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Dahle, Sauser take round 4 in World Cup XC

During training before the fourth round of the World Cup cross-country in Willingen, Germany, riders were calling the course boring, not a mountain-bike course. It also was considered the hardest course seen on the circuit this year, due to its steep, long and loose gravel climbs. Come race day on Saturday, it certainly lived up to its reputation for difficulty, and while it was not very technical, the course ended up providing some exciting racing. The pro men’s and women’s races both were decided by less than a minute, with Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida) taking her third win of the

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By Rob Jones

Dahle said she had to dig for this win

Dahle said she had to dig for this win

Photo: Rob Jones

During training before the fourth round of the World Cup cross-country in Willingen, Germany, riders were calling the course boring, not a mountain-bike course. It also was considered the hardest course seen on the circuit this year, due to its steep, long and loose gravel climbs. Come race day on Saturday, it certainly lived up to its reputation for difficulty, and while it was not very technical, the course ended up providing some exciting racing.

The pro men’s and women’s races both were decided by less than a minute, with Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida) taking her third win of the season, and Christoph Sauser (Siemens Cannondale) his first. Sauser took over the lead in the men’s overall standings from Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos), while Dahle extended hers over Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects).

Women

To observers it may have looked like yet another formulaic win by Dahle – ride away on the first lap and cruise to the finish. But according to the Olympic and world champion, it was anything but.

“I had to dig deep,” she said. “I was pushing over my limit for the last two laps. My legs were about to explode.”

While that may be true, Dahle’s relentless pace still was too much for the rest of the field on the first lap, and she opened up a 15-second gap on a chase group containing Premont, Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), Sabine Spitz (Specialized) and Irina Kalentieva (Multivan Merida), with Mary McConneloug (Kenda), Maja Wloszczowska (Lotto) and Annabella Stropparo coming up behind.

Sydor dropped back to ride her own pace on the second lap, while the other three stayed within 10 to 15 seconds of each other until the fourth of seven laps (plus a half-lap start loop), when Spitz gradually started to put the pressure on both the other chasers and Dahle.

“I started a little more slowly, because on the climb I had to go my own pace,” explained the Specialized rider. “I saw that Premont would get a gap on the lower part of the climb, but I had to go my own cadence, which was higher. Then I would pass her again before the top, on the steeper part.”

The gap to Dahle went up over a minute, but then Spitz started to bring it back in the last two laps, down to 39 seconds at the line. Behind, Premont was conserving her energy, and launched an attack at the start of the last lap to drop Kalentieva for third, preserving her second place in the overall standings in front of Spitz. McConneloug continued her steady pace to gradually move into fifth, recording her second consecutive podium appearance.

Men

Sauser took his first World Cup of this season

Sauser took his first World Cup of this season

Photo: Rob Jones

Last week in Houffalize, the seemingly invincible Absalon showed his first signs of vulnerability, when a stomach bug put him out of the top-15. In Germany, Absalon was back on form, but no longer as dominant as during the first two rounds.

After the half-lap start loop, a selection of the top riders was made by the first of eight laps, with Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida) pushing the pace a few seconds in front of Absalon, Sauser, Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Siemens Cannondale) and last week’s winner, Marco Bui (Full Dynamix).

Naef dropped back to the chasers, and lasted two laps before falling off the pace, reducing the race to five contenders. On lap four, the halfway point in the race, Sauser decided it was time to break things up. “When we came into the forest part I put the hammer down. I knew that Bui and myself were the strongest riders on the climb.”

The pair blew apart the lead group, quickly taking 15 seconds on Hermida, with Kessiakoff at 20 seconds and Absalon appearing to struggle off the back. However, a lap and a half later Absalon was back in the race, charging by Hermida and closing to within nine seconds of the front pair with a little less than two laps to go. This was as close as he would get, though, and he gradually faded, though he managed to hold on for third.

On the second to last climb, Sauser dropped Bui for good, and soloed in for his first World Cup win of the season, and the chance to take over the leader’s jersey from Absalon. Hermida stayed in fourth and Kessiakoff held off a late charge by Liam Killeen (Specialized) to take the final podium spot.

