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Göhl, Absalon win storm-tossed Scottish World Cup leg

The fourth round of the cross-country mountain-bike World Cup took riders to the Scottish Highlands on Saturday. Despite cold rain, which was torrential at times, the event featured some of the best racing of the World Cup so far. Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos) took his third consecutive victory in the men's race, but perennial women's favorite Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida) ceded the top spot on the podium to her young teammate Nina Göhl after suffering a flat on the first lap. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), meanwhile, had a breakthrough ride to finish on the podium

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By Rob Jones, Special to VeloNews

Göhl en route to victory

Photo: Rob Jones

The fourth round of the cross-country mountain-bike World Cup took riders to the Scottish Highlands on Saturday. Despite cold rain, which was torrential at times, the event featured some of the best racing of the World Cup so far.

Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos) took his third consecutive victory in the men’s race, but perennial women’s favorite Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida) ceded the top spot on the podium to her young teammate Nina Göhl after suffering a flat on the first lap. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), meanwhile, had a breakthrough ride to finish on the podium in fifth place.

As usual, Dahle went to the front at the start of the women’s four-lap race, but when the leaders came through at the end of the lap, the blue jersey of the World Cup leader was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) held a 40-second lead over Göhl and Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon).

Dahle had flatted, and then found out after changing the tube that her air cartridge didn’t work. So, she had to run 2km to the tech zone.

“I lost many spots, I think I heard 59th or 60th when I got going again. Plus, it was hard to have to pass so many people,” she said.

Dahle motored straight through the field and managed to work her way back onto the podium in fourth place by the end of the race, calling it “my strongest effort this year. I felt so good out there all day today.”

While Dahle was working her way back up, Premont was riding a steady pace at the front of the race, still 40 seconds ahead of Göhl and Kalentieva by the third lap. However, she was struggling to maintain that distance.

“I felt pretty strong up there, but on the top of the course there was a lot of wind, so the two riders behind me had a better time, I think.”

On the main climb of lap three Göhl left Kalentieva when the Russian rider dropped her chain at the start of the main climb. This possibly turned out to be a good thing for Göhl, as she quickly reeled in Premont so that the pair started the last lap together.

Premont said national coach Michel Leblanc told her that Göhl “was much faster than me on the downhill, maybe gaining 20 seconds there. I tried to make up time where I could, but she was just stronger today.”

Göhl dropped Premont before the climb, and managed to extend her lead to more than a minute by the finish. Kalentieva held on for third, with Dahle catching the fading chase group of Lene Byberg (Bikin’ Cyprus), Sabine Spitz (Specialized) and Marga Fullana (Spiuk-Illes Balears) to take fourth ahead of Byberg.

Göhl called her win “the biggest of my career, this is absolutely the best I have done.”

“Irina and I were working very well together, but when she had her mechanical problem I could not wait,” she said. “I could see that I was riding better than Marie-Helene, so I did an attack before the big climb and descent and was able to get a gap.”

Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) rode a consistent race just behind the top-10, finishing 13th, followed by Kiara Bisaro (Team R.A.C.E.) in 15th and Wendy Simms (Kona Velo Bella) in 16th. Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) was the top U.S. finisher in 20th, followed by Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven Cycles) in 23rd.

Absalon surges to the finish

Absalon surges to the finish

Photo: Rob Jones

Absalon does it again
The men’s race split up quickly on the first lap, with a group of 10 distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Absalon, Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Horgan-Kobelski, Bart Brentjens (Giant), Christoph Sauser (Specialized), Florian Vogel (Swisspower), Moritz Milatz (Multivan Merida), Michael Weiss and Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida) were all in the lead group. Among significant riders who didn’t make the front were Roel Paulissen (Giant), who dropped out on the first lap (stomach problems the night before), and Filip Meirhaeghe (Versluys), who also disappeared early.

Näf dropped out shortly after the first lap following a crash, and the front group split up further as riders couldn’t handle the pace. By the third lap, Absalon felt it was time to break things up some more, and only Hermida and JHK could respond to his attack. Horgan-Kobelski backed off on the fourth lap, aware that he couldn’t maintain the pace of the front group, dropping back to a group containing Sauser, Brentjens, Vogels, Milatz, Cedric Ravanel (Lapierre), U23 series leader Nino Schurter (Swisspower) and Ludovic Dunau (Pro).

“I had a good start and we had a strong group at the front after the first lap,” said Absalon. “By the third lap I wanted to try and break it up some more, and only Jose and the American (Horgan-Kobelski) could come. Then after we had dropped (Horgan-Kobelski) I tried to go again in the final lap on the first steep climb, because I had seen that I was stronger there.”

