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2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup R2, Dalby Forest
Elite Women & Men Cross-County
Words and Photography By Luke Webber & Phil Ingham
Posted May 22 2011
Dalby World Cup Homepage
ELITE MEN SLIDESHOW
ELITE WOMEN SLIDESHOW
Elite Men: The Elite Men's race at the 2011 Dalby World Cup was a fitting conclusion to a weekend of action, where the quality of the racing was uniformly excellent. Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic led the race almost from start to finish, but it was anything but a procession as he came under pressure from Julien Absolon of France, whilst behind them a huge battle for third raged right to the line.
The big field got a clean start and it was Manual Fumic who led them onto the short start loop through the Dixon's Hollow 4-Cross complex. Close behind were winner of the first round of the World Cup series, Nino Schurter, and Marco Fonatana, the champion of Italy.
Jaroslav Kulhavy climbs away from the Worry Gill technical section
The world champion, Jose Hermida of Spain, was also well placed and he led as the riders came through at the start of their first full lap after four minutes of racing. Lined out behind him were Schurter, Fumic, Fonatana and the Czech rider Kulhavy.
And it was Kulhavy who made the first significant move of the race, breaking free on the first lap and rapidly building up a 25 second lead over a chasing bunch of ten riders. Kulhavy continued to grow his lead through the first half of the second lap and the rest of the field were in danger of losing touch. When a response came, it was from the Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France, who also broke clear and set off on a mission to track down the flying leader.
This leading pair rapidly built their respective leads over the big group of chasers: Kulhavy had 25 seconds over Absalon at the end of the third lap, with the chasers, now somewhat depleted in number, a further 35 seconds back. By the half way stage of the six lap race, it was already looking like the winner could only come from the two leaders, and the main question was whether Absalon could hunt down Kulhavy.
For a time the French legend did seem to have the legs to get up to the leader and by the start of the fourth lap he was only 20 seconds down as both riders flowed smoothly up the technical rock climb of Worry Gill. However, Kulhavy kept up the pressure and suddenly his lead doubled to some 40 seconds.
Kulhavy never faltered from there on in and he crossed the line after six laps in just over 100 minutes, 50 seconds clear of Absalon. It was an outstanding win: he was brave and committed virtually from the start of the race and never showed any signs he was under pressure once he was away alone. For Absalon it was another second place - he missed out in a much closer finish with Schurter in the 2010 Dalby race and has developed a habit of just missing big wins. But it was nonetheless a fine ride by a superstar still at the top of his game.
The battle for third was almost like a separate race from the half way point. The leading duo were gone, but as late as the fourth lap there was a train of ten riders fighting for third. At the bell, five riders - Fumic, Christoph Sauser, Fontana, Burry Stander and Moritz Milatz - were still locked together with attacks coming thick and fast.
There was, inevitably, something of a last lap shake up, with Fontana, Fumic and Milatz still in the mix throughout and they were joined in the approach to the finish by Maxime Marotte of France who made an impressive move through the field in the last half hour. These four riders contested a sprint finish, with Fontana just taking third from Marotte, Fumic and Milatz. Burry Stander, Christoph Sauser, Nino Schurter and Thomas Litscher of Switzerland rounded out the top ten.
Oli Beckingsale, the leading British finisher in the Elite Men's race
Of the leading British riders, Oli Beckingsale got a great start and circulated the whole race in the low twenties, eventually claiming 23rd place, a fine effort, especially considering that he also had to cope with a puncture and a snapped front gear cable! Liam Killeen, in contrast, had a poor start and struggled to make progress from there on. The shorter races we are now seeing at the World Cup don't give much scope for his trademark late charge through the field and although he picked up a handful of places in the closing laps, he finished only 30th, compared to his grid position of 27th. Veteran Nick Craig, now the wrong side of 40, rolled back the years a little to end up 81st and third best British finisher.
1 KULHAVY Jaroslav CZE19850108 SPECIALIZED RACING 1:40:53
2 ABSALON Julien FRA19800816 ORBEA +00:50
3 FONTANA Marco Aurelio ITA19841012 CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING +01:39
4 MAROTTE Maxime FRA19861205 BH - SUNTOUR - PEISEY VALLANDRY +01:39
5 FUMIC Manuel GER19820330 CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING +01:40
6 MILATZ Moritz GER19820624 BMC MOUNTAINBIKE RACING TEAM +01:40
7 STANDER Burry RSA19870916 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:51
8 SAUSER Christoph SUI19760413 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:52
9 SCHURTER Nino SUI19860513 SCOTT - SWISSPOWER MTB - RACING +01:58
10 LITSCHER Thomas SUI19890514 FELT OETZTAL X - BIONIC TEAM +02:00
23 BECKINGSALE Oliver GBR19760607 +05:03
30 KILLEEN Liam GBR19820412 GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM +06:12
81 CRAIG Nicholas GBR19690403 +11:48
94 WILLIAMS Lee GBR19840730 +13:05
96 COLLINS David GBR19760723 +14:05
100 HENDERSON Dave GBR19830426 -1LAP
107 ADAMS Ross GBR19830920 -1LAP
110 COCKBURN Andrew GBR19800419 -2LAP
114 MONTGOMERIE Gareth GBR19821125 -2LAP
115 WHITTINGTON John GBR19880409 -2LAP
117 SCHOLTES Brice BEL19880731 G - SKIN - DEFORCHE MTB RACING TEAM -2LAP
118 ROBERTSON Paul GBR19760731 -2LAP
119 CRAWFORTH Jody GBR19800804 -3LAP
Elite Women: The Elite Women's Race was won by France's Julie Bresset after five laps of the Dalby course in high winds, with intermittent heavy showers. She was accompanied by the winner of the first round of the World Cup, Chengyuan Ren of China, for the foirst four laps, but went clear on the last lap and came in to win alone.
