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Among the names on the potential winners list of the 2011 Leadville 100, Alban Lakata’s will be the least familiar for most. Unless you’re a true devotee of the mountain bike racing game, you may not know that this 32-year-old Austrian won the 2010 world marathon title and is his country’s reigning cross-country national champ.
Indeed, the “Albanator” as he’s dubbed on his personal website, has a great chance to become the first non-American (man or woman) to win America’s most famous long-distance cross country race. This year, he’s already proven his mettle, going toe-to-toe with XC legend Christoph Sauser at Trans Germany. Sauser barely edged Lakata, winning the four-stage, 11-plus-hour race by just 1:14.
“He’s the real deal,” said Specialized’s Todd Wells, who’s also on this year’s Leadville five-star favorites list. “Anyone who is riding with Sauser like that is going good.”
Lakata (Topeak-Ergon) will attack Leadville’s famed out-and-back course on a 26-inch carbon hardtail. Here’s a look at his bike: