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MTB World Cup XC # 1 - CDM
Houffalize, Belgium, April 22-, 2007
Race 1 - April 22: Elite Women's XC
By Rob Jones in Houffalize, Belgium
Marga Fullana (Spiuk-Tau Ceramica), reveling in the heat, the climbs and the lack of technical sections, bolted off the front in the women's four lap (plus start loop) race. She was marked by Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), Ren Chengyuan (China) and Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Haywood), the two-time World Cup winner last year who was an unknown quantity, since she has not raced so far this year.
Fullana and Dahle-Flesjaa see-sawed over the lead for the first two full laps, with Ren just a few seconds behind. Sabine Spitz (Ghost international) was chasing solo at one minute, with Premont dropping back a further 30 seconds to ride with two more Chinese riders - Jingjing Wang and Ying Liu - while the rest of the field fell further behind.
Fullana opened a small 15 second gap on the third lap, but by the start of the final circuit, Dahle-Flesjaa and Ren had caught and dropped the Spanish rider. Spectators were already witnessing something unusual - Dahle-Flesjaa was not out on her own, cruising to another victory. It was about to get even more unique, as the duo came through the final corner onto the finishing straight with Ren a few metres in front of a clearly disappointed world champion. Crossing the line, Ren permitted herself one small smile, and briefly raised her arms, marking a historic moment in the world of mountain biking.
"I am very honoured to win because Gunn-Rita is a true champion," said Ren through a translator. "I know that this is just one victory," she continued, before being shepherded away by her coach.
Spitz hung on for fourth, followed by Jingjing Wang for the final podium spot. Premont came in just behind, followed by the third Chinese rider to crack the top ten - Ying Liu. US national and Pan American champion Georgia Gould (Luna) made an impressive ride up from 40th on the start grid to finish eighth.
"Second is not too bad at a World Cup," noted Dahle-Flesjaa. "The problem is that people expect me to always win, and that is not possible. I did my best, I had to fight all day for this position. It is not surprising to me that the Chinese riders did so well here because they get better and better every year."
- Premont was not too upset about finishing just off the podium - at home they received some 70 centimetres of snow in the last three weeks, so training on a mountain bike has been difficult. "This is my first race of the season, so I am very happy with how well I did. There is so much snow at home that I have not been able to ride my mountain bike, and my technical skills are not there yet. But I know now that I am not too far back from the leaders, and I will be back up there next time. The speed in the first two laps was just a bit to much for me right now, but it will come by Offenburg (the next World Cup)."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
1 Ren Chengyuan (Chn) China 2.00.23 2 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Te 0.01 3 Margarita Fullana (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 0.15 4 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Ghost International Racin 2.35 5 Jingjing Wang (Chn) China 3.07 6 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 3.28 7 Ying Liu (Chn) Team Lapierre International 4.22 8 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 4.49 9 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens Mtb Team 6.11 10 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) La Carrera-BTS 6.25 11 Elsbeth Van Rooij-Vink (Ned) Beone Mountainbiketeam 6.35 12 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb 6.46 13 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 6.59 14 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Tonis Pro Team Kirchberg 7.19 15 Rosara Joseph (NZl) 7.52 16 Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda/Seven 7.53 17 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 7.58 18 Arielle Van Meurs (Ned) 8.39 19 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 9.23 20 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Opus 