Canadian Cyclist


May 4/08 10:30 am - Madrid XC World Cup

Posted by Editoress on 05/4/08

World Cup #3 - Madrid

Coverage brought to you with the assistance of Velirium

Men's & Women's XC Women's XC

Men's XC

It seemed just like old times today at the Mountain Bike World Cup in Madrid, with Julien Absalon (Orbea) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) winning this third round of the series. For Absalon, it was business as usual, as he took his third straight victory. However, for Dahe Flesjaa it was an emotional moment as she completed her journey back to the forefront of the field after a year of illness. Absalon cemented his lead in the men's overall standings, while Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) donned the leader's jersey for the women - the third leader in three races.

Madrid has traditionally been a hot, dusty, dry and fast race, with the contenders gradually whittled away by the speed, and this year was no different.


Marga Fullana (Massi) had her usual fast start, with only Premont and Dahle Flesjaa able to follow her wheel. Georgia Gould (Luna) was chasing hard, but just couldn't quite match the pace of the leaders on the opening lap of the five lap race.

Chengyuan Ren (China), the U23 World Cup leader and winner of round one in Houffalize, got tangled up with her team mate Jingjing Wang on the first steep climb, losing 10-12 spots and then having to chase all race. Ren, who was Premont's competition for the overall series lead in the absence of Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) due to illness, initially it looked like she might make it to the front, but faded dramatically in the final two laps to finish 18th.

By the second lap the podium was set, as the front trio continued to steadily open a gap on a shifting group of chasers, led by Gould, Ying Liu (China), Catharine Pendrel (Luna), Sabine Spitz (Ghost) and Petra Henzi (Fischer-BMC). The only question was: which of the three would win? The best bet was Premont - Fullana has been fading in the latter parts of the World Cups, while Dahle Flesjaa herself said prior to the race that she was only expecting to get some good training in as she continues to rebuild her form.

However, as the race went on, Dahle seemed to get stronger and stronger, in particular opening gaps on the other two in descents or fast road-like sections. And this proved to be the key element of her eventual success, after she and Premont dropped Fullana on the first climb of the last lap.

"I felt on the limit during the race, but I know the others were also. I could feel that they were stronger on the steep climbs; I have lost that power, but I could see that I had my strong parts too. When Marie-Helene attacked on that steep climb on the last lap, I was really on the limit." explained Dahle Flesjaa.

"Before the last lap I was thinking that I could finish second today, but on the last lap I started thinking 'I could win today'. I think it was maybe my experience that made the difference, because I had to be smarter today; Marie-Helene was stronger."

"But I knew that if I could attack in the last downhill piece, where the stairs used to be in the old course, then I could get a little gap and she could not come by me before the finish, which is how it happened."

"If you had told me yesterday that you thought that I would win, then I would have thought you were really drunk. This was so unexpected, not what we thought at all could happen this early, so I would say that it is like winning the world championships ten times in one day!"

For Premont, finishing second and taking the World Cup leader's jersey made this European campaign a complete success. "I tried very hard for the victory, but this is a very fast course, and not as technical as I like. All race Gunn-Rita was at the front, working, and on the last lap it was together that we dropped Marga. I'm really happy to see her back up here, and she was clearly the winner. I am not a road racer, and many parts of this race were like a road race."

Gould took fifth, behind a late charge by Spitz, with her team mate Pendrel finishing ninth, to put four North Americans in the top-ten, and give Luna the team victory for the third straight week.

"Today, it was just lots of little mistakes," said Gould. "I was taking the wrong line, wrong speed in a corner ... each one cost me, so I had to use extra power to chase, and when Sabine went by me I just didn't have it. But overall, I'm definitely pretty pleased with two fifths in three weeks."

For Catharine Pendrel, it was another indication that she is inching closer to the top; and still has some work to do. "These women are so fast, and I don't have the same maximum power output yet. I just didn't have the punch today for those steep climbs."

Other Canadians had good rides, despite starting back in the field. Mical Dyck was the third Canadian across the line, in 27th, with Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain) making a very strong push from 80th to finish 32nd. Sydor was in the 20's before fading in the final lap. "This is very much a fitness course, and that is what I'm still rebuilding, so this is about this best I can expect right now."

Kiara Bisaro (Opus) continues to be plagued by the back problems which affected her last season, and have gradually been getting worse this year, forcing her to drop out after a lap and a half. "I had an excellent winter for training, and came into the season really prepared, but this is getting so bad that it hurts even when I'm not on the bike." However, strong top-20 performances in the first two World Cups will keep her in the running for a World Championships slot.


In Madrid the men's race is a long seven laps, and always becomes a race of attrition. Julien Absalon knows this, and therefore didn't immediately charge to the front. "It is too fast a race to go out there alone, so I just waited," he explained.

"I have no pressure on me [for the World Cup] because of my wins in the first two. This is a race where an economy of energy is the best way, so I waited until the last minute before I attacked."

The first half of the race saw a constant series of attacks, with Marco Fontana (Italy), Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Giant) and Martin Gujan (Athleticum) particularly active at the front. Both Absalon and Hermida were monitoring the action, sitting comfortably just behind the leaders.

However, other contenders, such as Christoph Sauser (Specialized), Ralph Naf (Multivan Merida), Jakob Fuglsang, Roel Paulissen (both Cannondale-Vredestein), Florian Vogel and Nino Schurter (both Swisspower) all struggled, with Schurter eventually dropping out.

On lap four Hermida made the first move, attacking and taking Fontana and Gujan with him. They appeared to catch Absalon slightly by surprise, initially opening a 10 second gap, before the World and World Cup champion came charging up to go right by them and take the lead early in the fifth lap.

Hermida clawed his way back up to Absalon, and the two commenced to ride away from the disintegrating chase. The pair took a minute out of the chasers, and on the final lap it was time for Absalon to implement the second part of his plan: the finish.

"I could see that on the really steep climb after the chute [descent] I was stronger, so that is where I attacked, and I was clear for the last two kilometres. The last time here was a sprint with [Christoph] Sauser, and I was afraid to do that with Jose [Hermida], because he is much faster."

For Hermida, it was enough to be back racing at the front of the race after weeks of bike thefts, sickness and mechanical problems. "I'm just very happy to be back in business after these weeks of problems. We were together until that big descent, where I lost a bit of traction on my front wheel and Julien got a little gap, which is when he attacked. So, I had no chance to catch him after that."

Absalon's team mate and countryman Jean-Christophe Peraud took third in a late surge, which should secure his berth for Beijing.

On the North American front, it was Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) finally getting the ride he's been hoping for by finishing 15th. "I've had the form, but in both Houffalize and Offenburg I flatted," JHK explained. "It's been pretty frustrating, so I'm glad that this finally all came together. For this race I had a pretty good start but there was a lot of traffic to go through, so I just had to go full out the whole race. I started to fade a little in the final lap, but was able to hang on. This result was really important because it puts me back in the game [for Olympic selection]."

Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), after a very strong start that saw him with the front group on the first lap, started to yo-yo through the high-teens to low 30's before he finally recovered to finish 21st. "I started with the leaders, yeah, but it became apparent quickly that I didn't have it today, so I had to ride a mature race."

"I pulled the plug after the first lap and a half and settled into my own rhythm. I started to get worried that I would keep fading, but I bottomed out in the 30's and then started to move up again."

"It's been a relief to have a good solid trip to Europe and reinforce my position [for Beijing], but I'm still not quite at the front of the races yet, and that's my next challenge."

Seamus McGrath (Fuji), coming off a ninth place last weekend, could only manage 27th, after running as high is 15th mid-race. "It was a tough ride for me, right from the start, and the last two laps were a bit of a disaster, but I just had to get through it. I felt average, and in World Cups you have to be super. But, overall I'm happy with my trip ... I had the top Canadian result."

