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Paulissen, Dahle rule Houffalize World Cup

Roel Paulissen (Siemens Mobile Cannondale) took an extremely popular victory in front of a partisan Belgian crowd in Houffalize, with the bonus of taking the overall lead in the World Cup from fellow countryman Filip Meirhaeghe (Specialized), who could only manage fourth on the day. In the women's race, it was all Gunn-Rita Dahle (Merida) once again, riding away from the field on the first lap. Alison Dunlap (Luna) took second, which gives a real boost to her Olympic hopes. The traditional Houffalize course was trimmed considerably, from 12km to 8km. Both the men and the women did a

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By Rob Jones, Special to VeloNews

Paulissen takes the win and the World Cup lead

Paulissen takes the win and the World Cup lead

Photo: Mark Dawson

Roel Paulissen (Siemens Mobile Cannondale) took an extremely popular victory in front of a partisan Belgian crowd in Houffalize, with the bonus of taking the overall lead in the World Cup from fellow countryman Filip Meirhaeghe (Specialized), who could only manage fourth on the day.

In the women’s race, it was all Gunn-Rita Dahle (Merida) once again, riding away from the field on the first lap. Alison Dunlap (Luna) took second, which gives a real boost to her Olympic hopes.

The traditional Houffalize course was trimmed considerably, from 12km to 8km. Both the men and the women did a shortened first lap with a long paved climb, followed by six laps for the men and four for the women. The circuit was extremely dry and fast, with numerous short, steep climbs and technical descents. Full suspension was the almost universal choice.

Sauser and Paulissen working the trail

Sauser and Paulissen working the trail

Photo: Mark Dawson

Dahle took off quickly, building a 15-second gap over world champion Sabine Spitz (Fusion) by the end of the first short lap. Spitz, who missed the first World Cup after suffering a fever, came into the race with high hopes, but it was not to be – she was out early in the next lap with a broken rear derailleur.

While Dahle cruised up front, a battle was raging between Annabella Stropparo, Dunlap, Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects), Paola Pezzo (Gatorade-Specialized) and Marga Fullana (Orbea).

Dunlap and Stropparo dropped the others on the second lap, and rode together until two laps to go, when Dunlap attacked.

“Annabella accelerated to drop the others, and I could stay with her comfortably, then I put the throttle down with two to go. It’s 130 (UCI) points, which helps a lot.” Dunlap is trying to pile up the points in hopes of gaining the lone women’s mountain-biking berth on America’s Olympic team.

Stropparo held on for third, while Barbara Blatter (Specialized) moved up to take fourth, ahead of Fullana. Sydor faded with leg cramps on the last lap and was passed by a surging Marie Helene Premont (Oryx), Kiara Bisaro (GearsRacing.com), and Petra Heinz to end up ninth.

Dahle has a perfect 500 points in the overall standings after two races, followed by Stropparo (300), and Dunlap (285).

In the men’s race, Paulissen followed Dahle’s lead, attacking early to forge a15-second lead over Miguel Martinez (Commencal-Oxbow) and his teammate Christoph Sauser. Meirhaeghe was next at 30 seconds, but already struggling with the pace.

But the win went to Dahle

But the win went to Dahle

Photo: Mark Dawson

Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) started well, slotting into fifth after the first lap, but faded through the race to finish 48th.

Another rider missing from the front was Roland Green (Trek-VW). He dropped out on the first lap with a mechanical last week in Madrid, and thus started well back, in 71st place. He spent the entire race working his way forward, to finish 29th.

Sauser moved up to join Paulissen, and the pair did a two-up time trial for the rest of the race. Meirhaeghe and Martinez chased together all race, until the final lap, when Meirhaeghe dropped back and was passed by Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos).

The race finished as expected, with Paulissen taking the strategic win to overtake Meirhaeghe in the World Cup standings.

“My plan was to go early and push hard; make the others chase. Christoph and I didn’t talk about it (the win), but we didn’t ride against each other. It is the most beautiful victory in a classic mountain bike race.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Results, World Cup No. 2, Houffalize, Belgium

Men

1. Roel Paulissen (B), Siemens Mobile Cannondale, 44.8km in 2:03:07

2. Christoph Sauser (Swi), Siemens Mobile Cannondale, at at 0:08

3. Julien Absalon (F), Bianchi Agos, at 3:55

4. Filip Meirhaeghe (B), Specialized Mountain Bike Team, at 4:17

5. Miguel Martinez (F), Commencal-Oxbow, at 4:22

6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (F), Lapierre International, at 5:11

