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Dahle, Bui dust the competition in sun-scorched Houffalize

Rain gear is usually more critical at Houffalize than sunscreen, but on Sunday riders were wilting in 30-plus degree (Celsius) heat and choking on dust during the third round of the mountain bike World Cup. But the Belgian bakery didn't cook Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida), who took her second consecutive victory over the women's field, to extend her lead over Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects). In the men's race, there was a new face on the top step of the podium - Marco Bui (Full Dynamix). Bui stormed away from the field, as he has done in both previous

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By Rob Jones

Dahle was unstoppable once more

Dahle was unstoppable once more

Photo: Rob Jones

Rain gear is usually more critical at Houffalize than sunscreen, but on Sunday riders were wilting in 30-plus degree (Celsius) heat and choking on dust during the third round of the mountain bike World Cup.

But the Belgian bakery didn’t cook Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida), who took her second consecutive victory over the women’s field, to extend her lead over Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects).

In the men’s race, there was a new face on the top step of the podium – Marco Bui (Full Dynamix). Bui stormed away from the field, as he has done in both previous World Cups this year – however, this time he stayed away, to record his first ever World Cup victory. Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos), winner of the first two rounds, struggled all day, finishing 17th, but hanging onto the leader’s jersey.

Women

Spitz fought her way into second

Spitz fought her way into second

Photo: Rob Jones

Dahle didn’t seem to mind the heat, riding away from the rest of the field on the first climb of the short opening lap.

“I got a little gap from the beginning, so I could do my own race. But it was not an easy win. They were chasing me all race, and any small mistakes could have made a big difference,” she said.

Marga Fullana (K2-Zero RH+) was the only rider to try to stay on Dahle’s wheel, but she quickly dropped back to a chase group, containing Premont, Sabine Spitz (Specialized), Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) and Dahle’s teammate Irina Kalentieva. Sydor dropped back from this group to ride her own pace, as did Fullana.

Spitz then rode Premont and Kalentieva off her wheel on the climb in the first full lap (of four), but suffered from chain suck on the descent and had to get off her bike, allowing the other two to catch back on.

“It wasn’t an attack either time, I just got out of the saddle on the long climb and rode my own pace,” she said. “I got a small gap at first and just continued riding my own race.”

Spitz rode back up to Premont and Kalentieva, and then rode away again on the following lap, this time staying clear. Kalentieva opened a small gap on Premont that the Canadian could not close.

Behind the front four, American Mary McConneloug (Kenda) was steadily making her way up through the field after a poor start. McConneloug, the lone U.S. entry in the women’s race at the Athens Games, managed to get by a fading Fullana in the third lap to grab the fifth and final spot on the podium – her first podium in a European World Cup.

The men start . . .

The men start . . .

Photo: Rob Jones

Men

In all three World Cups this season Bui has attacked off the front, often opening up a considerable gap on the field. In the first two rounds (Spa and Madrid) he faded badly in the latter half of the race, so when he charged to the front in the opening loop in Houffalize, observers could be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu. This time, however, was different – Bui, the 1999 U23 world champion, seemed to just get stronger as the race wore on, while the chasers faded.

He was helped somewhat by the misfortunes of a couple of his biggest rivals: Absalon had suffered gastrointestinal problems the night before, and was not racing like the winner of the first two rounds, while Christoph Sauser (Siemens Cannondale) flatted his rear tire in the first lap and had to work his way back up through the field after getting a wheel change in the pit.

These happenstances should not detract from the magnificent ride Bui put in. Initially, he was a manageable 20 seconds in front of Sauser (once he rejoined the chasers late in the first lap), Roel Paulissen (Giant), Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Lapierre International), Liam Killeen (Specialized), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Siemens Cannondale) and Lado Fumic (Fumic Bros. Racing).

But as the race wore on, Bui was increasing his lead: 35 seconds after three laps, then 45 seconds after four, and then 1:10 ahead of Sauser with a lap and a half to go. Sauser initially thought he had a chance to catch the flying Italian, but admitted that by lap five it was game over:

“I felt strong today, but Bui, he was very strong. Maybe if I had not flatted I could have stayed with him, but maybe not, the way he was riding today. Once it was up to a minute, that was it, there was no chance to catch him,” he said.

Sauser managed to hold off a late-charging Hermida for second by 11 seconds, with local Belgian favorite Paulissen passing Peraud at the line to salvage Belgian pride.