Race Notes

- The cross-country World Cup takes a bit of a hiatus now until the end of May. The North American riders will mostly head back across the Atlantic, with many saying that they will contest the Norba race next weekend in San Dimas.

- Standing next to Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa's husband and coach on the third lap, he shakes his head, and says "She is surprising me ... not bad for an old lady, huh?"

- For Olympic selections, the Canadian one looks pretty clear: Premont and Pendrel for the women, and Kabush and McGrath for the men. The U.S. women's selection is similarly straightforward, with gould and Mary McConneloug (Seven-Kenda) well ahead of other contenders. The men's side looks to be more of a battle, especially with Horgan-Kobelski's ride here in Madrid putting him back in contention. Todd Wells (GT) and Adam Craig (Giant) have two stong rides each, while JHK has one ... this one could turn into a battle like the one the Democrats are facing for the Presidential nomination.

Women - 39.00 kms
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team1:48:14
2. Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountainat s.t.
3. Margarita Fullana (Esp) Massi1:13
4. Sabine Spitz (Ger) Central Ghost Pro Team1:37
5. Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team2:37
6. Petra Henzi (Sui) Fischer-BMC3:01
7. Ying Liu (Chn) Chinese National Team3:09
8. Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing3:17
9. Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team3:32
10. Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team3:43
11. Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Giant Italia Team3:51
12. Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International4:00
13. Nathalie Schneitter * (Sui) Colnago Cap Arreghini4:15
14. Laurence Leboucher (Fra) 4:20
15. Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda Seven4:22
16. Tanja Zakelj * (Slo) 4:30
17. Katrin Leumann (Sui) 4:41
18. Chengyuan Ren * (Chn) Chinese National Team4:49
19. Maroussia Rusca (Sui) 4:51
20. Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Team Ghost International4:55
21. Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Cap Arreghini5:31
22. Tereza Hurikova * (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb5:50
23. Jingjing Wang (Chn) Chinese National Team6:11
24. Adelheid Morath (Ger) 6:34
25. Esther Süss (Sui) 6:40
26. Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher7:08
27. Mical Dyck (Can) Terrascape-Trek7:09
28. Anna Villar Argente (Esp) Massi7:14
29. Maria Osl (Aut) Sunshine Racers Asv Nals7:43
30. Arielle Van Meurs (Ned) 8:01
31. Nina Homovec (Slo) 8:17
32. Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain8:39
33. Githa Michiels (Bel) 9:01
34. Laura Turpijn (Ned) 9:15
35. Marielle Saner-Guinchard (Sui) Bikepark.Ch Bmc9:23
36. Dellys Starr (Aus) 9:25
37. Janka Stevkova (Svk) 9:31
38. Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre International9:32
39. Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour9:42
40. Wendy Simms (Can) Kona9:49
41. Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-VW9:52
42. Laura Metzler * (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour10:05
43. Vera Andreeva * (Rus) 10:08
44. Sandra Araujo (Por) 10:15
45. Francisca Campos Salas (Chi) Massi10:18
46. Sandra Walter (Can) X.O.Felt10:40
47. Alexandra Engen * (Swe) 10:42
48. Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 11:20
49. Amanda Sin (Can) 3 ROX Racing11:30
50. Séverine Hansen (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour11:59
51. Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Esp) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com12:08
52. Julie Bresset * (Fra) Breiz Mountain12:20
53. Emily Batty * (Can) Toronto Trek Store13:08
54. Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe) Subaru-Gary Fisher13:23
55. Ruth Moll Marques (Esp) 13:41
56. Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Esp) Conor - Camping La Siesta13:55
57. Kate Potter (Aus) 14:02
58. Yolanda Speedy (RSA) 14:21
59. Stephanie Wiedner * (Aut) 14:29
60. Rowena Fry (Aus) 14:35
61. Zoe King (Aus) 14:46
62. Ksenia Chernykh (Rus) 16:20
63. Emma Colson (Aus) 16:30
64. Caroline Mani * (Fra) 17:09
65. Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex) 17:24
66. Mercé Tusell Quevedo (Esp) Massi17:36
67. Kristien Nelen (Bel) 18:10