9.36 21 Irina Kalentyeva (Rus) Topeak-Ergon 9.52 22 Anna Enocsson (Swe) Ghost International Racin 9.53 23 Eva Lechner (Ita) 10.33 24 Laura Turpijn (Ned) 10.42 25 Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 10.53 26 Sandra Walter (Can) X.0-Felt Womens MTB Team 10.59 27 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Pintatim Full-Dynamix 11.01 28 Elena Gaddoni (Ita) 11.06 29 Katrin Leumann (Sui) 11.33 30 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 11.54 31 Katrin Schwing (Ger) 12.29 32 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 12.36 33 Renata Bucher (Sui) 13.05 34 Nina Homovec (Slo) 13.13 35 Nathalie Schneitter (Sui) 13.36 36 Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda (Ned) 14.05 37 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized 14.20 38 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-Vw 14.24 39 Nina Göhl (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Te 14.44 40 Bettina Schmid (Sui) Fischer-Bmc 14.57 41 Laurence Leboucher (Fra) 14.58 42 Anna Szafraniec (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 15.03 43 Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 15.22 44 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona-Les Gets 15.28 45 Petra Henzi (Sui) Fischer-Bmc 15.30 46 Sarah Koba (Sui) 16.27 47 Maria Osl (Aut) Tonis Pro Team Kirchberg 16.38 48 Esther Süss (Sui) 16.39 49 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 17.29 50 Tanja Zakelj (Slo) 17.32 51 Janka Stevkova (Svk) 18.11 52 Francisca Campos Salas (Chi) 18.15 53 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 18.38 54 Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Esp) Massi 18.48 55 Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 19.09 56 Sarka Chmurova (Cze) Max Cursor 19.52 57 Saskia Elemans (Ned) 20.19 58 Maroussia Rusca (Sui) 20.32 59 Emma Colson (Aus) 20.36 60 Inbar Ronen (Isr) 20.45 61 Jenny Copnall (GBr) Subaru-Gary Fisher 21.13 62 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex) 21.45 63 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 21.57 64 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) 22.04 65 Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Esp) Bh-Sr. Suntour 23.11 66 Séverine Hansen (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 23.43 67 Heike Hundertmark (Ger) 24.00 68 Hanna Klein (Ger) 24.15 69 Fiona Macdermid (GBr) 24.58 70 Githa Michiels (Bel) 25.40 71 Nadja Roschi (Sui) Fischer-Bmc 26.14 72 Alexandra Engen (Swe) 26.29 73 Nataliya Krompets (Ukr) 27.07 74 Amy Hunt (GBr) 27.25 1 lap behind 75 Kristien Nelen (Bel) 76 Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe) Subaru-Gary Fisher 77 Liliya Zaytseva (Ukr) 78 Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 79 Ksenia Chernykh (Rus) 80 Sara Bresnick (USA) 81 Claudia Marsilio (Ita) 82 Laura Metzler (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 83 Vera Andreeva (Rus) 84 Ilke Dejongh (Bel) 2mega-Saeco 85 Nina Baum (USA) 86 Claudia Sieder (Ita) 87 Petra Mermans (Bel) 88 Janine Droz (Sui) 89 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra) 90 Maureen Guichardot (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier 91 Caroline Mani (Fra) 92 Evgenia Belozerova (Rus) 93 Ivanda Eiduka (Lat) 94 Bérangère Wilst (Fra) Breiz Mountain 22 95 Hanna Israel (Fra) 96 Anouk Kesseler-Haarsma (Ned) 97 Oxana Rybakova (Rus) 98 Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) 99 Heather Svahn (USA) 100 Nataliya Kogut (Ukr) 101 Sabine Bombaert (Bel) 2 laps behind 102 Nancy Bober (Bel) 103 Lucie Vesela (Cze) 104 Ingrid Bosscha (Ned) 105 Lenka Ochmannova (Cze) 106 Kine Sten Holst (Nor) 107 Klara Van Der Vaart (Ned) 108 Stephanie Wiedner (Aut) 109 Sandra Dolcerocca (Den) 110 Elisabetta Borgia (Ita) 111 Lenka Bulisova (Cze) 112 Audrey Wilst (Fra) Breiz Mountain 22 113 Senem Guler (Tur) 114 Berengere Boes (Fra) Breiz Mountain 22 3 laps behind 115 Kristi Lewis (USA) DNF Evelyn Staffler (Ita) DNF Niki Fisher (Aus) DNF Annabella Stropparo (Ita) DNF Elina Sophocleous (Cyp) Bikin'cyprus Int'l Mtb Te DNF Ruth Moll Marques (Esp) Bh-Sr. Suntour DNF Semra Yetis (Tur) Goldcity Alanya DNF Bärbel Jungmeier (Aut) DNF Karin Groen (Ned) DNF Daniela Louis (Sui) DNF Fabienne Heinzmann (Sui)