Photo Gallery

Results


Houffalize World Cup

Men

1. Marco Bui (Ita), Full Dynamix, at 2:05:53

2. Christoph Sauser (Sui), Siemens Cannondale, at 1:47

3. José Hermida Ramos (Esp), Multivan Merida, at 1:58

4. Roel Paulissen (Bel), Giant-Racing-Team, at 2:29

5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra), Lapierre International, at 2:30

6. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe), Siemens Cannondale Mtb Ra, at 2:50

7. Lado Fumic (Ger), Fumic Racing, at 3:47

8. Liam Killeen (GBr), Specialized Factory Racin, at 3:52

9. Erwin Bakker (Ned), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher, at 3:59

10. Michael Weiss (Aut), at 4:07

11. Christoph Soukup (Aut), at 4:26

12. Miguel Martinez (Fra), Commencal Oxbow, at 4:27

13. Marc Alemany Trayter (Esp), at 4:44

14. Manuel Fumic (Ger), Fumic Racing, at 5:47

15. Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita), at 5:47

16. Jader Zoli (Ita), at 5:48

17. Julien Absalon (Fra), Bianchi Agos, at 6:30

18. Marek Galinski (Pol), Orbea, at 6:33

19. Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Esp), K2-Zero Rh, at 6:41

20. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher, at 6:43

21. Jakob Fuglsang (Den), at 7:02

22. Martin Gujan (Sui), Athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 7:02

23. Marti Gispert Labarta (Esp), Maxxis-Msc, at 7:10

24. Bas Peters (Ned), at 7:28

25. Florian Vogel (Sui), at 7:32

26. Thomas Frischknecht (Sui), Swisspower, at 7:37

27. Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Esp), Orbea, at 7:40

28. Sergiy Rysenko (Ukr), at 8:04

29. Silvio Bundi (Sui), Athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 8:31

30. Frédéric Frech (Fra), at 8:35

31. Martin Kraler (Aut), Giant-Racing-Team, at 8:42

32. Christof Bischof (Sui), at 9:00

33. Stefan Sahm (Ger), Giant-Racing-Team, at 9:10

34. Oliver Beckingsale (GBr), at 9:20

35. Wolfram Kurschat (Ger), at 9:34

36. Bart Brentjens (Ned), Giant-Racing-Team, at 10:02

37. Jochen Kass (Ger), Giant-Racing-Team, at 10:18

38. Thomas Dietsch (Fra), at 10:20

39. Jelmer Pietersma (Ned), Merlan Duo-Be One, at 10:29

40. Adam Craig (USA), at 10:33

41. Todd Wells (USA), at 10:44

42. Ralph Naf (Sui), Multivan Merida Biking Te, at 10:52

43. Andreas Kugler (Sui), Athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 11:09

44. Igor Bogdan (Ukr), at 11:52

45. Nino Schurter (Sui), at 12:02

46. Till Marx (Sui), at 12:03

47. Pierre Lebreton (Fra), Devinci-Pro Race, at 12:08

48. Cédric Ravanel (Fra), Orbea, at 12:24

49. Johann Pallhuber (Ita), at 12:33

50. Dariusz Batek (Pol), Lotto, at 12:34

51. Alejandro Diaz De La Pena Lo (Esp), Maxxis-Msc, at 12:37

52. Michael Broderick (USA), at 12:45

53. Jürg Graf (Sui), at 13:18

54. Pavel Boudny (Cze), at 13:37

55. Kashi Leuchs (NZl), Bianchi Agos, at 13:40

56. Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Esp), at 14:04

57. Friedemann Schmude (Ger), at 14:27

58. Martino Fruet (Ita), at 14:33

59. Hans Becking (Ned), at 14:40

60. Emil Lindgren (Swe), Bianchi Agos, at 14:54

61. Gion Manetsch (Sui), Athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 15:21

62. Andreas Dilger (Ger), at 15:22

63. Frank Schotman (Ned), at 15:22

64. Alban Lakata (Aut), Specialized Factory Racin, at 15:24

65. Roland Golderer (Ger), at 15:28

66. Hannes Genze (Ger), at 15:39

67. Rick Evers (Ned), at 15:56

68. Thomas Roccaro (Sui), Univega Pro Cycling Team, at 16:06

