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MTB World Cup XC # 1 - CDM
Houffalize, Belgium, April 22-, 2007
Race 2 - April 22: Elite Men's XC
Hermida sets his 2007 season up with a victory
By Rob Jones in Houffalize, Belgium
The men's race at the world Cup is usually a more open affair, with anyone of half a dozen riders with a chance to win on a given day. However, it was World and World Cup champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) who was the smart bet. Absalon has been so consistent over the past few seasons, that it takes a rider who is really on his game to beat him. Today that rider was José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida).
Local Belgian favourite and former Houffalize winner Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein) had his hopes up when he took the lead on the first half loop before five full laps, but a mechanical issue pushed him back in the field, where he spent the day chasing back to an extremely respectable fourth. At that point, Hermida, Absalon and perennial fast starter Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale-Vredestein) separated themselves from the rest of the field.
By the second lap Hermida was 30 seconds up on Absalon, with Kessiakoff fading at 50 seconds. U23 world champion Nino Schurter (Swisspower) was well back in fifth, however, Christoph Sauser (Specialized) was making a strong ride up through the field from 18th. Sauser would eventually move into third, ahead of Paulissen, while Kessiakoff managed to hold onto the fifth.
Hermida was 45 seconds clear and riding strongly by the end of lap three, but halfway through the next lap Absalon was back up with him. Was the Spanish rider cracking? No: "José had a problem with a stuck chain, that is why I caught him", explained Absalon. "I attacked but he was too strong and came back to me."
But that wasn't the end of Hermida's troubles with a crash putting him on the back foot. "After I catched back up to Julien, we caught the (lead) moto on the downhill and he crashed, like a metre in front of me, so I crashed into him!," he explained. "When I looked at my bike, it was under the moto, so I thought that was it, but the spectators pulled the moto off my bike and it was okay."
Despite the potentially race ending setback the Spanish rider pushed on to challenge the world champ.
"In the final lap I was afraid of Julien, because he is such a good rider, but I could see him having problems in the downhills so I attacked there and was able to keep the gap," explained Hermida Ramos. "I didn't expect to win today, it was the sort of day you always dream of having, and to have it here in Houffalize - I have always dreamed of winning here, so words cannot properly describe it."
-Canadian Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) was the top North American, moving up from 55th on the start grid to a strong 12th place by the finish. Other North Americans struggled, with Todd Wells (GT) the best placed US rider in 36th.
"I was moving up all race," explained Kabush, "but it definitely wasn't as much as I had hoped for. I didn't make up the time on the hill like I wanted to, and it was hard to get places to pass. I know now that if I start top-10 I can do better and possibly be on the podium."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
1 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Esp) Multivan Merida Biking Team 2.04.22 2 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea 0.48 3 Christoph Sauser (Sui) Specialized 1.48 4 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale-Vredestein 2.15 5 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Cannondale-Vredestein 2.51 6 Nino Schurter (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team 3.35 7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein 3.42 8 Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein 4.16 9 Jader Zoli (Ita) Ktm International Team 4.51 10 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Esp) Orbea 4.59 11 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 5.20 12 Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis 5.32 13 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 5.41 14 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Versluys-Landbouwkrediet 5.56 15 Torsten Marx (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 6.01 16 Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Col) Full-Dynamix-R.S.M. 6.14 17 Stefan Sahm (Ger) Team Bulls 6.15 18 Thomas Frischknecht (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team 6.30 19 Marti Gispert Labarta (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 6.33 20 