7. Lado Fumic (G), Team-T-Mobile, at 5:54

8. Thomas Frischknecht (Swi), Swisspower, at 6:54

9. Liam Killeen (GB), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 7:02

10. Christoph Soukup (A), at 7:15

11. Sid Taberlay (Aus), at 7:15

12. Cedric Ravanel (F), Team Orbea, at 7:16

13. Carsten Bresser (G), Ralph Denk Racing Team, at 7:36

14. Manuel Fumic (G), Team-T-Mobile, at 7:39

15. Peter Pouly (F), at 8:00

16. Ivan Alvarez (Sp), at 9:13

17. Sergiy Rysenko (Ukr), at 9:26

18. Jose Antonio Hermida (Sp), at 9:33

19. Jakob Fuglsang (Den), at 9:41

20. Josh Fleming (Aus), at 9:51

21. Erwin Bakker (Ned), at 10:15

22. Yader Zoli (I), at 10:31

23. Philip Tavell (Swe), at 10:47

24. Radim Korinek (Cze), at 10:47

25. Silvio Bundi (Swi), at 11:00

26. Florian Vogel (Swi), at 11:10

27. Bart Brentjens (Ned), Team-T-Mobile, at 11:17

28. Martin Kraler (A), at 11:28

29. Roland Green (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at 11:35

30. Marek Galinski (Pol), at 11:38

31. Michael Weiss (A), at 11:54

32. Marco Bui (I), at 12:10

33. Jelmer Pietersma (Ned), at 12:10

34. Thys Al (Ned), at 12:13

35. Craig Gordon (Aus), at 12:17

36. Christof Bischof (Swi), at 12:33

37. Roman Rametsteiner (A), at 12:49

38. Jochen Kass (G), at 12:54

39. Nicolas Filippi (F), at 12:56

40. Mathieu Toulouse (Can), Gears Racing, at 13:00

41. Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Sp), at 13:22

42. Mirko Pirazzoli (I), at 13:34

43. Martino Fruet (I), at 13:42

44. Wolfram Kurschat (G), at 13:44

45. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA), at 13:53

46. Bas Peters (Ned), at 13:55

47. Ricky Federau (Can), Gears Racing, at 14:02

48. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 14:13

49. Pavel Boudny (Cze), at 14:21

50. Frederic Frech (F), at 14:25

51. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze), at 14:28

52. Stefan Sahm (G), at 14:37

53. Igor Baretto (I), at 14:44

54. Andreas Kugler (Swi), at 14:54

55. Igor Bogdan (Ukr), at 15:13

56. Martin Gujan (Swi), at 15:29

57. Milan Spesny (Cze), at 15:46

58. Moritz Milatz (G), at 15:51

59. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-adidas, at 16:04

60. Andreas Dilger (G), at 16:11

61. Karl Platt (G), at 16:19

62. Chris Jongewaard (Aus), at 16:23

63. Geoff Kabush (Can), Maxxis, at 16:30

64. Klaus Vesterlund Nielsen (Den), at 16:36

65. Alban Lakata (A), at 16:45

66. Miha Solar (Slo), at 16:49

67. Sandro Spaeth (Swi), at 16:57

68. Reto Manetsch (Swi), at 17:22

69. Benjamin Rudiger (G), at 17:24

70. Jimmy Tielens (B), at 17:25

71. Ludovic Dubau (F), at 17:35

72. Gody Jacobs (B), at 17:59

73. Todd Wells (USA), at 18:35

74. Ivan Seledkov (Rus), at 18:56

75. Calle Friberg (Swe), at 19:41

76. Thomas Dietsch (F), at 24:23

77. Marten Tjallingii (Ned), at -1 lap

78. Marx Till (Swi), at -1 lap

79. Peter Riis Andersen (Den), at -1 lap

80. Yury Trofimov (Rus), at -1 lap

81. Thomas Roccaro (Swi), at -1 lap

82. Joris Boillat (Swi), at -1 lap

83. Thomas Nicke (G), at -1 lap

84. JirÌ Novak (Cze), at -1 lap

85. Filip Ebert (Cze), at -1 lap

86. Jurg Graf (Swi), at -1 lap

87. Jeremiah Bishop (USA), at -1 lap

88. Tim Heemskerk (Ned), at -1 lap

89. Karl-Emi Lindgren (Swe), at -1 lap

90. Tim Bohme (G), at -1 lap

91. Andrea Tiberi (I), at -1 lap

92. Klaus Nielsen (Den), at -1 lap

93. Adam Craig (USA), at -1 lap

94. Luke Stockwell (Aus), at -1 lap

95. Rob Reuvers (Ned), at -1 lap

96. Fabio Bernasconi (Swi), at -1 lap

97. Gerald Burgsteiner (A), at -2 laps

98. Nahuela Andrada (Arg), at -2 laps

99. Jordy Luisman (Ned), at -2 laps

100. Phil Dixon (GB), at -2 laps

101. Robert Vrecer (Slo), at -2 laps

102. Michael Broderick (USA), at -2 laps

103. Marc Hanisch (G), at -2 laps

104. Alessandro Fontana (I), at -2 laps

