Events

Same old story: Fullana wins again

She may not be the world champion, but right now there’s little doubt who the best female cross country rider in the world is. For the fifth time in her last six tries, Spain’s Marga Fullana took victory in a World Cup, this time beating Great Britain’s Caroline Alexander by 40 seconds to take round two of the 2002 series in Houfallize, Belgium on Sunday. Fullana (Orbea) turned her four laps around the 7.7km course in 1:46:20. After Alexander (Great Britain National) came Annabella Stropparo (Be One) in third at :48, then Alison Dunlap (Luna) at 1:21 and Barbara Blatter (Specialized) at

By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor

Fullana heading to victory.

Fullana heading to victory.

Photo: Jason Sumner

She may not be the world champion, but right now there’s little doubt who the best female cross country rider in the world is. For the fifth time in her last six tries, Spain’s Marga Fullana took victory in a World Cup, this time beating Great Britain’s Caroline Alexander by 40 seconds to take round two of the 2002 series in Houfallize, Belgium on Sunday.

Fullana (Orbea) turned her four laps around the 7.7km course in 1:46:20. After Alexander (Great Britain National) came Annabella Stropparo (Be One) in third at :48, then Alison Dunlap (Luna) at 1:21 and Barbara Blatter (Specialized) at 1:25.

This is the fourth year in a row that Fullana was won in Houffalize.

“This is my favorite course for sure,” said the 2000 world champion, who is now just two World Cup wins away from tying Paola Pezzo for third on the all-time wins list at 13. “It is not just because I win so many times here, but it is also a very fun course.”

From the outset of the race it was clear Fullana was the rider to beat. The Spaniard was leading the pack during the first 1.5km climb up the paved Bois des Moines and was still at the front at the end of the second big climb of the first lap.

A lap later at the midway point the top 10 was essentially set, with Fullana six seconds up on Alexander, followed by Stropparo, Spitz, Blatter, Germany’s Regina Marunde, Dunlap, Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen), Gunn-Rita Dahle (Merida) and Laurence Leboucher. Leboucher was the only rider who would fall out of that group, settling for 11th behind Sweden’s Maria Ostergren.

The opening climb.

The opening climb.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Midway through lap 3 Fullana had upped her advantage to 23 seconds and at the end of the lap it was 25.

“She’s tough to beat when she’s on,” said Sydor, No. 2 on the all-time wins list at 17.

Blatter makes her way up Houffalize's toughest climb.

Blatter makes her way up Houffalize’s toughest climb.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Besides Fullana’s dominance, Blatter’s fifth-place finish was particularly impressive. After missing the opening round race at Madrid, the Swiss rider was forced to start way back of the top riders and had to work hard just to get up to the front.

“I passed the most people on the pavement,” Blatter said. “But it takes a lot of energy.”

Dunlap clawed her way up in the standings as well, moving from seventh in lap two to fourth by the finish.

“The first couple laps I was just maintaining,” said the reigning world champ. “Then on the last two I started feeling better and managed to gain some places back.”

Alexander was the only rider to really push Fullana. The Brit stayed close throughout, only fading during the final lap.

“She said she felt as strong as she’s felt in long time but she rode a bit too cautious,” said British national coach Simon Burney. “She probably should have attacked instead of waiting to see what Fullana did.”

The cross country World Cup now takes the next month off, before reconvening in Quebec on June 29-30 for round three at Mont-Ste-Anne. That race will see the beginning of the shakeout for the overall title, and with current No. 1 Fullana saying she won’t make the trip to North America, and No. 2 Alexander focusing on the Commonwealth Games, the title chase looks to be between Dunlap, Spitz and Sydor.

