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MTB World Cup XC #7 & DH #5 - CDM
Bromont, Canada, August 1-3, 2008
Race 7 - August 3: Elite men cross country
Absalon wins again
By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec
Julien Absalon (Orbea) rode smoothly and consistently for six laps to take a solo victory at the Bromont World Cup, just one week after his win at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Lukas Flückiger (Athleticum) spent a majority of his race in no-man's land in pursuit of French National Champion Absalon. For a time he seemed to fade, but he hung tough to finish second while Team Giant's Adam Craig ended up third.
Absalon was not deterred when he saw the rain in the morning. "I was happy," he smiled. "If it rains, it's good. If it doesn't rain, it's good. I like when it's muddy like this because I live in the north of France, so I ride a lot in similar conditions."
Absalon knew from experience where he wanted to be during the race. "I think in these conditions, it's better to be in front because you can choose your line on the singletrack," he said. "It was important today to not fall so it was better to be alone because you can go like you want."
The French National Champion's brakes and shifters were filled with mud, but everyone suffered the same problems. Absalon was selective about when he walked and when he rode. "Sometimes it's faster to walk than to ride," he said. "Also, if you go slow on the bike while riding, you catch all the mud on your bike."
The Swiss Flückiger said the key to his race was riding his own pace. He appeared to start well, bog down in the middle portion of the race and then perk up near the end, when his second place looked secure, barring any mishaps.
Craig raced to third in his best-ever World Cup finish. He credited his third place to riding a full suspension - his new Anthem X with more mud clearance and different suspension design and more linear travel - which let him rest on the technical singletrack sections.
"I was able to deal with the conditions effectively so it was good," said Craig. "I wouldn't call it 'enjoyable', but it was pretty fun.
"There were sections of the course that were cool," said Craig, who has been training through both of the Canadian World Cup races. "All that traversing stuff is like what I grew up riding in Maine - just a bunch of burly flat, weird stuff that's hard to find a rhythm."
Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis), the only other top finisher to ride a full suspension, finished fourth. At times during the race, the Canadian racer was "as far back as 10th or 12th", but he kept up his pace in what became a race of attrition for many. "I think people went out too hard, especially those on hardtails," said Kabush. "I knew it would be a long race so I kept it steady. On one lap near the end, I moved up four spots.
"I thought I might have a chance at Adam, but it's one of the few times he was able to hold me off, so it's good to see he was riding really strong as well," added Kabush. "A lot of people were talking about the tough singletrack, and we don't usually race that, but I ride that all the time. It was my favourite part of the track today. It's where I could rest a bit and find a rhythm."
Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) led the bunch on the first half lap, but he couldn't hold the blistering pace and as the race went on, he dropped a few places. The Spaniard's ride was still good enough for a fifth place finish, and he said he had recovered well from last weekend's crash.
Hermida said poor tire choice made his race tough. "Before the start, it was raining the whole time so I thought I'd use dry tires," he said. "If it is still raining during the race, with dry tires you can be fast because the water cleans the mud. But before the start the weather changed and it stopped raining so the mud started to dry and get heavier and thicker.
"I spent so much energy just to move the bike with the tires I picked, but I'm happy to come back again to the podium. I felt good," he added. "Even more important, it's the first time I grew a moustache and got on the podium."
American Todd Wells (GT Bicycles) put in his trademark fast start, before luck failed him. "I had a couple of flat tires," said Wells, who still ended up a respectable 10th. "After my good start, I flatted and lost a bunch of spots. Just as I started to make up some places, I flatted again at the end. I was feeling really good out there; I just had some bad luck."
Fellow American Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru / Gary Fisher) finished just one place behind Wells. "I was feeling really good for the first half and was fighting for podium spots [JHK was as high as sixth - ed.], but then I had a bad wreck, and I broke a couple of spokes in my rear wheel and hit my shoulder pretty hard on the fourth lap. I struggled a little from there until the end, but I'm happy."
South African Burry Stander (GT Bicycles) made it as high as fourth place, but then he lost a lot of ground quickly including five places on one lap with a little over two laps to go. Stander, who visited the podium last weekend, would finish 24th.
Although many of the racers were thinking of Beijing and riding cautiously to prevent injury, the race will no doubt serve as a confidence boost to those who did well - at least for verifying their fitness.
"This race is so irrelevant to Beijing," said Craig. "If Beijing was like this, I'd be pumped." He added, however, that he was pleased to see he was riding 3.5 minute behind Absalon instead of 5.5 minutes like last weekend.
"It is completely different than the Olympics, but it was interesting to see the level of the other guys and that I'm in good shape," said Absalon, who was still trying to decide his plans for the next two weeks before the big day in Beijing. "I don't know what I will do. I have two options. One is to stay in the north of France and the other is to go in the south of France to where there is hot weather because I think it will be important to train in high temperatures. It could be really hot in Beijing."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by FJ Hughes / www.fhughesphoto.com
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
Images by Marek Lazarski
1 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea 2.16.24 2 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 2.14 3 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 3.46 4 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 5.07 5 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking 6.07 6 Martin Gujan (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 7.17 7 Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team 7.23 8 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 7.56 9 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racin 8.01 10 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bicycles 8.39 11 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 8.55 12 Hannes Metzler (Aut) Giant Mountain Bike Team 10.33 13 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 11.27 14 Derek Zandstra (Can) 11.45 15 Seamus Mcgrath (Can) 13.45 16 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 15.23 17 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW 16.34 18 Karl Markt (Aut) 16.49 19 Carl Decker (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 17.05 20 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 18.17 21 Michael Broderick (USA) 18.52 22 Matthew Hadley (Can) 20.04 23 Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi) 21.13 24 Burry Stander (RSA) GT Bicycles 21.21 Behind one lap 25 Connor Mcconvey (Irl) 26 Eric Batty (Can) 27 Ola Kjören (Nor) 28 Daniel Sessford (Can) 29 Martin Fanger (Swi) 30 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 31 Matous Ulman (Cze) 32 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 33 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona 34 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 35 Craig Richey (Can) 36 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Behind two laps 37 Freddy Betremieux (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 38 Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain 39 Gareth Montgomerie (GBr) 40 Calle Friberg (Swe) 41 Francis Morin (Can) 42 Andrew Watson (Can) 43 Bas Peters (Ned) 44 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Central Ghost Pro Team 45 Spencer Paxson (USA) 46 Tad Elliot (USA) 47 Kenji Takeya (Jpn) 48 Frank Schotman (Ned) 49 Andrew Freye (USA) Behind three laps 50 Leni Trudel (Can) 51 Troy Wells (USA) 52 Cody Peterson (USA) 53 Pierre Lebreton (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 54 Martin Loo (Est) Merida Biking Team 55 Ethan Gilmour (USA) 56 Anders Hovdenes (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 57 Timothy Madgwick (NZl) 58 Ryan Atkins (Can) DNF Robin Seymour (Irl) DNF Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain DNF John Gray (NZl) DNF Julien Fillion (Can) DNF Josef Kamler (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB DNF Kyle Douglas (Can) DNF Mitchell Peterson (USA) DNF Pablo Voigt Rodriguez (Mex) DNS Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein Team 1 Giant Mountain Bike Team 63 pts 2 Athleticum-MTB-Team 61 3 Team Maxxis 41 4 Orbea 40 5 Multivan Merida Biking Team 28 6 GT Bicycles 28 7 Merida Biking Team 24 8 Specialized Factory Racing 22 9 Subaru-Gary Fisher 20 10 Team Lapierre International 18 11 Trek-VW 14 12 Bh-Sr. Suntour 1 World Cup standings after seven rounds 1 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea 1340 pts 2 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing 855 3 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 785 4 Burry Stander (RSA) GT Bicycle 767 5 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 688 6 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 664 7 Martin Gujan (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 664 8 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International 663 9 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 658 10 Nino Schurter (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 626 11 Florian Vogel (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 578 12 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bicycle 573 13 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 556 14 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea 520 15 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein 490 16 Seamus Mcgrath (Can) 462 17 Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein 441 18 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 404 19 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It 387 20 Jürg Graf (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 376 21 Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea 340 22 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) 340 23 Hannes Metzler (Aut) Giant Mountain Bike Team 336 24 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 313 25 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea 308 26 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale-Vredestein 299 27 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racing 290 28 Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant Mountain Bike Team 284 29 Karl Markt (Aut) 267 30 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 253 31 Tony Longo (Ita) Full-Dynamix-It 231 32 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com 220 33 Thomas Frischknecht (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 219 34 Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team 