105. Thomas Stoll (Swi), at -2 laps

106. Vitaliy Tsurkan (Ukr), at -2 laps

107. Maxim Gogolev (Rus), at -2 laps

108. Thomas Zahnd (Swi), at -2 laps

109. Frank Schotman (Ned), at -2 laps

110. Rene Tann (G), at -2 laps

111. Micha De Vries (Ned), at -2 laps

112. Onno Houwer (Ned), at -2 laps

113. Fabian Brzezinski (G), at -2 laps

114. Joris Massaer (B), at -2 laps

115. Robert Mennen (G), at -2 laps

116. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat), at -2 laps

117. Stefan Jonas (A), at -2 laps

118. Lukas Mueller (Swi), at -2 laps

119. Jose Manuel Garcia Rodriguez (Sp), at -2 laps

120. Patrick Gaudy (B), at -2 laps

121. Anze Bizjak (Slo), at -3 laps

122. Rudy Van Houts (Ned), at -3 laps

123. Rick Evers (Ned), at -3 laps

Women

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor), Multivan Merida Biking Team, 38.3km in 2:08:50

2. Alison Dunlap (USA), Luna, at 3:12

3. Annabella Stropparo (I), at 3:17

4. Barbara Blatter (Swi), Specialized, at 3:47

5. Marga Fullana (Sp), Team Orbea, at 4:13

6. Marie-Helene Premont (Can), ORYX, at 4:16

7. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Gears Racing, at 4:24

8. Petra Henzi (Swi), at 4:37

9. Alison Sydor (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, at 4:50

10. Laurence Leboucher (F), at 5:35

11. Irina Kalentieva (Rus), Multivan Merida Biking Te, at 6:04

12. Mary McConneloug (USA), at 6:47

13. Maria Ostergren (Swe), at 6:55

14. Elsbeth Van Rooy-Vink (Ned), at 7:51

15. Susan Haywood (USA), Trek-Volkswagen, at 8:14

16. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA), at 8:24

17. Katrin Leumann (Swi), at 9:43

18. Barbel Jungmeier (A), at 10:29

19. Yanping Ma (Chn), at 11:07

20. Ivonne Kraft (G), at 11:12

21. Sarah Noble (Can), Rocky Mountain Business Objects, at 11:16

22. Lene Byberg (Nor), at 11:35

23. Janka Stevkova (Svk), at 11:46

24. Sabrina Enaux (F), at 12:15

25. Severine Hansen (F), at 12:17

26. Katrin Schwing (G), at 12:25

27. Melanie Mcquaid (Can), at 13:20

28. Lisa Mathison (Aus), at 13:28

29. Robyn Wong (Nzl), at 13:46

30. Catherine Delfosse (B), at 14:39

31. Daniela Louis (Swi), at 15:05

32. Saskia Elemans (Ned), at 15:06

33. Janet Puiggros Miranda (Sp), at 15:21

34. Xiaoning Gao (Chn), at 15:58

35. Evelyn Staffler (I), at 16:01

36. Birgit Jungst (G), at 16:32

37. Elisabeth Osl (A), at 16:57

38. Corine Dorland (Ned), at 17:07

39. Petra Schorkmayer (A), at 17:35

40. Elina Sophocleous (Cyp), at 18:05

41. Nadja Walker (Swi), at 18:09

42. Sonia Foote (Nzl), at 18:12

43. Regina Marunde (G), at 18:46

44. Mirjam Dieleman (Ned), at 19:28

45. Anna Enocsson (Swe), at 19:37

46. Cecile Rode (F), at 20:10

47. Mette Andersen (Den), at 20:17

48. Sarka Chmurova (Cze), at 21:14

49. Erica Osterlund (Swe), at 22:46

50. Barbara Oberdorfer (I), at -1 lap

51. Asa Erlandsson (Swe), at -1 lap

52. Claudia Marsilio (I), at -1 lap

53. Laura Turpijn (Ned), at -1 lap

54. Adelheid Morath (G), at -1 lap

55. Barbora Bohata (Cze), at -1 lap

56. Arielle Van Meurs (Ned), at -1 lap

57. Maaris Meier (Est), at -1 lap

58. Maryline Salvetat (F), at -1 lap

59. Almut Grieb (G), at -2 laps

60. Jenny Mccauley (Irl), at -2 laps

61. Tarja Owens (Irl), at -2 laps

62. Sarah Koba (Swi), at -2 laps

63. Stefania Zanasca (I), at -2 laps

64. Petra Hofs (Ned), at -2 laps

65. Francisca Campos (Chi), at -2 laps

66. Audrey Middendorp (Ned), at -2 laps

67. Tereza Jonsova (Cze), at -2 laps

68. Ingrid Van Der Vlist (Ned), at -2 laps

69. Githa Miechiels (B), at -2 laps

70. Ruth Mcgavigan (GBr), at -2 laps

71. Kristien Nelen (B), at -2 laps

72. Femke Terpstra (Ned), at -2 laps

73. Noelia Rodriguez (Arg), at -2 laps

74. Monika Heuveling (Ned), at -3 laps

75. Merel Koenen (Ned), at -3 laps

76. Nina Kunz (G), at -3 laps