In the last lap Absalon’s surge gained him a few seconds on Hermida, which he was able to hold to the finish. Vogel won a three-way sprint over Brentjens and Horgan-Kobelski for third.

Horgan-Kobelski considers this result among the best of his career. “I took a big step forward today; I was in the mix with the big guys all day,” he said. “This is definitely one of my best results. I came into the race pretty motivated, maybe too motivated. When I found myself at the front with Absalon and Hermida it took too much out of me so I dropped back a bit to recover and try and hold on for a podium.”

Seamus McGrath (Canadian National-Felt Bicycles) rode a consistent race in the mid-teens to finish 18th, while Adam Craig (Giant) was 23rd, Todd Wells (GT) was 30th and Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) finished 46th.

Photo Gallery



1. Nina Göhl (Ger), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 37.3km in 2:04:18

2. Marie-Helene Premont (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, at 1:11

3. Irina Kalentieva (Rus), Topeak-Ergon, at 2:20

4. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor), Multivan Merida, at 3:43

5. Lene Byberg (Nor), Bikin'cyprus, at 3:59

6. Sabine Spitz (Ger), Specialized, at 4:12

7. Margarita Fullana Riera (Esp), Spiuk Illes Balears, at 4:48

8. Eva Lechner (Ita), at 5:04

9. Chengyuan Ren (Chn), at 6:16

10. Blaza Klemencic (Slo), Pintatim Full-Dynamix, at 7:31

11. Maria Ostergren (Swe), at 7:35

12. Maja Wloszczowska (Pol), Lotto, at 7:58

13. Alison Sydor (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, at 8:13

14. Annika Smail (NZl), at 8:19

15. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Team R.A.C.E., at 8:19

16. Wendy Simms (Can), Velo Bella – Kona, at 8:19

17. Anna Szafraniec (Pol), Lotto, at 9:02

18. Petra Henzi (Sui), Fischer-Bmc, at 9:19

19. Rosara Joseph (NZl), at 9:33

20. Willow Koerber (USA), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 10:00

21. Tereza Hurikova (Cze), Ceska Sporitelna, at 10:09

22. Maroussia Rusca (Sui), Team Bikepark, at 10:58

23. Mary Mc Conneloug (USA), Kenda Seven, at 10:59

24. Adelheid Morath (Ger), at 11:33

25. Ying Liu (Chn), at 11:39

26. Cécile Rode (Fra), Team Lapierre Internation, at 11:54

27. Maria Osl (Aut), Toni's Pro Team Kirchbear, at 12:00

28. Heather Irmiger (USA), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 12:02

29. Jingling Wang (Chn), at 12:16

30. Sarah Koba (Sui), at 12:17

31. Franziska Röthlin (Sui), Kona Verbier Factory Team, at 12:44

32. Evelyn Staffler (Ita), at 12:50

33. Jenny Copnall (GBr), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 13:02

34. Susan Haywood (USA), Trek Volkswagen Pro, at 13:27

35. Elisabeth Osl (Aut), at 13:48

36. Ariëlle Van Meurs (Ned), at 14:09

37. Laura Turpijn (Ned), at 14:44

38. Anna Enocsson (Swe), at 15:07

39. Jaqueline Mourao (Bra), at 15:22

40. Séverine Hansen (Fra), at 15:33

41. Ivonne Kraft (Ger), at 16:22

42. Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol), at 16:39

43. Pia Sundstedt (Fin), at 16:54

44. Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe), 17:06

45. Saskia Elemans (Ned), at 17:19

46. Sabrina Enaux (Fra), at 17:29

47. Katerina Nash (Cze), Luna, at 17:48

48. Amy Hunt (GBr), at 17:55

49. Kathy Sherwin (USA), at 18:53

50. Nina Homovec (Slo), at 19:21

51. Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Esp), at 19:35

52 Nataliya Krompets (Ukr), at 19:46

53. Githa Michiels (Bel), at 21:06

54. Caroline Jackson (GBr), at 21:18

55. Elina Sophokleous (Cyp), at 21:29

56. Sarka Chmurova (Cze), at 21:38

57. Tarja Owens (Irl), at 22:14

58. Jennifer O'connor (NZl), at 22:20

59. Hanna Klein (Ger), at 22:29

60. Ruth Mcgavigan (GBr), at 22:45

61. Wei Fang (Chn),, at 23:01

62. Sheju Mei (Chn), at 24:00

63. Carrissa Wilkes (NZl), at 24:21

64. Kim Hurst (GBr), at 28:55

65. Kate George (GBr), -1 lap

66. Sophie Johnson (GBr), -1 lap

67. Genevieve Whitson (NZl), -1 lap

68. Dagmar Borrowman (GBr), -1 lap

69. Amanda Davies (NZl), -1 lap

70. Julie Cartner (GBr), -1 lap

71. Helen Findlay (GBr), -2 laps

DNF Bärbel Jungmeier (Aut)