A ride worthy of note was Adam Craig’s (Giant) strong eighth-place showing, after a poor start that dropped him into the 40s.

4-cross

A couple of hours later the 4-cross started. Unfortunately, it would not be completed. The start gate failed, and 30 minutes later, as the light was fading, the organizers were still working on it. The nail in the contest’s coffin was a cloudburst that rolled in from the south and thoroughly soaked everyone with a cold rain. The event is to be finished Sunday afternoon, after the downhill.

UCI World Cup
Willingen, Germany. June 4
Cross-country

Women’s top 10
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:48:58
2. Sabine Spitz (G) Specialized Factory Racing, at 0:39
3. Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 2:20
4. Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Multivan Merida Biking Team, 3:31
5. Mary McConneloug (USA) Seven-Kenda, 3:51
6. Annabella Stropparo (I) 5:12
7. Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Lotto, 5:43
8. Kiara Bisaro (Can) GearsRacing.com, 6:09
9. Nina Gohl (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team, 6:32
10. Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 7:05

Men’s top 10
1. Christoph Sauser (Sui) Siemens Cannondale, 1:59:30
2. Marco Bui (I) Full Dynamix, at 0:20
3. Julien Absalon (F) Bianchi Agos, 0:44
4. Jose Antonio Hermida (Sp) Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:08
5. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Siemens Cannondale Mtb Racing Team, 1:48
6. Liam Killeen (GB) Specialized Factory Racing, 3:37
7. Silvio Bundi (Swi) Athleticum-Mtb-Team, 3:42
8. Adam Craig (USA) Giant, 3:53
9. Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team, 4:06
10. Yader Zoli (I), 4:23

Complete results are posted.

