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2004 MTB World championships - CM
Les Gets, France, September 8-12, 2004
Race 4 - September 10: Cross Country U/23 Men
Fumic takes first world title for Germany
By Rob Jones in Les Gets
Manuel Fumic delivered the first ever world title for a German man today in the Under 23 Men's cross-country, as he eked out a slim four second victory over his perennial rival Liam Killeen of Great Britain. Florian Vogel added to the growing Swiss medal count by taking the bronze.
The Espoir race saw Fumic hang back in the early laps, behind the charging trio of Killeen, Vogel and Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spain).
"The start was very fast, too fast for me" explained Fumic. "Killeen, Vogel and the Spanish rider were setting a very fast pace, and I decided to go my own speed for the first two laps. Then I went a little faster and was able to catch them. I knew Killeen was the fastest one, so I knew that I had to try and stay with him. I had my eye on him the whole time."
Killeen, for his part, knew that Fumic was the one to watch. "Off the line I made a bit of a mistake and dropped to fifth, but I was able to get up to Florian (Vogel) and Lajarreta. They were driving it really fast; maybe too fast. But I knew that Manny was coming back, and that he was the guy to watch."
Fumic caught the front runners on the third lap (of six plus a start loop), at the same time that Lajarreta went backwards. The German T-Mobile rider caught the Spaniard, rode with him for a short period and then jumped across to Killeen and Vogel. The three stayed together for another lap (the fourth), before Vogel was dropped for good on the fifth lap, as Fumic and Killeen upped the pace.
The British and German riders, rivals in the Under 23 World Cup competition (which Killeen is leading), rode together through the fifth lap, with Killeen taking lead on the climbs. On the final lap there was a switch, with Fumic coming to the front and putting pressure on. Killeen responded on the first climb of the lap, but on the longer second climb Fumic was able to open up a small gap, which he held to the finish.
"At two laps to go, when we were alone, then we started to attack." said Fumic. "First me attack, then he attack, then me - all the time. I could see that I was getting a small gap on the biggest climb, so on the last lap I attacked him again and got maybe 15 metres, which I was able to hold to the finish line."
Killeen confirmed the analysis, "I led for the most part on the climb, then Manny managed to get in front going into the woods, and got a bit of a gap over the top. I felt that maybe I went a bit into the red (earlier in the race). Maybe the World's wasn't the best place to change tactics and ride like that."
Both Fumic and Killeen admitted that the U23 race is a bit of an unusual occurrence, since they race all season with the elite (i.e. 23+) riders, and this has an effect on how they race.
Fumic explained that, "It is a totally different race from something like the World Cups and the Olympics, where the elite riders are present. They are stronger and at the front, and we are more mixed in with them. Here, we are always looking at each other - there are more tactics."
"We don't get to race as a category very often - this is my first U23 race this year. So, we watch each other more, take more turns at the front. There was definitely more strategy here then we normally face at a World Cup," Killeen agreed.
Manuel Fumic had his own question for Liam Killeen at the press conference: "There were so many people from Great Britain! Every corner we went around there were people shouting 'Liam, Liam'. How did you get so many here?" Killeen simply replied, "I've got a pretty big family."
For more serious matters, the UCI carried out 22 blood tests before today's race, on riders from Spain, France and the Czech Republic. One rider was declared unfit to race - Alejandro Diaz de la Pena Lopez of Spain. The UCI also collected a whopping 2700 Euros in fines from 18 countries for late entries and substitution of riders less than 48 hours before the start of the competition.
Also note that Filip Meirhaeghe, the 2003 cross-country world champion, who tested positive for EPO earlier in the year (and promptly retired), has been spotted in Les Gets.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images click here.