DNF Neus Parcerisses (Esp)

DNF Linda Larsen (Nor)

DNF Kate Potter (Aus)


1. Julien Absalon (Fra), Bianchi Agos, 46.7km in 2:16:33

2. Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Esp), Multivan Merida Biking Team, at 0:07

3. Florian Vogel (Sui), Swisspower Mtb Team, at 2:24

4. Bart Brentjens (Ned), Giant-Racing-Team, at 2:25

5. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 2:26

6. Moritz Milatz (Ger), Multivan Merida Biking Team, at 2:35

7. Christoph Sauser (Sui), Specialized Factory Racing, at 2:38

8. Cédric Ravanel (Fra), Team Lapierre International, at 2:41

9. Nino Schurter (Sui), Swisspower Mtb Team, at 2:43

10. Ludovic Dubau (Fra), Pro Race Team, at 2:56

11. Balz Weber (Sui), Team Bikepark.Ch Tui, at 4:12

12. Thomas Frischknecht (Sui), Swisspower Mtb Team, at 4:27

13. Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita), at 4:31

14. Martin Kraler (Aut), Giant-Racing-Team, at 4:39

15. Alban Lakata (Aut), Specialized Factory, at 4:44

16. Nicolas Filippi (Fra), Scott Les 2 Alpes, at 5:02

17. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita), at 5:28

18. Seamus Mcgrath (Can), Felt, at 5:40

19. Oliver Beckingsale (GBr), Giant-Racing-Team, at 5:46

20. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (Den), Cannondale-Vredestein, at 5:54

21. Michael Weiss (Aut), SRM, at 6:02

22. Tony Longo (Ita), at 6:20

23. Adam Craig (USA), Giant, at 6:37

24. Andreas Kugler (Sui), athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 6:50

25. Marek Galinski (Pol), at 7:12

26. Yury Trofimov (Rus), at 7:15

27. Stéphane Tempier (Fra), Scott Les 2 Alpes, at 7:21

28. Jader Zoli (Ita), Ktm International Team, at 7:44

29. Marti Gispert Labarta (Esp), Freebike Team, at 7:45

30. Todd Wells (USA), GT, at 8:13

31. Hakon Austad (Nor), Team Hoydahl, at 8:35

32. Rudi Van Houts (Ned), Dolphin, at 8:52

33. Lukas Flückiger (Sui), Bianchi Agos, at 8:56

34. Ivan Seledkov (Rus), at 8:57

35. Peter Riis Andersen (Den), Cannondale-Vredestein, at 9:29

36. Tim Bohme (Ger), at 9:34

37. Chris Jongewaard (Aus), Team Alb-Gold Mountainbiking, at 9:38

38. Silvio Bundi (Sui), athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 9:50

39. Pierre Lebreton (Fra), Pro Race Team, at 9:56

40. Clinton Robert Avery (NZl), at 10:09

41. Vaclav Jezek (Cze), Ceska Sporitelna Mtb, at 10:21

42. Denis Vorontsov (Rus), at 10:41

43. Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Esp), Proflex, at 10:43

44. Jochen Kaess (Ger), Team Alb-Gold Mountainbiking, at 10:57

45. Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Esp), Proflex, at 10:57

46. Geoff Kabush (Can), Maxxis, at 11:01

47. Gion Manetsch (Sui), athleticum-Mtb-Team, at 11:27

48. Tomas Vokrouhlik (Cze), Ceska Sporitelna Mtb, at 11:36

49. Till Marx (Sui), Swisspower Mtb Team, at 11:46

50. Benjamin Rudiger (Ger), at 11:51

51. Hannes Metzler (Aut), at 12:02

52. Christof Bischof (Sui), Bikin'cyprus Int., at 12:34

53. Ivan Schalbetter (Sui), at 12:36

54. Philip Spencer (GBr), Bikin'cyprus Int., at 12:51

55. Karl Markt (Aut), at 13:10

56. Jeremiah Bishop (USA), Trek Volkswagen Pro Factory, at 13:28

57. Burry Stander (RSA), at 13:29

58. Perren Delacour (Aus), at 13:39

59. Quincy Vens (Bel), Groep Versluys-Sportstech, at 14:37

60. Karl Platt (Ger), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, at 14:57

61. Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Esp), Massi-Abarth, at 15:03