Photo Gallery

Results

UCI World Cup

Willingen, Germany. June 4

Cross-country

Women

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:48:58

2. Sabine Spitz (G), Specialized Factory Racin, a0:39

3. Marie-Hélène Premont (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 2:20

4. Irina Kalentieva (Rus), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 3:31

5. Mary McConneloug (USA), Seven/Kenda, 3:51

6. Annabella Stropparo (I), 5:12

7. Maja Wloszczowska (Pol), Lotto, 5:43

8. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Gearsracing.Com, 6:09

9. Nina Göhl (G), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 6:32

10. Alyson Sydor (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 7:05

11. Ivonne Kraft (G), Fuji, 7:05

12. Maria Östergren (Swe), 7:19

13. Elena Giacomuzzi (I), 7:49

14. Petra Henzi (Swi), Fischer-Bmc, 7:54

15. Kelli Emett (USA), Ford Basis, 8:01

16. Maroussia Rusca (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, 8:35

17. Eva Lechner (I), 9:34

18. Ren Chengyuan (Chn), 9:44

19. Sabrina Enaux (F), Lapierre International, 10:07

20. Wang Jingjing (Chn), 10:26

21. Anna Enocsson (Swe), Ghost International Racin, 11:11

22. Lene Byberg (Nor), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 11:32

23. Rosara Joseph (NZ), 11:43

24. Anna Szafraniec (Pol), Lotto, 11:54

25. Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol), Lotto, 11:59

26. Adelheid Morath (G), 12:30

27. Sandra Klose (G), 13:10

28. Robyn Wong (NZ), -1Lap

29. Catherine Delfosse (Bel), Massi-Abarth, -1Lap

30. Franziska Roethlin (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, -1Lap

31. Sonia Foote (NZ), -1Lap

32. Patricia Sinclair (Can), -1Lap

33. Evelyn Staffler (I), -1Lap

34. Ariëlle Van Meurs (Ned), -1Lap

35. Daniela Louis (Swi), -1Lap

36. Bärbel Jungmeier (A), -1Lap

37. Sarah Koba (Swi), -1Lap

38. Kathrin Schwing (G), -1Lap

39. Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Sp), -1Lap

40. Cecile Rode (F), Orbea, -1Lap

41. Elisabeth Osl (A), -2 laps

42. Nina Homovec (Slo), -2 laps

43. Gao Xiaoning (Chn), -2 laps

44. Pavla Havlikova (Cze), -2 laps

45. Asa Erlandsson (Swe), -2 laps

46. Saskia Elemans (Ned), -2 laps

47. Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi), -2 laps

48. Jenny Copnall (GB), Subaru-Gary Fisher, -2 laps

49. Laura Turpijn (Ned), -2 laps

50. Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Sp), -2 laps

51. Maria Osl (A), -2 laps

52. Laurence Leboucher (F), Heijdens-Ten Tusscher, -3 laps

53. Janka Stevkova (Svk), -3 laps

54. Tereza Jansova (Cze), -3 laps

55. Sarka Chmurova (Cze), Max Cursor, -3 laps

56. Birgit Jüngst (G), Multivan Merida Biking, -3 laps

57. Kathy Sherwin (USA), -3 laps

58. Petra Hofs (Ned), -3 laps

59. Emma Colson (Aus), -3 laps

60. Nina Kunz (G), -3 laps

61. Carissa Wilkes (NZ), -3 laps

62. Elina Sophocleous (Cyp), Bikin'cyprus Int., -3 laps

63. Caroline Beysseyrias (F), -4 laps

64. Heike Hundertmark (G), -4 laps

65. Jenni King (Aus), -4 laps

66. Monika Derntl (A), -4 laps

67. Alexa Hüni (G), -4 laps

68. Genevieve Whitson (NZ), -5 laps

69. Caroline Jackson (GB), -5 laps

70. Cora Paukulat (G), -5 laps

71. Rebecca Mcconnell (Aus), -5 laps

72. Sigrid Huber (A), -5 laps

Men

1. Christoph Sauser, (Swi), Siemens Cannondale, 1:59:30

2. Marco Bui, (I), Full Dynamix, at 0:20

3. Julien Absalon, (F), Bianchi Agos, 0:44

4. Jose Antonio Hermida, (Sp), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 1:08

