Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) landed a rare American top-10 finish at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships on Aug. 23.
Sawicki came in seventh, just over 17 minutes behind world champion Sabine Spitz of Germany on the 52-mile women’s course in Stattegg, Austria. Sawicki’s American teammate, Heather Holmes, came in 25th out of the more than 50 female competitors who tackled a course that featured some 10,000 feet of climbing and descending.
The lone America male, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), pulled off an 87th place finish on the men’s 64-mile course, which threw about 12,000 feet of climbing and descending at riders. Roel Paulissen of Belgium won the overall with a time of 4:34:46.
Paulissen’s main rival of the day, Austrian Alban Lakata, was hindered by a few brake problems before finishing in second place, 52 seconds back. Pre-race favorite Christoph Sauser of Switzerland took the bronze medal, 4:40 behind the leader.
Women’s winner Spitz, meanwhile, bested Esther Süss, of Switzerland, in a sprint after four hours of racing. Another Swiss rider,Petra Henzi, took the third place on the podium, almost three minutes behind Spitz and Süss.
The 2009 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships saw Spitz add to her list of results; she finished second in the Marathon in 2007 and 2008. The German had already won gold in the cross-country in Lugano in 2003.
The event also marked the return of defending champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja, back to
high-level competition after a break to have a baby. The Norwegian finished in 13th place.
UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships
1. Roel Paulissen (BEL) 4:34:46
2. Alban Lakata (AUT) +0:51
3. Christoph Sauser (SWI) +4:39
87. Harlan Price (Philadelphia, Pa./Independent Fabrication) +1:15:31
1. Sabine Spitz (GER) 4:24:15
2. Esther Suss (SWI) +0:01
3. Petra Henzi (SWI) +2:51
7. Pua Sawicki (Yucaipa, Calif./Ellsworth) +17:14
25. Heather Holmes (Park City, Utah) +43:19