Photo Gallery

Results

TISSOT UCI WORLD CUP; CROSS COUNTRY NO. 2; Houffalize, Belgium; May 26; Women; Position, Plate, UCI Code, Name, Nation, Age, Time; 1, 1, SP19720409, FULLANA, Marga, SP, 30, 30.8km in 1:46:20.00;
2, 4, GBR19680303, ALEXANDER, Caroline, GBR, 34, 1:47:00.00;
3, 54, ITA19680704, STROPPARO, Annabella, ITA, 34, 1:47:08.00;
4, 2, USA19690727, DUNLAP, Alison, USA, 33, 1:47:41.00;
5, 52, SWI19701222, BLATTER, Barbara, SWI, 32, 1:47:46.00;
6, 3, GER19711227, SPITZ, Sabine, GER, 31, 1:47:52.00;
7, 6, GER19680826, MARUNDE, Regina, GER, 34, 1:49:14.00;
8, 8, NOR19730210, DAHLE, Gunn-rita, NOR, 29, 1:50:29.00;
9, 5, CAN19660909, SYDOR, Alison, CAN, 36, 1:50:56.00;
10, 71, SWE19780409, OSTERGREN, Maria, SWE, 24, 1:50:59.00;
11, 11, FRA19720222, LEBOUCHER, Laurence, FRA, 30, 1:51:30.00;
12, 20, ITA19690108, GIACOMUZZI, Elena, ITA, 33, 1:51:43.00;
13, 9, AUS19710603, GRIGSON, Mary, AUS, 31, 1:52:25.00;
14, 12, SWI19691014, HENZI, Petra, SWI, 33, 1:52:45.00;
15, 19, CAN19660316, REDDEN, Chrissy, CAN, 36, 1:53:25.00;
16, 29, PREMONT, Marie-Helene, CAN, 25, 1:53:59.00;
17, 13, RUS19761202, EPIFANOVA, Alla, RUS, 26, 1:54:15.00;
18, 56, SP19671215, ROVIRA PLANAS, Silvia, SP, 35, 1:54:24.00;
19, 24, FRA19810110, THEVENET, Marion, FRA, 21, 1:54:41.00;
20, 28, FRA19791016, MARCOUYRE, Helene, FRA, 23, 1:54:53.00;
21, 10, SWI19740613, RUSCA, Maroussia, SWI, 28, 1:55:12.00;
22, 15, GER19740727, KLOSE, Sandra, GER, 28, 1:55:23.00;
23, 21, GER19700708, KRAFT, Yvonne, GER, 32, 1:55:24.00;
24, 26, GER19720321, SCHWING, Katrin, GER, 30, 1:55:42.00;
25, 16, SWI19820329, TRAXEL, Sonja, SWI, 20, 1:55:50.00;
26, 58, SWE19710318, ENOCSSON, Anna, SWE, 31, 1:55:58.00;
27, 55, AUT19730405, BRAUMANN, Birgit, AUT, 29, 1:56:17.00;
28, 61, SVK19760204, STEVKOVA, Janka, SVK, 26, 1:56:58.00;
29, 17, POL19810216, SZAFRANIEC, Anna, POL, 21, 1:56:59.00;
30, 57, AUT19670510, EMBACHER, Hildegard, AUT, 35, 1:57:10.00;
31, 39, CAN19751112, BISARO, Kiara, CAN, 27, 1:57:24.00;
32, 32, SP19730917, PUIGGROS MIRANDA, Janet, SP, 29, 1:57:41.00;
33, 31, ITA19730107, PORTA, Daniela, ITA, 29, 1:58:19.00;
34, 30, AUS19761002, FRANKE, Dellys, AUS, 26, 1:58:26.00;
35, 97, SWI19820329, WALKER, Nadja, SWI, 20, 1:58:37.00;
36, 33, BRA19761227, MOURAO, Jacqueline, BRA, 26, 1:58:56.00;
37, 42, CHN19780205, MA, Yan Ping, CHN, 24, 1:59:35.00;
38, 44, GBR19760625, THOMAS, Sue, GBR, 26, 1:59:44.00;
39, 25, AUT19711003, SCHORKMAYER, Petra, AUT, 31, 1:59:52.00;
40, 45, CAN19690205, SINCLAIR, Trish, CAN, 33, 2:00:29.00;
41, 34, DEN19740109, ANDERSEN, Mette, DEN, 28, 2:00:30.00;
42, 37, NOR19690525, KOSTOL, Ragnhild, NOR, 33, 2:00:42.00;
43, 62, SWI19820208, LEUMANN, Katrin, SWI, 20, 2:00:55.00;
44, 14, AUT19750708, JUNGMEIER, Barbel, AUT, 27, 2:01:18.00;
45, 68, FRA19720104, SOUCHON, Virginie, FRA, 30, 2:01:20.00;