5. Fredrik Kessiakoff, (Swe), Siemens Cannondale, 2:48

6. Liam Killeen, (GB), Specialized Factory Racin, 3:37

7. Silvio Bundi, (Swi), Athleticum Mtb Team, 3:42

8. Adam Craig, (USA), Giant USA, 3:57

9. Ralph Naef, (Swi), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 4:06

10. Yader Zoli, (I), 4:23

11. Erwin Bakker, (Ned), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, 4:38

12. Thomas Frischknecht, (Swi), Swisspower, 4:49

13. Mirko Pirazzoli, (I), 4:53

14. Marek Galinski, (Pol), Orbea, 4:59

15. Bas Peters, (Ned), 5:08

16. Roel Paulissen, (B), Giant Racing Team, 5:15

17. Milan Spesny, (Cze), 5:33

18. Kashi Leuchs, (NZ), Bianchi Agos, 5:46

19. Bart Brentjens, (Ned), Giant Racing Team, 5:48

20. Lado Fumic, (G), Fumic Racing, 5:58

21. Jochen Käss, (G), 6:05

22. Nino Schurter, (Swi), 6:22

23. Jakob Fuglsang, (Den), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, 6:33

24. Christoph Soukup, (A), 6:43

25. Balz Weber, (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, 6:49

26. Manuel Fumic, (G), Fumic Racing, 6:53

27. Andreas Kugler, (Swi), Athleticum Mtb Team, 6:53

28. Marc Trayter Alemany, (Sp), 6:54

29. Christof Bischof, (Swi), 7:11

30. Ruben Ruzafa Cueto, (Sp), 7:13

31. Marten Tjallingii, (Ned), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, 7:18

32. Thys Al, (Ned), Giant Racing Team, 7:25

33. Frédéric Frech, (F), 7:48

34. Michael Weiss, (A), 8:06

35. Martin Gujan, (Swi), Athleticum Mtb Team, 8:11

36. Jérome Chevalier, (F), 8:27

37. Wolfram Kurschat, (G), 8:35

38. Emil Lindgren, (Swe), Bianchi Agos, 8:36

39. Martino Fruet, (I), 9:04

40. Sid Taberlay, (Aus), Specialized Factory Racin, 9:12

41. Karl Platt, (G), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, 9:28

42. Carl Friberg, (Swe), Bikin'cyprus Int., 9:44

43. Igor Bogdan, (Ukr), 9:59

44. Alban Lakata, (A), Specialized Factory Racin, 10:22

45. Mike Felderer, (I), 10:23

46. Inaki Lejaretta Errasti, (Sp), Orbea, 10:41

47. Till Marx, (Swi), 11:00

48. Miguel Martinez, (F), Commencal Oxbow, 11:05

49. Yury Trofimov, (Rus), 11:08

50. Michael Broderick, (USA), 11:10

51. Sergiy Rysenko, (Ukr), 11:25

52. Oliver Beckingsale, (GB), 11:39

53. Oriol Morata Abril, (Sp), 11:51

54. Cedric Ravanel, (F), Orbea, 13:46

55. Jürg Graf, (Swi), -1 lap

56. Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez, (Sp), -1 lap

57. Dariusz Batek, (Pol), Lotto, -1 lap

58. Roman Rametsteiner, (A), -1 lap

59. Jiri Friedl, (Cze), -1 lap

60. Tony Longo, (I), -1 lap

61. Hannes Metzler, (A), -1 lap

62. Johannes Sickmüller, (G), -1 lap

63. Fabio Bernasconi, (Swi), Athleticum Mtb Team, -1 lap

64. Philip Tavell, (Swe), -1 lap

65. Miha Solar, (Slo), -1 lap

66. Andrea Tiberi, (I), -1 lap

67. Alejandro Diaz De La Pena Lo, (Sp), Maxxis Msc, -1 lap

68. Tomas Vokrouhlik, (Cze), Ceska Sporitelna Mtb, -1 lap

69. Sébastien Delfosse, (B), Massi Abarth, -1 lap

70. Joan Llordella Prat, (Sp), -1 lap

71. Damien Bynens, (B), -1 lap

72. Ivan Schalbetter, (Swi), -1 lap

73. Benjamin Rudiger, (G), -1 lap

74. Torsten Marx, (G), -1 lap

75. Tim Böhme, (G), -2 laps

76. Max Plaxton, (Can), Maxxis Msc, -2 laps

77. Hannes Genze, (G), -2 laps

78. Tudor Oprea Ovidiu, (Rom), Bikin'cyprus Int., -2 laps

79. Stefan Sahm, (G), Giant Racing Team, -2 laps

80. Sébastien Hansen, (F), -2 laps

81. Roland Golderer, (G), -2 laps

82. Ivan Alvarez, (Sp), -2 laps

83. Pavel Boudny, (Cze), -2 laps

84. Lukas Hanus, (Svk), -2 laps

85. Thomas Roccaro, (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, -2 laps