68. Susan Butler (USA) 18:22
69. Katherine O'shea (Aus) 22:30
70. Daniela Bunzli Rojas (Chi) 22:58
71. Therese Rhodes * (Aus) -1Lap
DNF. Kiara Bisaro (Can) Opus
DNF. Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
DNF. Kaytee Boyd (NZl)
DNF. Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Esp)
DNF. Oxana Rybakova (Rus)
DNF. Tory Thomas (Aus)
DNF. Evgenia Belozerova * (Rus)
DNF. Rocio Martin Rodriguez (Esp)
DNF. Nicole Lechl * (Ger) Team Xlc Haibike
DNS. Katrin Schwing (Ger) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike
Men - 54.60 kms
1. Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea2:12:30
2. José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Esp) Multivan Merida Biking Teamat 0:12
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea0:52
4. Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Esp) Orbea0:56
5. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) 1:02
6. Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein1:12
7. Christoph Soukup (Aut) 1:17
8. Martin Gujan (Sui) Athleticum-Mtb-Team1:31
9. Lukas Flückiger (Sui) Athleticum-Mtb-Team1:38
10. Jürg Graf (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team1:40
11. Manuel Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International1:51
12. Christoph Sauser (Sui) Specialized Factory Racing2:06
13. Burry Stander * (RSA) GT Mongoose2:26
14. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 2:29
15. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher2:32
16. Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International2:39
17. Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Esp) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com2:45
18. Todd Wells (USA) GT Mongoose2:49
19. Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant Mountain Bike Team2:57
20. Ralph Naef (Sui) Multivan Merida Biking3:15
21. Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis3:22
22. Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike3:23
23. Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Esp) Orbea3:34
24. Hannes Metzler (Aut) Giant Mountain Bike Team3:41
25. Thomas Frischknecht (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team3:46
26. Yader Zoli (Ita) Giant Italia Team3:50
27. Seamus McGrath (Can) Fuji3:56
28. Tony Longo (Ita) Full-Dynamix-It4:22
29. Bart Brentjens (Ned) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike4:53
30. Stéphane Tempier * (Fra) Gewiss Bianchi4:53
31. Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team4:56
32. Karl Markt (Aut) 4:57
33. Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike5:12
34. Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team5:24
35. Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racing5:32
36. Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Esp) Giant Italia Team5:57
37. Israel Nunez Baticon (Esp) Massi6:12
38. Milan Spesny (Cze) Merida Biking Team6:15
39. Marc Colom * (Fra) 6:27
40. Florian Vogel (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team6:34
41. Christof Bischof (Sui) 6:52
42. Jan Skarnitzl * (Cze) 7:02
43. Martino Fruet (Ita) 7:05
44. Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita) 7:15
45. Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls7:23
46. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein7:27
47. Michael Weiss (Aut) 7:33
48. Peter Riis Andersen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbik7:35
49. Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Beone Chainreaction Mount7:36
50. Nicolas Bazin (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour7:39
51. Till Marx (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team7:43
52. Marti Gispert Labarta (Esp) Ecp-Tau Ceramica7:47
53. David Lozano Riba * (Esp) Msc Bikes8:02
54. Anders Hovdenes * (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl8:19
55. Alejandro Diaz De La Pena Lopez (Esp) 8:20
56. Lado Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International8:28
57. Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking8:32
58. Klaus Nielsen (Den) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbik8:43
59. Bas Peters (Ned) 8:49
60. Lachlan Norris * (Aus) 8:51
61. Derek Zandstra (Can) 3 Rox Racing8:55
62. Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis9:20
63. Dariusz Batek * (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb9:38
64. Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Versluys-Landbouwkrediet9:50
65. Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) 9:52
66. Ji Jianhua (Chn) 10:11
67. Matthias Flückiger * (Sui) Athleticum-Mtb-Team10:17
68. Bjorn Brems * (Bel) 10:17
69. Stefan Sahm (Ger) Team Bulls10:30
70. Dario Alejandro Gasco * (Arg) Massi10:32
71. Pierre Lebreton (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour10:42
72. Frank Schotman (Ned) 11:07
73. Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Lapierre International11:25
74. Severin Disch * (Sui) 11:32
75. Denis Vorontsov * (Rus) 11:41
76. Maxime Marotte * (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour11:50
77. Martin Fanger * (Sui) 12:04
78. Balz Weber (Sui) Bikepark.Ch Bmc12:13
79. Cristian Cominelli * (Ita) Gewiss Bianchi12:17
80. Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW12:24
81. Patrik Gallati * (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team12:56
82. Cristobal Silva (Chi) 13:11
83. Olivier Maignan (Fra) 13:22
84. Lukas Kaufmann * (Sui) 13:37
85. Chun Hing Chan (Hkg) 13:40
86. Sebastien Carabin * (Bel) 13:45
87. Luis Leao Pinto (Por) 14:02
88. Javier Puschel (Chi) 14:15
89. Dmitry Medvedev * (Rus) 14:27
90. Michael Broderick (USA) Kenda Seven14:33
91. Vivien Legastelois * (Fra) Team Lapierre International14:41
92. Kristian Hynek (Cze) 15:04
93. Emil Lindgren (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It15:33
94. Juan Pedro Trujillo Hernandez (Pedro Esp) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com15:46
95. Alban Lakata (Aut) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike15:58
96. Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 16:34
97. Patxi Cia Apezteguia (Esp) 16:41
98. Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona16:47
99. Ruud Rentmeester (Ned) 16:57
100. Ludovic Mottet (Bel) Windose Houffalize17:25
101. Diego Rosa * (Ita) Giant Italia Team17:29
102. Ian Field * (GBr) 17:53
103. Jose Antonio De Segovia Botella (Esp) 18:15
104. Sergio Pulido Rodriguez * (Esp) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com18:45
105. Nathan Haas * (Aus) 19:11
106. Umberto Corti * (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.19:40
107. Laurent Mineur * (Bel) 19:40
108. Alexis Vuillermoz * (Fra) Scott Valloire Galibier-1Lap
109. Josef Kamler * (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb-1Lap
110. David Rosa * (Por) -1Lap
111. David Escolar Ballesteros (Esp) Sunshine Racers Asv Nals-1Lap
112. Ricky Federau (Can) -1Lap
113. Vladislavs Neroznaks (Lat) -1Lap
114. Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher-1Lap
115. Jo Thorson Nordskar * (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl-2Laps
116. Freddy Betremiaux * (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour-2Laps
117. Gion Manetsch (Sui) Athleticum-Mtb-Team-2Laps
118. Milton Javier Ramos Gamez (Hon) -2Laps
119. Nicolas Jeantet * (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.-3Laps
120. Samuele Porro * (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.-3Laps
121. Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher-3Laps
122. Dries Govaerts * (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team-4Laps
123. Joel Martinez Fernandez * (And) -4Laps
124. Frank Beemer * (Ned) -4Laps
DNF. Nino Schurter * (Sui) Swisspower Mtb Team
DNF. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It
DNF. Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale-Vredestein
DNF. Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Esp) Ecp-Tau Ceramica
DNF. Tim Bohme (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbik
DNF. Jochen Kass (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbik
DNF. Marc Trayter Alemany (Esp) Ecp-Tau Ceramica
DNF. Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain
DNF. Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team
DNF. Magnus Darvell (Swe)
DNF. Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita)
DNF. Matous Ulman (Cze)
DNF. Barry Wicks (USA) Kona
DNF. Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Giant Italia Team
DNF. Tim Wijnants * (Bel) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike
DNF. Pascal Meyer * (Sui)
DNF. Gareth Montgomerie (GBr)
DNF. Mitchell Peterson * (USA)
DNF. Davide Marques (Por)
DNF. Tobias Ullmann (Ger) Team XLC Haibike
DNF. Nick Daems * (Bel)
DNS. Yury Trofimov (Rus)
DNS. Andreas Kugler (Sui Fischer-BMC


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