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Birke Ulrich/www.alakarte.de
1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 1.56.10 2 Liam Killeen (Great Britain) 0.04 3 Florian Vogel (Switzerland) 2.14 4 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spain) 3.47 5 Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spain) 5.14 6 Oleksandr Yakymenko (Ukraine) 6.10 7 Gion Manetsch (Switzerland) 6.53 8 Emil Lindgren (Sweden) 7.15 9 Filip Eberl (Czech Republic) 7.35 10 Tim Böhme (Germany) 7.38 11 Jelmer Pietersma (Netherlands) 7.54 12 Martin Gujan (Switzerland) 7.55 13 Miha Solar (Slovenia) 8.35 14 Rudy Van Houts (Netherlands) 8.39 15 Yury Trofimov (Russia) 9.11 16 Jurg Graf (Switzerland) 9.19 17 Simon Richardson (Great Britain) 9.25 18 Tony Longo (Italy) 9.35 19 Johannes Sickmüller (Germany) 10.06 20 Philip Spencer (Great Britain) 10.26 21 Dominiek Ranson (Belgium) 10.38 22 Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) 11.17 23 Till Marx (Switzerland) 11.28 24 Max Plaxton (Canada) 11.51 25 Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Colombia) 11.57 26 Alexis Swetloff (France) 12.00 27 Moritz Milatz (Germany) 12.11 28 François Bailly Maitre (France) 12.45 29 Frank Lehmann (Germany) 12.59 30 Anze Bizjak (Slovenia) 13.15 31 Kris Sneddon (Canada) 13.23 32 András Melts (Hungary) 13.33 33 Rene Tann (Germany) 14.00 34 Caspar Austa (Estonia) 14.11 35 Jacob Johansen (Denmark) 14.13 36 Kryspin Pyrgies (Poland) 14.18 37 Daniel Suter (Switzerland) 14.29 38 Benjamin Rudiger (Germany) 14.30 39 Michal Talavasek (Czech Republic) 14.37 40 Nick Waite (USA) 14.51 41 Sebastien Delfosse (Belgium) 14.54 42 Gonçalo Pereira (Portugal) 15.15 43 Sam Schultz (USA) 16.02 44 Mirko Farnisi (Italy) 16.33 45 Hubert Pollinger (Italy) 16.43 46 Tiago Dias (Portugal) 17.00 47 András Parti (Hungary) 17.20 48 Ivan Seledkov (Russia) 17.32 49 Derek Zandstra (Canada) 18.06 50 Alan Obye (USA) 18.16 51 Benjamin Lemay (France) 18.17 52 Andrea Tiberi (Italy) 19.39 One lap down 53 Nicolas Bazin (France) 54 Bostjan Pahovnik (Slovenia) 55 Gerald Burgsteiner (Austria) 56 Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia) 57 Nahuel Andrada (Argentina) 58 Fabien Bourly (France) 59 Nicolas Vermeulen (Belgium) 60 Yannick Rannou (France) 61 Evgueni Petchenine (Russia) 62 Martin Lazarski (Canada) 63 Gonçalo Brito (Portugal) 64 Kazuhiro Yamamoto (Japan) 65 Lewis Ferguson (Ireland) 66 John Devine (USA) Two laps down 67 Marco Sousa (Portugal) 68 Nicholas Ranno (USA) 69 Johan Van Zyl (South Africa) 70 John-Paul Pearton (South Africa) 71 Matt Hadley (Canada) 72 Alex Hagman (USA) 73 Tristan Schouten (USA) 74 Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia) 75 Nick Hotchin (New Zealand) 76 Andrew Watson (Canada) 77 Vyacheslav Dyadichkin (Kazakhstan) 78 Javier Puschel (Chile) 79 Normunds Lasis (Latvia) Three laps down 80 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway) 81 Giorgos Fattas (Cyprus) 82 Alexey Medvedev (Russia) 83 Bálint Nagy (Hungary) 84 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) Four laps down 85 Nikos Nikolaou (Cyprus) DNF Lukas Flueckiger (Switzerland) DNF Pavel Boudny (Czech Republic) DNF Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) DNF Trent Lowe (Australia) DNF Steven Roach (Great Britain) DNF Julien Montaron (France) DNF Marcin Kobialka (Poland) DNS Olegs Melehs (Latvia)