86. Friedemann Schmude, (G), -2 laps

87. Andreas Dilger, (G), -2 laps

88. Frank Schotman, (Ned), -2 laps

89. Emil Jamnicz, (Cze), Max Cursor, -2 laps

90. Nicolas Vermeulen, (B), -2 laps

91. Joris Boillat, (Swi), -2 laps

92. Rene Tann, (G), Giant Racing Team, -3 laps

93. Daniel Mcconnell, (Aus), -3 laps

94. Gody Jacobs, (B), -3 laps

95. Hans Becking, (Ned), -3 laps

96. Jan Skarnitzl, (Cze), -3 laps

97. Hubert Pollinger, (I), -3 laps

98. Alan Obye, (USA), -3 laps

99. Olaf Rochow, (G), -3 laps

100. Raffael Schmid, (Swi), Fischer Bmc, -3 laps

101. Roland Abächerli, (Swi), -3 laps

102. Ismael Ventura Sanchez, (Sp), -3 laps

103. Zak Toogood, (GB), -3 laps

104. Marc Gölz, (G), -3 laps

105. Laurent Fontaine, (B), -3 laps

106. James Ouchterlony, (GB), -3 laps

107. Bjorn Brems, (B), Merlan Duo Be One, -3 laps

108. Andi Weinhold, (G), -3 laps

109. Rok Grilc, (Slo), -3 laps

110. Tobias Witzack, (G), -3 laps

111. Christopher Maletz, (G), -3 laps

112. Oleksandr Yakymenko, (Ukr), -3 laps

113. Jiri Novak, (Cze), -3 laps

114. Sam Malfliet, (B), -3 laps

115. Nicolas Bazin, (F), -3 laps

116. Nicola Rohrbach, (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, -4 laps

117. Denis Vorontsov, (Rus), -4 laps

118. Karel Videcky, (Cze), Max Cursor, -4 laps

119. Tim Ottens, (Ned), -4 laps

120. Joris Massaer, (B), -4 laps

121. Frank Lehmann, (G), -4 laps

122. Marti Gispert Labarta, (Sp), Maxxis Msc, -4 laps

123. Maarten Krommendijk, (Ned), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, -4 laps

124. Andras Melts, (Hun), -4 laps

125. Daniel Schütz, (Swi), -4 laps

126. Christian Vogt, (G), -4 laps

127. Pierre Geoffrey Plantet, (F), -4 laps

128. Sam Schultz, (USA), -4 laps

129. Kevin Van Hoovels, (B), -4 laps

130. William Bjergfelt, (GB), -4 laps

131. Mark Nellen, (Ned), -4 laps

132. Urs Foehn, (Swi), Univega Pro Cycling Team, -4 laps

133. Andre Kleindienst, (G), Lapierre International, -4 laps

134. Fabian Brzezinski, (G), -4 laps

135. Leon De Jong, (Ned), -4 laps

136. Mathijs Wagenaar, (Ned), -4 laps

137. Rick Evers, (Ned), -4 laps

138. Jochen Coconcelli, (G), -4 laps

139. Paul Remy, (F), -4 laps

140. Ian Field, (GB), -4 laps

141. Dylan Cooper, (Aus), -4 laps

142. Ruud Rentmeester, (Ned), -4 laps

143. Peter Nilges, (G), -4 laps

144. Axel Bult, (Ned), -4 laps

145. Thibault Legastelois, (F), lapierre International, -4 laps

146. Ludovic Mottet, (B), -4 laps

147. Lukas Vlach, (Cze), -4 laps

148. Torsten Walter, (G), -4 laps

149. Daniel Eiermann, (G), -4 laps

150. Robert Vrecer, (Slo), -4 laps

151. Gerald Hauer, (A), -4 laps

152. Wilko Rochow, (G), -4 laps

153. John Devine, (USA), -4 laps

154. Nick WaiTeam, (USA), -4 laps

155. Dominiek Ranson, (B), -4 laps

156. Marcel Groothuismink, (Ned), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, -5 laps

157. Stanislav Machac, (Cze), -5 laps

158. Ian Bibby, (GB), -5 laps

159. Shaun Lewis, (Aus), -5 laps

160. Onno Houwer, (Ned), -5 laps

161. Werner Weiss, (I), -5 laps

162. Guo Yinhui, (Chn), -5 laps

163. Jordy Luisman, (Ned), Heijdens Ten Tusscher, -5 laps

164. Thomas Felkel, (G), -5 laps

165. Jorgen Flion, (B), -5 laps

166. Georg Huber, (A), -5 laps

167. Klemens Bont, (Swi), -5 laps

168. Dror Pekatch, (Isr), -5 laps

169. Tom Geeraerts, (B), -5 laps

170. Andy Taildeman, (B), -5 laps

171. Steve Appermans, (B), -5 laps

172. Karel De Wael, (B), -6 laps

173. Gael Martinet, (Swi), Domcycle Commencal Bike P, -6 laps

174. Timothy Madgwick, (NZl), -7 laps