The race got underway with a short start loop and Chengyuan Ren was at th ehad of the race from the gun, with Lene Byberg and Nathalie Schneitter on her wheel. By the time the riders had tackled the descent of Worry Gill and the climbs at the back of the course, the field had begun to fragment. Chengyuan Ren had eked out a ten second lead over Bresset, with Poland's Maja Wloszczowska and Sabine Spitz of German chasing a further 16 seconds back.
France's Julie Bresset leads Chengyuan Ren of China
The Chinese rider looked briefly to have the race in her pocket, but early on the second lap Bresset worked her way up to her and the pair began to share the lead. Initially it was Chengyuan Ren who was doing most of the trail-blazing, but through the third lap the Frenchwoman began to asset herself too.
Once again Chengyuan Ren seemed to have the race under control at the start of the penultimate lap when she opened up a small lead, however the pair took the bell together, leaving everything to be decided on the last lap. With the chasers well over a minute behind it looked like the two top spots on the podium were decided.
However, early on that final lap Chengyuan Ren dropped back dramatically. It wasn't clear whether she had crashed or had some other sort of problem, but suddenly Bresset had a thirty seconds lead at the mid point of the lap. The Frenchwoman took full advantage of this surprising turn of events and thoroughly enjoyed taking the win alone, her face wreathed in smiles as she waved to the crowd for the full length of the finish straight.
Meanwhile, Chengyuan Ren's problems mounted and she found herself being reeled in by a group of riders headed by Annika Langvad of Denmark, who blasted past the helpless Chinese rider some 2km form the finish. Sabine Spitz and Eva Lechner of Italy also took full advantage of the tiring Chinese rider's plight and claimed third and fourth ahead of her. Chengyuan Ren was fifth, with Catharine Pendrel of Canada sixth.
Annie Last rode to her best World Cup result to date, cheered on by the home crowd
Great Britain's Annie Last was well up at the start, keeping well out of trouble - and there was a minor pile-up at the end of the start straight, though none of the top riders were involved. Last ended the first lap in 11th place and she spent most of the race in 11th and 12th places, before slipping back a little on the last lap and a half to finish fourteenth. Following on from her 20th in the first round of the series, it was further confirmation of her rapid progress into the world's elite in women's Cross-Country racing. She was given a great reception as she crossed the line.
Another rider receiving a lot of support around the course was Downhill World Champion Tracy Moseley, making her World Cup XC debut in GB colours. She put in a gitty performance and didn't look out of place in such high quality company, finishing in 69th place, ahead of a number of experienced riders.
Under-23 Women: Pauline Ferrand Prevot made it a double celebration for the French when she took the Under-23 Women's race by almost a minute and a half from Kathrin Stirnemann of Switzerland. The Frenchwoman led almost from the start and never came under any real pressure. In contrast, Stirnemann had to work hard to hold on to second place, with Barbara Benko of Hungary finishing third, just 20 seconds down. Lily Matthews rode a solid race to finish the leading home rider in 15th place, some 7 minutes 41 seconds down.
1 BRESSET Julie FRA19890609 BH - SUNTOUR - PEISEY VALLANDRY 1:40:59
2 LANGVAD Annika DEN19840322 +01:03
3 SPITZ Sabine GER19711227 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM +01:06
4 LECHNER Eva ITA19850701 COLNAGO ARREGHINI SUDTIROL +01:22
5 REN Chengyuan CHN19860920 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:24
6 WLOSZCZOWSKA Maja POL19831109 CCC POLKOWICE +01:31
7 PENDREL Catharine CAN19800930 LUNA PRO TEAM +01:36
8 BYBERG Lene NOR19821125 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:51
9 SCHNEITTER Nathalie SUI19860619 COLNAGO ARREGHINI SUDTIROL +02:05
10 HURIKOVA Tereza CZE19870211 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM +02:06
11 PREMONT Marie-Helene CAN19771024 TEAM MAXXIS - ROCKY MOUNTAIN +02:13
12 ENAUX Sabrina FRA19780401 FELT OETZTAL X - BIONIC TEAM +02:41
13 GOULD Georgia USA19800105 LUNA PRO TEAM +02:51
14 LAST Annie GBR19900907 +03:00
15 BATTY Emily CAN19880616 SUBARU - TREK +03:48
53 HORTON Maddie GBR19780607 +14:26
69 MOSELEY Tracy GBR19790412 TREK WORLD RACING -1LAP
74 FILBY Maxine GBR19801030 -1LAP
75 ALEXANDER Melanie GBR19760729 -1LAP
78 GABRIEL Sally GBR19830120 -2LAP
79 BARRY Natasha GBR19801021 -2LAP
1 FERRAND PREVOT Pauline FRA19920210 LAPIERRE INTERNATIONAL 1:19:52
2 STIRNEMANN Kathrin SUI19891022 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM +01:25
3 BENKO Barbara HUN19900121 FOCUS MIG TEAM +01:45
4 GROBERT Helen GER19920411 +02:50
5 BOURDON Fanny FRA19890203 GT SKODA CHAMONIX +03:40
15 MATTHEWS Lily GBR19890930 +07:41
26 HAINES Carla GBR19910504 -1LAP
27 RIDER Danielle GBR19910829 -1LAP