 0:03:48
6 Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:04:08
7 Melanie Spath (Ger) Cycleways 0:04:28
8 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:08:30
9 Vanessa Mosch (Ger) 0:10:35
10 Githa Michiels (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:10:37
1 Jonas Pedersen (Den) HMTBK 0:21:53
2 Anton Stephanov (Rus) 0:00:54
3 Artem Alexandrov (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:05:53
4 Egor Kropachev (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:07:56
5 Ilya Bykov (Rus) 0:13:22
6 Ilya Dushakov (Rus) Dinamo Moscow 0:14:39
7 Andrey Shirobokov (Rus) Dinamo Moscow 0:24:57
8 Ben Roff (GBr) 0:27:34
Final Standings After Three Stages
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 4:16:34
2 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad 0:01:17
3 Jan Škarnitzl (Cze) Dimp Giant 0:04:28
4 Periklis Ilias (Gre) Greek National 0:07:56
5 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:08:55
6 Henrique Avancini (Bra) ISD Cycling Team 0:11:22
7 Anton Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team 0:13:20
8 Frank Schotman (Ned) Stappenbelt-Specialized Mtb Team 0:14:38
9 Maxim Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team 0:15:36
10 Timofey Ivanov (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:17:04
16 Lee Williams (GBr) Team Wiggle 0:23:10
1 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK 4:03:53
2 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) German National Team 0:06:41
3 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube Mtb Team 0:08:40
4 Janka Stevkova (Svk) Ck Epic 0:10:13
5 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britain 0:10:51
6 Melanie Spath (Ger) Cycleways 0:18:52
7 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Belgian Cycling Team 0:26:03
8 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Look 0:30:11
9 Anne Terpstra (Ned) Stappenbelt Specialized Mtb Team 0:31:14
10 Mosch Vanessa (Ger) 0:31:50
Direct from Monkey HQ:
The team have been travelling to Cyprus for five years now to take part in this prestigious series and this year is no different! Joined by British Champion Sue Clarke, top Elite rider Lee Williams and endurance specialist Anthony Morris, our three weeks on the island are an ideal opportunity to race and train with the World's best mountain bikers.
The Sunshine Cup series takes place over three consecutive weekends and consists of an opening XC race in the small village of Voroklini in week one, a tough three day stage race in the mountains in week two and a final XC race in Amathous for week three.
Week One, Race One
The first race of the Sunshine Cup saw us waking up to cloudy skies but it wasn't long before the cloud had gone and the beaming hot sun was shining brightly off the chalky trails. And when you consider it's snowing in the UK life couldn't get better!
Ben Roff was the first Monkey to go at the early time of 9.30am against a quality UCI Junior field. A bad start didn't deter the youngster from getting in the mix and he was soon up with the leaders before over-shooting a corner and dropping his chain leaving him to play catch up with the leading group. By now the sun was hot and the climbs seriously hard on a technical course. Ben came in shattered in tenth spot after a solid opening race. The senior race was at 11.30 and the hottest time of the day with temperatures reaching as high as 85 degrees.
In the Elite race Paul was surprisingly gridded high up the field starting just behind World Marathon Champion Roel Paulisson. The start was frantic and included a long start loop before seven tough laps of the challenging course.
Paul started slowly and never really managed to get into a good rhythm while Chris Andrews put in a huge effort on the first lap to move up through a congested field, which many compared to a mini World Cup such was the standard of rider!
Chris finished a creditable 44th while Paul was disappointed to finish in 61st never really having managed to get going in the heat.
It was a reasonable first race for the team having arrived only two days before the race start and now the focus moves onto the stage race which starts in five days time!
It was a mixed bag for our training partners as Sue Clarke (Cannondale) also struggled in the heat but still managed a good seventh place while Lee Williams (Team Wiggle) crashed after being in touch with the leaders and managed to finish the race battered and bruised in 49th position. There was joy for Anthony Morris (Evans Cycles) finishing third in the Masters category.
1 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Giant Team - Czech 2:14:06
2 Jiri Friedl (Cze) Giant Team - Czech 0:00:21
3 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Belgium National Team 0:00:38
4 Christoph Soukup (Aut) Merida Racing 0:01:08
5 Frank Schotman (Ned) 0:01:49
6 Henrique Avancini (Bra) ISD Team 0:02:37
7 Lindgren Emil (Swe) Giant Rabobank 0:03:23
8 Maxim Gogolev (Rus) Corratec Team 0:03:55
9 Alexey Medvedev (Rus) 0:04:12
10 Thomas Litscher (Swi) 0:04:49
1 Annika Langvad (Den) HMTBK 1:58:24
2 Janka Stevkova (Svk) CK Epic Dohnany 0:02:00
3 Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus) Primorskiy District 0:03:02
4 Melanie Spath (Ger) Cycleways 0:06:15
5 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team 0:08:45
6 Githa Michiels (Bel) Belian National Team 0:09:09
7 Suzanne Clarke (GBr) Great Britian 0:09:46
8 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Look 0:12:03
9 Yana Klishina (Rus) Dinamo Moscow 0:16:06
10 Elena Gogoleva (Rus) 0:16:39