Lado Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International 6.38 21 Marek Galinski (Pol) 7.09 22 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea 7.32 23 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Dolphin Bike Team 7.36 24 Martin Gujan (Sui) 7.40 25 Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant 7.54 26 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International 8.00 27 Bas Peters (Ned) 8.15 28 Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Esp) Orbea 8.19 29 Gion Manetsch (Sui) 8.33 30 Michael Weiss (Aut) Bikin'cyprus Int'l Mtb Team 8.36 31 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) Gewiss Bianchi 8.39 32 Burry Stander (RSA) GT 8.59 33 Yury Trofimov (Rus) 9.18 34 Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita) 9.26 35 Lukas Flückiger (Sui) 9.28 36 Todd Wells (USA) GT 9.30 37 Massimo De Bertolis (Ita) Full-Dynamix-R.S.M. 9.37 38 Jürg Graf (Sui) 9.47 39 Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Esp) Ktm International Team 9.59 40 Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 41 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 10.19 42 Hannes Metzler (Aut) 10.23 43 Tim Bohme (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 10.29 44 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Dolphin Bike Team 10.30 45 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Dolphin Bike Team 10.59 46 Milan Spesny (Cze) Merida Biking Team 11.19 47 Rene Tann (Ger) 48 Alban Lakata (Aut) Trek-VW 11.42 49 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) 11.43 50 Balz Weber (Sui) Bikepark.Ch Tui 11.45 51 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Dolphin Bike Team 11.55 52 Maxim Gogolev (Rus) 12.09 53 Silvio Bundi (Sui) 12.11 54 Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team 12.23 55 Matthias Flückiger (Sui) 12.27 56 Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita) 12.33 57 Bjorn Brems (Bel) Dolphin Bike Team 12.40 58 Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Team New Cycling 12.54 59 Tony Longo (Ita) 12.56 60 Jérome Chevallier (Fra) 13.07 61 Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Lapierre International 13.16 62 Denis Vorontsov (Rus) 13.41 63 Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 13.48 64 Marc Trayter Alemany (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 13.54 65 Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) 14.29 66 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) 14.46 67 Marc Colom (Fra) 15.02 68 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Gewiss Bianchi 15.20 69 Jochen Kass (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 15.53 70 Davy Coenen (Bel) 2mega-Saeco 15.56 71 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 16.07 72 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 16.27 73 Tim Wijnants (Bel) Dolphin Bike Team 16.51 74 Quincy Vens (Bel) 16.58 75 Kristian Hynek (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb 17.08 76 Robert Gehbauer (Aut) Multivan Merida Biking Team 17.10 77 Lachlan Norris (Aus) 17.14 78 Ian Bibby (GBr) 17.21 79 Daniel Suter (Sui) 17.24 80 Andreas Kugler (Sui) Fischer-Bmc 17.31 81 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets 17.34 82 Ivan Planzer (Sui) 17.44 83 Klaus Nielsen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 17.51 84 Miha Solar (Slo) 17.58 85 Lukas Kaufmann (Sui) 18.04 86 Lukas Vlach (Cze) Merida Biking Team 18.10 87 Mattias Wengelin (Swe) 18.17 88 Till Marx (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team 18.41 89 Joris Boillat (Sui) 18.52 90 Axel Bult (Ned) 18.59 91 Frank Schotman (Ned) 19.15 92 Fabian Giger (Sui) 19.26 93 Filip Eberl (Cze) 19.46 94 Rick Evers (Ned) Beone Mountainbiketeam 19.57 95 Igor Bogdan (Ukr) 20.03 96 Shaun Lewis (Aus) 20.07 97 Paolo Montoya (Crc) Macosta - Leecougan 20.10 98 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 20.29 99 Michael Broderick (USA) 20.31 100 Ondrej Zeleny (Cze) 20.45 101 Vivien Legastelois (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 20.47 102 Maxime Marotte (Fra) 103 Ivan Seledkov (Rus) 20.55 104 Robert Odink (Sui) 21.01 105 Clinton Robert Avery (NZl) 21.13 106 Andi Weinhold (Ger) 21.16 107 Max Friedrich (Ger) 22.16 108 Luka Kodra (Slo) 22.57 109 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 24.13 1 lap behind 110 Sam Jurekovic (USA) 111 Andras Melts (Hun) 112 Hans Becking (Ned) Beone Mountainbiketeam 113 Jiri Novak (Cze) 114 Andreas Moser (Sui) 115 Philip Spencer (GBr) Subaru-Gary Fisher 116 François Bailly Maitre (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier 117 Pierre Lebreton (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 118 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 