62. Igor Bogdan (Ukr), at 15:04

63. Raffael Schmid (Sui), Fischer-Bmc, at 15:06

64. Samuel Schultz (USA), at 15:38

65. Daniel McConnell (Aus), at 16:25

66. Carl Decker (USA), at 17:26

67. Marcus Roy (NZl), at 17:36

68. Stefan Sahm (Ger), Giant-Racing-Team, at 18:06

69. Ian Bibby (GBr), at 18:08

70. Petter Jorgensen (Nor), at 18:08

71. Andi Weinhold (Ger), at 18:27

72. Lachlan Norris (Aus), at 18:35

73. Israel Nunez Baticon (Esp), at 18:50

74. Tobias Witzak (Ger), at 18:57

75. Jiri Friedl (Cze), Merida Biking Team, at 19:07

76. Joris Boillat (Sui), at 19:07

77. Juan Trujillo Hernandez (Esp), Massi-Abarth, at 19:16

78. Sergiy Rysenko (Ukr), at 19:18

79. Frank Schotman (Ned), at 19:42

80. Ruud Rentmeester (Ned), at 19:53

81. Steffen Thum (Ger), at 20:11

82. Andras Melts (Hun), at 20:13

83. Michael Broderick (USA), at 20:51

84. Marc Trayter (Esp), Maxxis-Msc, at 21:10

85. Rene Tann (Ger), at 22:13

86. Cody Peterson (USA), at 22:25

87. Johann Pallhuber (Ita), at 22:38

88. Rick Evers (Ned), at 23:02

89. Zak Toogood (GBr), at 23:12

90. Martin Bratland (Nor), at 23:26

91. Duncan Jamieson (GBr), at 23:27

92. Bjorn Brems (Bel), Dolphin, at 24:30

93. Robert Wardell (GBr), at 26:03

94. Yannick Bernasconi (Sui), Team Bikepark.Ch Tui, at 29:47

95. Jochen Concocelli (Ger), Fumic.Brothers.Internatio -1 lap

96. Lee Williams (GBr), -1 lap

97. Frank Beemer (Ned), Dolphin -1 lap

98. Nicholas Ranno (USA), -1 lap

99. Murray Spink (Aus), -1 lap

100. Jürg Graf (Sui), -1 lap

101. James Fraser-Moodie (GBr), -1 lap

102. Friedeman Schmude (Ger), -1 lap

103. Paul Oldham (GBr), Hope Factory -1 lap

104. Oleksandr Yakymenko (Ukr), -1 lap

105. Robert Mennen (Ger), -1 lap

106. Dror Pekatch (Isr), -1 lap

107. Lukas Hanus (Svk), Merida Biking Team -1 lap

108. Ross Adams (GBr), -1 lap

109. Steve Hambling (GBr), -1 lap

110. Lewis Ferguson (Irl), -1 lap

111. James Maebus (Aus), -1 lap

112. David Leiman (RSA), -2 laps

113. Tim Wijnants (Bel), Dolphin -2 laps

114. Adam Broyad (GBr), -2 laps

115. Norman Gillan (GBr), -2 laps

116. William Bjergfelt (GBr), -3Laps

117. Sam Jurekovic (USA), -3Laps

118. Bas Peters (Ned), -3Laps

119. Ole Christian Fagerli (Nor), -3Laps

DNF Ralph Näf (Sui)

DNF Roel Paulissen (Bel)

DNF Liam Killeen (GBr)

DNF Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe)

DNF Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel)

DNF Kashi Leuchs (NZl)

DNF Martin Gujan (Sui)

DNF Christoph Soukup (Aut)

DNF Jelmer Pietersma (Ned)

DNF Sid Taberlay (Aus)

DNF Milan Spesny (Cze)

DNF Joan Llordella Prat (Esp)

DNF Sebastian Luciano Blanco (Arg)

DNF Robin Seymour (Irl)

DNF Robert Kircher (Aut)

DNF Steven Roach (GBr)

DNF Niall Davis (Irl)

DNF Adrian Lansley (GBr)

DNF Gareth Montgomerie (GBr)

DNF Davy Coenen (Bel)

DNF Hans Becking (Ned)

DNF Calle Friberg (Swe)

DNF Mattias Stenberg (Swe)

DNF Peter Hafner (Aut)

DNF Richard Mardle (GBr)

DNS Lado Fumic (Ger)

DNS Shaun Lewis (Aus)

DNS Simon Richardson (GBr)

DNS James Ouchterlony (GBr)

DNS Jimmy Tielens (Bel)