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MTB World Cup XC # 1 - CDM
Curacao, April 1, 2006
Race 2 - Men
Brentjens takes a popular win
By Rob Jones in Curacao
Race course designer Bart Brentjens (Giant) took a popular win in the men's race, in front of a swimsuit clad crowd on the beach at Curacao. There were a number of riders who were capable of taking a victory, led by world and Olympic champion Julien Absalon (Bianchi Agos). Liam Killeen (Specialized), fresh from winning the Commonwealth Games title in Australia last week, his new team mate (and last year's World Cup champion) Christoph Sauser, Roel Paulissen (Giant), and the Multivan Merida duo of Jose Hermida and Ralph Naf were also riders that have been on the podium many times.
Heat was the primary factor in the races and, after watching the women, officials decided to shorten the men's race from the planned seven laps to six. Many riders spoke of experiencing goosebumps (an early indication of overheating), and most were trying to drink at least a bottle per lap.
Brentjens, the former world champion and Olympic champion, designed this course, and has spent considerable time in Curacao over the past few years [he says that he is the 'ambassador' to mountain biking on Curacao, back in Holland], which may have offered some slight 'home field' advantage. In spite of this, the Dutch rider was a worthy winner, putting on an impressive display of power, riding to the front on the first lap and holding off a charge by Absalon in the middle of the race.
Absalon joined Brentjens at the front of the race on the third lap, with Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale Vredstein) sitting third at 20 seconds, just in front of Paulissen and the Specialized pair of Killeen and Sauser. Behind them, Naf, Hermida and McGrath were chasing, but steadily losing ground. In the final two laps Naf and Kessiakoff both dropped back and Killeen overtook Paulissen for third.
Brentjens revealed that he had a terrible time with the heat on the second lap, which allowed Absalon to catch up. "The second lap was terrible for me, with the heat - I had chicken skin [goosebumps] and I blew up a bit. So I drank a lot and poured water on my neck, and after the third lap I felt better, in fact my legs began to feel really, really good. I was thinking 'this is a good day for me.' I attacked on the last lap in the single track and got 20 metres right away, so I knew it was possible to win."
Absalon agreed that Brentjens was the stronger rider, and was content with his second place. "He was really powerful, and I maybe did too much at the beginning when I had to catch him," he said after the finish. "But this is good for me at this time of year, and now I will go back and train for the three World Cups in Europe next month."
Killeen saw his third place as a vindication. "It proves that last week (gold at Commonwealth Games) wasn't a fluke. Roel wouldn't work to help bring me up to (his team mate) Bart, and in the windy open sections this meant that I spent a lot of time on the front," said the Englishman.
Sauser, the defending World Cup champion, was anxious to show his new sponsors that he was a good investment, but was labouring with a bad sprain in his left leg. "I sprained my leg six weeks ago in a snowshoe race, and then yesterday I had a huge crash, which sent me over the handlebars and on my side. But I think I am a big fighter, so I rode tough," he explained after the finish.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
1 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Giant-Racing-Team 1.48.52 2 Julien Absalon (Fra) Bianchi Agos 0.21 3 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racing 0.28 4 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Giant-Racing-Team 0.45 5 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing 1.28 6 Ralph Nf (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team 1.35 7 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Cannondale-Vredestein 1.54 8 Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 2.57 9 Seamus McGrath (Can) Felt 3.13 10 Florian Vogel (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 3.54 11 Lado Fumic (Ger) FumicBrothersInternational 5.11 12 Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein 5.17 13 Peter Riis Andersen (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein 5.25 14 Nino Schurter (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 5.54 15 Marti Gispert Labarta (Spa) Club Freebike 6.12 16 Alban Lakata (Aut) Specialized Factory Racing 6.41 17 Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant-Racing-Team 6.43 18 Michael Broderick (USA) 19 Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Col) 7.00 20 Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 7.11 21 Adam Craig (USA) Giant USA 7.21 22 Michael Weiss (Aut) 7.30 23 Martin Kraler (Aut) Giant-Racing-Team 7.40 24 Karl Platt (Ger) Rocky Mountain Busienss Objects 7.51 25 Jerome Chevalier (Fra) Bh-Sr Suntour 7.53 26 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 7.54 27 Johann Pallhuber (Ita) 7.56 28 Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein 8.12 29 Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita) 8.29 30 Thomas Frischknecht (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 8.48 31 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Groep Versluys-Sportstech-Landbouwkrediet 8.57 32 Marc Golz (Ger) FumicBrothersInternational 9.00 33 Philip Spencer (GBr) Bikin'cyprus Int 9.11 34 Jochen Kaess (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 9.35 35 Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) Team Orbea 9.44 36 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) 10.01 37 Stefan Sahm (Ger) Giant-Racing-Team 10.18 38 Romain Dewaele (Fra) Massi-Abarth 10.21 39 Yury Trofimov (Rus) 10.26 40 Marek Galinski (Pol) 10.41 41 Miguel Martinez (Fra) Maxxis-Msc 10.51 42 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) 11.03 43 Javier Puschel (Chi) 11.08 44 Simon Richardson (GBr) 11.13 45 Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Pro Race Team 11.26 46 Tomas Vokrouhlik (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb 11.33 47 Nick Waite (USA) 11.40 48 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Maxxis 11.43 49 Pierre Lebreton (Fra) Pro Race Team 11.44 50 Cristobal Silva (Chi) 11.52 51 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Bh-Sr Suntour 12.00 52 Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Team Orbea 12.12 53 Balz Weber (Swi) Team BikeparkCh Tui 12.51 54 Ruud Rentmeester (Ned) 13.21 55 Steven Roach (GBr) 13.33 56 Massimo De Bertolis (Ita) 13.37 57 Benjamin Rudiger (Ger) 13.44 58 Julio Humberto Caro Silva (Col) 13.46 59 Marc Trayter Alemany (Spa) Maxxis-Msc 13.53 60 Carl Decker (USA) 14.26 61 Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Dolphin 14.39 62 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Bianchi Agos 14.52 63 Denis Vorontsov (Rus) 15.26 64 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek Volkswagen Pro Factory Team 15.37 65 Shaun Lewis (Aus) 15.48 66 Burry Stander (RSA) 15.57 67 Lukas Hanus (Svk) Merida Biking Team 16.18 68 Martin Lazarski (Can) 16.40 69 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Dolphin 16.49 70 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) 16.58 71 Steffen Thum (Ger) 17.24 72 Dror Pekatch (Isr) 20.41 73 Milan Spesny (Cze) Merida Biking Team 23.21 74 Samuel Schultz (USA) 75 Bjorn Brems (Bel) Dolphin 76 Dariusz Batek (Pol) Lotto 1 lap down 77 Franklin Lugo (Ven) 78 Milton Miranda (Pur) 79 Ivan Seledkov (Rus) 80 Adrian Lansley (GBr) 81 William Bjergfelt (GBr) 82 Ross Schnell (USA) 83 Nicolas Garcera (Fra) 2 laps down 84 Frank Beemer (Ned) Dolphin 85 Sam Jurekovic (USA) 86 Till Marx (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 87 Tony Longo (Ita) 88 Gert-Jan Knijnenburg (Ned) 89 Jesus Rojas (Ven) 90 Raul Ceballos (Ven) 91 Christof Bischof (Swi) Bikin'cyprus Int 3 laps down 92 Ali Castillo (Ven) 93 Lee Williams (GBr) 94 Tony Castro (Ven) 95 Edmundo Garcia (Pur) 96 Jaime Perestrelo (Aho) 97 Jaime Lopez (Pur) 98 Tirado Melvin (Pur) 4 laps down 99 Henry Dorego (Aho) 100 Miranda Angel (Pur) DNF Todd Wells (USA) DNF Bas Peters (Ned) DNF Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Dolphin DNF Alexis Segarra (Pur) DNF Perry Van Der Wolde (Aho) DNF Tim Ottens (Ned) DNF Pedro Santos (Pur) DNF Jeff Schalk (USA) DNF Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis DNF Inaki Lejarreta (Spa) Team Orbea DNF Nicholas Ranno (USA) DNF Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team DNF Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Bh-Sr Suntour DNF Cedric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International