69. Philip Spencer (GBr), at 16:17

70. Joris Boillat (Sui), at 16:26

71. Hannes Metzler (Aut), at 16:31

72. François Bailly Maitre (Fra), at 16:49

73. Ludovic Dubau (Fra), Devinci-Pro Race, at 17:01

74. Bjorn Brems (Bel), Merlan Duo-Be One, at 17:04

75. Igor Baretto (Ita), at 17:09

76. Nicolas Röhrbach (Sui), at 17:37

77. Thijs Al (Ned), Giant-Racing-Team, at 18:32

78. Bjorn Rondelez (Bel), at 18:45

79. Oleksandr Yakymenko (Ukr), at 18:50

80. James Ouchterlony (GBr), at 19:00

81. Marc Gölz (Ger), at 20:06

82. Andrea Tiberi (Ita), at 20:21

83. Sébastien Delfosse (Bel), Massi-Abarth, at 20:57

84. Klaus Nielsen (Den), at 23:35

85. Ivan Schalbetter (Sui), -1Lap

86. Denis Vorontsov (Rus), -1Lap

87. Fabien Manfe (Fra), -1Lap

88. Gody Jacobs (Bel), -1Lap

89. Mirko Farnisi (Ita), -1Lap

90. Robert Vrecer (Slo), -1Lap

91. Sébastien Hansen (Fra), -1Lap

92. Oprea Ovidiu-Tudor (Rou), Bikin'cyprus Int. -1Lap

93. Nicolas Vermeulen (Bel), -1Lap

94. Jiri Novak (Cze), -1Lap

95. Mike Felderer (Ita), -1Lap

96. Stéphane Tempier (Fra), -1Lap

97. Michael Hutter (Sui), -1Lap

98. Nick Waite (USA), -1Lap

99. Karel Videcky (Cze), Max Cursor -1Lap

100. Ludovic Mottet (Bel), -1Lap

101. Rob Reuvers (Ned), -1Lap

102. Emil Jamnicz (Cze), Max Cursor -1Lap

103. Mathijs Wagenaar (Ned), -1Lap

104. Magnus Darvell (Swe), -1Lap

105. Mark Nellen (Ned), -1Lap

106. Rudolf Biedermann (Sui), -2Laps

107. Jean-Eude Demaret (Fra), Devinci-Pro Race -2Laps

108. Andi Weinhold (Ger), -2Laps

109. Benjamin Giraud (Fra), Lapierre International -2Laps

110. Mathieu Louis (Bel), -2Laps

111. Tobias Witzack (Ger), -2Laps

112. Damien Bynens (Bel), -2Laps

113. Alexander Wetterhall (Swe), -2Laps

114. Ruud Rentmeester (Ned), -2Laps

115. Melvin Legros (Bel), Massi-Abarth -2Laps

116. Sven Berthels (Bel), -2Laps

117. Maarten Krommendijk (Ned), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher -2Laps

118. Onno Houwer (Ned), -2Laps

119. Kevin Vanhoovels (Bel), -2Laps

120. Dylan Cooper (Aus), -2Laps

121. Martijn Roelofs (Ned), -2Laps

122. Micha De Vries (Ned), Merlan Duo-Be One -2Laps

123. Dries Hollanders (Bel), -2Laps

124. Jochen Coconcelli (Ger), -2Laps

125. Dirk Van De Walle (Ned), -2Laps

126. Roland Plank (Aut), -2Laps

127. James Fraser-Moodie (GBr), -2Laps

128. Yannick Bernasconi (Sui), Domcycle-Commencal-Bike -2Laps

129. Ondrej Zeleny (Cze), -2Laps

130. Simon Richli (Sui), -2Laps

131. Joris Massaer (Bel), -2Laps

132. Lee Williams (GBr), -2Laps

133. Yury Trofimov (Rus), -2Laps

134. Flavio Derungs (Sui), Univega Pro Cycling Team -2Laps

135. Axel Bult (Ned), -2Laps

136. Sam Schultz (USA), -2Laps

137. Patrick Gaudy (Bel), -2Laps

138. Rok Grilc (Slo), -2Laps

139. Jordy Luisman (Ned), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher -3Laps

140. Jaroslav Obruca (Cze), -3Laps

141. Jeroen Bouwman (Ned), -3Laps

142. Claudio Andenmatten (Sui), -3Laps

143. Guo Yinhui (Chn), -3Laps

144. Sam Malfliet (Bel), -3Laps

145. John Devine (USA), -3Laps

146. Steve Appermans (Bel), -3Laps

147. Lukas Hanus (Svk), -3Laps

148. Gilles Devillers (Bel), -3Laps

149. Alan Obye (USA), -3Laps

150. Wilco Verwegen (Ned), -3Laps

151. Torsten Walter (Ger), -3Laps

152. Lukas Vlach (Cze), -3Laps

153. Reijer Den Hertog (Ned), -3Laps

Women

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle, (Nor), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:43:21

2. Sabine Spitz, (Ger), Specialized Factory Racing, at 1:12

3. Irina Kalentieva, (Rus), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:42

4. Marie-Hélène Premont, (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 1:57

5. Mary Mcconneloug, (USA), Seven, 3:48

6. Margarita Fullana, (Esp), K2-Zero Rh, 5:22

7. Petra Henzi, (Sui), Fischer-Bmc, 6:28

8. Alison Sydor, (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 6:38

9. Maja Wloszczowska, (Pol), Lotto, 7:20

10, Maroussia Rusca, (Sui), Univega Pro Cycling Team, 7:26

11. Kiara Bisaro, (Can), Grars Racing, 7:34

12. Maria Östergren, (Swe), 7:43

13. Magdalena Sadlecka, (Pol), Lotto, 8:15

14. Rosara Joseph, (NZl), 8:22

15. Ren Chengyuan, (Chn), 8:32

16. Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda, (Ned), 8:46

17. Ivonne Kraft, (Ger), 8:58

18. Nina Göhl, (Ger), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 8:59

19. Sabrina Enaux, (Fra), Lapierre International, 9:05

20. Lene Byberg, (Nor), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 9:31

21. Wang Jingjing, (Chn), 9:41

22. Sandra Klose, (Ger), 9:59

23. Kelli Emmett, (USA), 10:08

24. Patricia Sinclair, (Can), 10:33

25. Annabella Stropparo, (Ita), 10:45

26. Anna Enocsson, (Swe), Ghost International Racing Team, 10:48

27. Laurence Leboucher, (Fra), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher, 10:52

28. Franziska Roethlin, (Sui), Univega Pro Cycling Team, 11:03

29. Sonia Foote, (NZl), 11:05

30. Robyn Wong, (NZl), 11:32

31. Katrin Leumann, (Sui), Fischer-Bmc, 12:12

32. Evelyn Staffler, (Ita), 12:17

33. Katrin Schwing, (Ger), 12:20

34. Eva Lechner, (Ita), 12:46

35. Gao Xiaoning, (Chn), 13:04

36. Cristina Mascarreras Sabria, (Esp), 14:17

37. Saskia Elemans, (Ned), 14:27

38. Elisabeth Osl, (Aut), 14:32

39. Adelheid Morath, (Ger), 14:47

40. Pavla Havlikova, (Cze), 14:58

41. Bärbel Jungmeier, (Aut), 15:17

42. Severine Hansen, (Fra), 15:32

43. Sarah Koba, (Sui), 16:22

44. Nathalie Schneitter, (Sui), 16:53

45. Caroline Jackson, (GBr), 16:57

46. Catherine Delfosse, (Bel), Massi-Abarth, 17:16

47. Kathy Sherwin, (USA), 17:19

48. Elena Gaddoni, (Ita), 17:22

49. Ariëlle Van Meurs, (Ned), 18:02

50. Sarka Chmurova, (Cze), Max Cursor, 18:19

51. Emilie Siegenthaler, (Sui), 18:49

52. Elina Sophokleous, (Cyp), Bikin'cyprus Int. 19:04

53. Jenny Copnall, (GBr), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 19:12

54. Nina Homovec, (Slo), 19:27

55. Cécile Rode, (Fra), Orbea, 20:31

56. Carissa Wilkes, (NZl), 21:25

57. Caroline Besseyrias, (Fra), 22:01

58. Petra Hofs, (Ned), 23:59

59. Jenny Mccauley, (Irl), -1Lap

60. Emma Colson, (Aus), -1Lap

61. Erica Österlund, (Swe), -1Lap

62. Sandra Walter, (Can), -1Lap

63. Tereza Jansova, (Cze), -1Lap

64. Marlena Pyrgies, (Pol), -1Lap

65. Maureen Guichardot, (Fra), -1Lap

66. Valentina Salvagni, (Ita), -1Lap

67. Ruth Mcgavigan, (GBr), -1Lap

68. Nina Kunz, (Ger), -1Lap

69. Jenni King, (Aus), -1Lap

70. Laura Turpijn, (Ned), -2Laps

71. Genevieve Whitson, (NZl), -2Laps

72. Karin Groen, (Ned), -2Laps

73. Lidy Spierings, (Ned), -2Laps

74. Hazel Wakefield, (GBr), -2Laps

75. Sigrid Rondelez, (Bel), -2Laps,

76. Ingrid Bosscha, (Ned), -2Laps

77. Siegrid Huber, (Aut), -3Laps