Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International | Sunday 31 July 2011
Images: Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images | Report: www.londonpreparesseries.com
Video - Capturing the action and atmosphere of the day
Julien Absalon flying as he heads for a fine win (more images below)
France's Julien Absalon led from the starter's whistle to win the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International by nearly one-and-a-half minutes.
The Olympic champion from the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Games finished the 32.7km, seven lap course in a time of 1 hour, 31 minutes, 48 seconds. Christoph Sauser from Switzerland was second, 1 minute, 20 seconds down, with Austria's Karl Markt third, a further 26 seconds back.
Absalon had opened up a gap of 20 seconds over the field by the end of the first lap and from then on it was game over as the double Olympic Champion put down an impressive sign of intent ahead of the 2012 Games.
After the race, Absalon said: ‘I think it's a really nice track. The only problem is that it's difficult to pass. Today I can't say it was a problem as I was in front all the way.
‘It's my goal (to win a third medal) and today was a first step towards that. Now there's only one year to go to the Olympics and I will do a special preparation, especially for this track.
‘For me the Olympic Games is a big challenge and it was a real motivation today. The race was important for me to do at full gas and we have lots of information which we will take home and analyse.'
Three-abreast racing as the women's race gets going (more images below)
Best-placed under-23 rider was British Cycling Olympic Academy rider Kenta Gallagher, who was impressed with the course.
"Today was physically and technically challenging, the surface was pretty loose, so it's hard to keep your line. It was definitely a good track, I really enjoyed it. It will definitely be good for the Olympics, it is a good course, it has a bit of everything, the winner isn't just technically the best but physically also. For the spectators it will also be great, you can see a lot of the course, in that regard it is a lot different from the other courses, here you can see pretty much everything."
Gallagher's mentor and British Cycling's Olympic Mountain Bike Coach Phil Dixon claimed the ride marked a "career best."
"He rode from the back of the grid to finish 23rd, the best u23 in the race. It was a fantastic ride and in touch with the top ten. He's a rider for the future, of course.
"The track is fantastic, we have a feedback form to fill in. Not a lot needs to change, but they need to have a look at the start loop but apart from that it is a physical course, a technical course, it has all the components for the Games next year."
In the women's event, Canada's Catharine Pendrel rode to victory by a full 56 seconds from World Cup teammate Georgina Gould from the USA. Julie Bresset from France was third.
Bresset took the lead from the beginning however she began to suffer from her early pace-setting and by the end of the fourth of six laps had dropped to third spot. During the sixth and last lap Pendrel finally dropped Gould with strong acceleration which the US rider was not able to counter.
Eva Lechner from Italy and Nathalie Schneitter from Switzerland spent the first four laps duelling for fifth spot with Austria's Elisabeth Osl close behind. Osl managed to bridge the gap to the others before passing them to finish in fourth place.
Catharine Pendrel said: 'We were probably more interested in testing the course for next year than race performance, but I want to be on the podium in every race. I was having too much fun to slow down.
'The Canadian team has put a lot of work into being here, and it just shows we have a great team behind us. We put a lot of time into riding the course this week and it's definitely going to help with our preparation for next year.'
Georgia Gould of the USA finished second
Welshman Lee Williams clearly had a great day on the new Olympic course. Best-placed British rider, he praised the Hadleigh International.
"The track is phenomenal, it is so technical. There have been a lot of people criticising the track, saying it is not very hard, but at race pace there are so many bits that can challenge you - especially when you get to the latter laps. I crashed on the third lap and I class myself as a good descender so it just shows the standard.
"I think this is a perfect track for the spectator, you can see most of the track from one area. It is such a technical course, it is a good standard for the best riders in the world."
1 PENDREL Catharine CAN 1:32:04
2 GOULD Georgia USA +563 BRESSET Julie FRA +1:32
4 OSL Elisabeth AUT +3:40
5 LECHNER Eva ITA +3:51
6 SCHNEITTER Nathalie SUI +4:00
7 ENGEN Alexandra SWE +4:29
8 SPITZ Sabine GER +5:00
9 SHI Qinglan CHN +5:32
10 SUESS Esther SUI +6:24
11 LEUMANN Katrin SUI +6:57
12 LANGVAD Annika DEN +7:32
13 JOSEPH Rosara NZL +9:23
14 SIN Amanda CAN +10:05
15 FERRAND PREVOT Pauline FRA +11:21
16 PARRA SIERRA Angela Carolina COL +11:53
17 MITTERBAUER Lisa AUT +12:12
18 MORFIN MACOUZET Laura Lorenza MEX +12:51
19 SPATH Melanie GER +13:38
20 BRANDAU Elisabeth GER -1LAP
21 CALVETTI Serena ITA -1LAP
22 RYBAKOVA Oksana RUS -1LAP
23 HENDERSON Rebecca AUS -1LAP
24 SLIK Rozanne NED -1LAP
25 ELLIOTT Caitlin IRL -2LAP
26 ROBERTS Jessica GBR -3LAP
27 HAINES Carla GBR -3LAP
1 ABSALON Julien FRA 1:31:48
2 SAUSER Christoph SUI +1:20
3 MARKT Karl AUT +1:46
4 BISHOP Jeremiah USA +2:19
5 KULHAVY Jaroslav CZE +2:33
6 YAMAMOTO Kohei JPN +3:27
7 MAROTTE Maxime FRA +4:38
8 DARVELL Magnus SWE +4:58
9 HOCHENWARTER Uwe AUT +5:14
10 VALERIANO Rubens BRA +5:46
11 GEHBAUER Alexander AUT +6:15
12 PAEZ LEON Hector Leonardo COL +6:19
13 KERSCHBAUMER Gerhard ITA +6:41
14 GROEN Erik NED +6:47
15 LONGO Tony ITA +6:52
16 FANGER Martin SUI +7:10
17 VAN DER PLOEG Paul AUS +7:37
18 WATSON Andrew CAN +7:42
19 TEMPIER Stephane FRA +8:00
20 WILLIAMS Lee GBR +8:30
21 CHIA AMAYA Jaime Yesid COL +8:42
22 NORRIS Lachlan AUS +9:25
23 GALLAGHER Kenta GBR +9:32
24 AVANCINI Henrique BRA +10:27
25 McCONNELL Daniel AUS +10:37
26 PECHENIN Evgeniy RUS +10:55
27 OLDHAM Paul GBR +11:08
28 GALLATI Patrik SUI +11:29
29 VALENCIA GUADARRAMA Emmanuel MEX -1LAP
30 O'BOYLE Anthony GBR -2LAP
31 HIRANO Seiya JPN -2LAP
32 BATCHELOR Sebastian GBR -2LAP
33 McNEELY Evan CAN -2LAP
34 PYBUS Jonathan GBR -2LAP
35 NIYONSHUTI Adrien RWA -2LAP
36 THOMAS Ben GBR -3LAP
37 ERNEST Simon GBR -3LAP
38 TONG Weisong CHN -3LAP
39 ANDREWS Chris GBR -3LAP
40 MINTER Christopher GBR -3LAP
41 LEMMERS Tim NED -3LAP
42 JAMES Steven GBR -3LAP
43 O'BOYLE Sion GBR -3LAP
44 WHITTINGTON John GBR -3LAP
45 ADAMS Ross GBR -3LAP