2mega-Saeco 119 Bilal Akgul (Tur) 120 Pascal Meyer (Sui) 121 Max Oste Macdonald (Swe) 122 Frank Beemer (Ned) Dolphin Bike Team 123 Daniel Braunsteins (Aus) 124 Lee Williams (GBr) 125 Anton Gogolev (Rus) 126 Calle Friberg (Swe) 127 Israel Nunez Baticon (Esp) Massi 128 Ruud Rentmeester (Ned) 129 Joris Massaer (Bel) 130 Jiri Hudecek (Cze) 131 Lars Bleckur (Swe) 132 Vaclav Hlavac (Cze) 133 Ludovic Mottet (Bel) 134 Nicolas Vermeulen (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team 135 Tim Heemskerk (Ned) 136 Tim Ottens (Ned) Beone Mountainbiketeam 137 Sergiy Rysenko (Ukr) 138 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) 139 Kristof Bomans (Bel) 140 Peter Coddens (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team 141 Roland Plank (Aut) 142 Nieck Busser (Ned) 143 Freddy Betremieux (Fra) 144 Ole Christian Fagerli (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 145 Bogdan Czarnota (Pol) 146 Niels Wubben (Ned) 147 Damian Mroncz (Pol) 148 Erik Nellen (Ned) 149 Periklis Ilias (Gre) 2 laps behind 150 Jordy Luisman (Ned) 151 Julio Humberto Caro Silva (Col) Full-Dynamix-R.S.M. 152 Hjalmar Bengtsson (Swe) 153 Jelmer Jubbega (Ned) Cannondale-Vredestein 154 Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) 155 Guillaume Vinit (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier 156 Gody Jacobs (Bel) 157 Oliver Aviles Gilabert (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 158 Patrik Gallati (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team 159 Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) 160 Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 2mega-Saeco 161 John Paul Pearton (RSA) 162 Martin Matrat (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 163 William Bjergfelt (GBr) 164 Oleksandr Yakymenko (Ukr) 165 Jeff Hall (USA) 166 Dries Hollanders (Bel) 2mega-Saeco 167 Bart Van Hecke (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team 168 Kamil Alev (Tur) Goldcity Alanya 169 Rotem Ishai (Isr) 170 Lukas Sablik (Cze) 3 laps behind 171 Jérôme Junker (Lux) 172 Truls Haugseth (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 173 Evgeny Krylov (Rus) 174 Tom Last (GBr) 175 Muammer Yildiz (Tur) 176 Mehmet Kurt (Tur) 177 Georgios Pattes-Toumanis (Gre) 178 Jules Chabanon (Fra) Team New Cycling 179 Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher 180 Ugur Hakki Tosun (Tur) Goldcity Alanya 181 Ian Creber (GBr) DNF Florian Vogel (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team DNF Ralph Naef (Sui) Multivan Merida Biking Team DNF Martin Kraler (Aut) Gewiss Bianchi DNF Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica DNF Peter Riis Andersen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike DNF Christoph Soukup (Aut) DNF Karl Markt (Aut) DNF Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) DNF Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW DNF Nicolas Filippi (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier DNF Christof Bischof (Sui) Bikin'cyprus Int'l Mtb Team DNF Dylan Cooper (Aus) DNF Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) DNF John Jairo Botero Salazar (Col) Macosta - Leecougan DNF Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Asd Ktm International Tea DNF Colin Cares (USA) DNF Anders Hovdenes (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl DNF Dariusz Batek (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb DNF Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Esp) Massi DNF Martino Fruet (Ita) DNF Evguen Petchenine (Rus) Format-Udmurtia DNF Marcin Karczynski (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb DNF Dario Alejandro Gasco (Arg) Massi DNF Marios Athanasiades (Cyp) Bikin'cyprus Int'l Mtb Team DNF Olivier Maignan (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour DNF Magnus Darvell (Swe) DNF Thijs Al (Ned) Beone Mountainbiketeam DNF Romain Lejeune (Fra) Team New Cycling DNF Hannes Genze (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike DNF Halil Korkmaz (Tur) Goldcity Alanya DNF Paul Oldham (GBr) DNF Roman Rametsteiner (Aut) DNF Steffen Thum (Ger) Team Mayer Stevens DNF Peter Frohlich (Aut) Team Hotec / Rsp DNF Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier DNF Oldrich Hakl (Cze) Merida Biking Team DNF Zdenek Mlynar (Cze) Max Cursor DNF Gerry Werckx (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team DNF Juri Ragnoli (Ita) Macosta - Leecougan DNF Alexey Medvedev (Rus) DNF Mathijs Wagenaar (Ned) DNF Severin Disch (Sui) DNF Martin Fanger (Sui) DNF Kryspin Pyrgies (Pol) DNF Ivan Schalbetter (Sui) DNF Patrick Gaudy (Bel) DNF Michel Luginbuehl (Sui) DNF Tobias Witzack (Ger) DNF Radim Korinek (Cze) DNS Tomas Vokrouhlik (Cze)