46, 59, HUN19740303, VAJDA, Marta, HUN, 28, 2:01:32.00;
47, 22, JPN19681008, NAMBU, Hiroko, JPN, 34, 2:01:50.00;
48, 69, FRA19780401, ENAUX, Sabrina, FRA, 24, 2:02:56.00;
49, 50, GER19730317, RAHNER, Carolin, GER, 29, 2:03:04.00;
50, 36, AUS19771026, LOW, Jaci, AUS, 25, 2:03:17.00;
51, 38, USA19670101, HALL, Gina, USA, 35, 2:03:55.00;
52, 66, BEL19641002, QUINTENS, Hilda, BEL, 38, 2:04:02.00;
53, 95, FRA19760501, BAUD, Vivianne, FRA, 26, 2:04:05.00;
54, 53, AUS19761216, BAYLIS, Anna, AUS, 26, 2:04:21.00;
55, 106, SWI19820406, FAHRNI, Joelle, SWI, 20, 2:04:51.00;
56, 76, FRA19730412, CLOLUS-ROCHET, Sonia, FRA, 29, 2:04:55.00;
57, 99, CHN19820404, ZHANG, Na, CHN, 20, 2:04:56.00;
58, 108, AUS19680503, MASSON, Karen, AUS, 34, 2:05:07.00;
59, 48, FRA19800805, GUIRRONNET, Sandrine, FRA, 22, 2:05:32.00;
60, 40, GBR19751119, COPNALL, Jenny, GBR, 27, 2:05:46.00;
61, 78, FRA19830625, PESENTI, Julie, FRA, 19, 2:06:15.00;
62, 93, CHN19791124, JING, Li, CHN, 23, 2:06:53.00;
63, 41, RUS19780810, PAZITOVA, Valentina, RUS, 24, 2:07:16.00;
64, 84, FRA19810205, HANSEN, Severine, FRA, 21, 2:07:17.00;
65, 64, IRL19770525, OWENS, Tarja, IRL, 25, 2:07:31.00;
66, 47, ISR19680831, COPANS, Laurie, ISR, 34, 2:08:25.00;
67, 101, DEN19770410, BRUHN, Nadine, DEN, 25, 2:08:52.00;
68, 86, NED19800914, DIELEMAN, Mirjam, NED, 22, 2:08:55.00;
69, 92, EST19830222, MEIER, Maaris, EST, 19, 2:09:03.00;
70, 105, BEL19810611, DELFOSSE, Catherine, BEL, 21, 2:09:57.00;
71, 67, AUS19750606, WALKER, Wendy, AUS, 27, 2:10:15.00;
72, 98, NED19781226, TURPIJN, Laura, NED, 24, 2:11:18.00;
73, 87, NED19751218, VAN GERVEN, Renate, NED, 27, 2:11:22.00;
74, 77, GBR19780819, WILKINSON, Victoria, GBR, 24, 2:13:52.00;
75, 94, GBR19830512, WAKEFIELD, Hazel, GBR, , -1 Lap;
76, 96, NED19711129, VAN DER VLIST, Ingrid, NED, , -1 Lap;
, 18, USA19711009, HAYWOOD, Susan, USA, 31, DNF;
, 23, NED19730630, DORLAND, Corine, NED, 29, DNF;
, 35, BEL19710602, VAN DEUN, Hilde, BEL, 31, DNF;
, 63, ITA19650719, BERTOSSI, Camilla, ITA, 37, DNF;
, 65, CZE19771209, HANUSOVA, Katerina, CZE, 25, DNF;
, 74, SWI19780221, LOUIS, Daniela, SWI, 24, DNF;
, 82, FRA19730915, GENTIEU, Sabine, FRA, 29, DNF;
, 88, AUT19820810, LUCKINGER, Daniela, AUT, 20, DNF;
, 89, NOR19821125, BYBERG, Lene, NOR, 20, DNF;
, 91, NED19780302, HOFS, Petra, NED, 24, DNF;
, 107, GER19761120, GOCKERT, Sandra, GER, 26, DNF;
, 43, NED19710508, BOOG RAUWERDA, Bernardine, NED, 31, DNS;
, 104, BEL19830328, MICHIELS, Gitta, BEL, 19, DNS

World Cup Overall Standings; After 2 of 5 events; 1. Fullana, 500 points; 2. Alexander, 350; 3. Dunlap, 350; 4. Spitz, 265; 5. Sydor, 210; 6. Marunde, 185; 7. Stropparo, 170; 8. Dahle, 170; 9. Grigson, 143; 10. Leboucher, 142; Other North Americans; 16. Redden, 118; 20. Premont, 107; 32. Bisaro, 82; 37. Sinclair, 67; 39. Haywood, 58; 54. Hall, 38