212 35 Milan Spesny (Cze) Merida Biking Team 212 36 Yader Zoli (Ita) Giant Italia Team 208 37 Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team 200 38 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 196 39 Bas Peters (Ned) 183 40 Derek Zandstra (Can) 176 41 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International 176 42 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW 171 43 Lado Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International 171 44 Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 165 45 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 161 46 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It 161 47 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 160 48 Michael Broderick (USA) 156 49 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 156 50 Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Giant Italia Team 152 51 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 149 52 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) 130 53 Sven Nys (Bel) 130 54 Gion Manetsch (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 128 55 Matthias Flückiger (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 127 56 Andreas Kugler (Swi) Fischer-BMC 125 57 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 123 58 Connor Mcconvey (Irl) 115 59 Matthew Hadley (Can) 112 60 Anders Hovdenes (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 110 61 Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) ECP-Tau Ceramica 106 62 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) Gewiss Bianchi 105 63 Jochen Kass (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 103 64 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 102 65 Michael Weiss (Aut) 99 66 Frank Schotman (Ned) 98 67 Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain 96 68 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona 94 69 Tim Bohme (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 89 70 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 87 71 Ola Kjören (Nor) 86 72 Martino Fruet (Ita) 86 73 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Central Ghost Pro Team 82 74 Peter Riis Andersen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 82 75 Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi) 81 76 Martin Fanger (Swi) 81 77 Marti Gispert Labarta (Spa) ECP-Tau Ceramica 78 78 Eric Batty (Can) 76 79 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier 75 80 Matous Ulman (Cze) 71 81 Carl Decker (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 68 82 Peter Glassford (Can) 62 83 Daniel Sessford (Can) 61 84 Andrew Watson (Can) 58 85 Israel Nunez Baticon (Spa) Massi 57 86 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain 56 87 Till Marx (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 55 88 Pierre Lebreton (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 52 89 Calle Friberg (Swe) 51 90 Francis Morin (Can) 51 91 Spencer Paxson (USA) 51 92 Josef Kamler (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB 48 93 Marc Colom (Fra) 47 94 Craig Richey (Can) 45 95 Kristian Hynek (Cze) 42 96 Fabian Giger (Swi) 41 97 Lachlan Norris (Aus) 41 98 Freddy Betremieux (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 40 99 Christof Bischof (Swi) 40 100 Kenji Takeya (Jpn) 39 101 Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG2-APC Presmet 39 102 Stefan Widmer (Can) 38 103 Julien Fillion (Can) 36 104 Alban Lakata (Aut) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 34 105 Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita) 34 106 Tad Elliot (USA) 32 107 Ricky Federau (Can) 31 108 Sid Taberlay (Aus) 30 109 Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 30 110 Gareth Montgomerie (GBr) 29 111 Ryan Atkins (Can) 29 112 Ian Bibby (GBr) 29 113 Marc Trayter Alemany (Spa) ECP-Tau Ceramica 28 114 Klaus Nielsen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 27 115 Davy Coenen (Bel) 27 116 Adam Snyder (USA) 26 117 Mattias Wengelin (Swe) 26 118 Dario Alejandro Gasco (Arg) Massi 26 119 Patrik Gallati (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 25 120 Andras Parti (Hun) 22 121 Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) 21 122 Andrew Freye (USA) 19 123 Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam 19 124 Leni Trudel (Can) 18 125 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 18 126 Troy Wells (USA) 17 127 Kyle Douglas (Can) 17 128 Ian Wilkinson (GBr) 17 129 Cody Peterson (USA) 16 130 Pascal Meyer (Swi) 16 131 Ross Schnell (USA) Trek-VW 15 132 Bjorn Brems (Bel) 15 133 David Lozano Riba (Spa) MSC Bikes 15 134 Martin Loo (Est) Merida Biking Team 14 135 Jonathan Boulanger (Can) 14 136 Javier Eduardo Puschel (Chi) 14 137 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) 14 138 Ethan Gilmour (USA) 13 139 Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Lapierre International 13 140 Alejandro Diaz De La Pena Lopez (Spa) 13 141 Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Giant Italia Team 12 142 Torsten Marx (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 12 143 Timothy Madgwick (NZl) 11 144 Mattias Nilsson (Swe) 11 145 Ji Jianhua (Chn) 10 146 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Versluys-Landbouwkrediet MTB Team 10 147 Ian Field (GBr) 9 148 Jonathan Galante (Fra) 9 149 Lukas Kaufmann (Swi) 8 Team standings 1 Orbea 445 pts 2 Swisspower MTB Team 318 3 Athleticum-MTB-Team 256 4 GT Bicycles 252 5 Giant Mountain Bike Team 236 6 Cannondale-Vredestein 231 7 Specialized Factory Racing 207 8 Team Maxxis 169 9 Multivan Merida Biking Team 165 10 Team Lapierre International 136 11 Full-Dynamix-IT 117 12 Subaru-Gary Fisher 64 13 Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 59 14 Merida Biking Team 43 15 Topeak Ergon Racing Team 40 16 Fumic.Brothers.International 39 17 Cemelorca-Seguros10.com 37 18 Giant Italia Team 37 19 Trek-VW 28 20 ECP-TAU Ceramica 18 21 Rocky Mountain 17 22 Kona 13 23 Fischer-BMC 10 24 BH-SR. Suntour 1 25 Gewiss Bianchi 1 26 Scott Valloire Galibier 1