Canadian Cyclist


August 13/06 3:45 am - Marathon World Championships (brief)

Posted by Editoress on 08/13/06

Marathon World Championships Oisans, France
Report Coutesy Multivan Merida Biking Team

Ralph Näf and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa are the new marathon world champions.

On an extremely demanding course in Oisans, France, Ralph Näf and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa have crowned themselves as mountain biking's marathon world champions. While Dahle outclassed her competitors, winning by a margin of more than eight minutes, Näf rode a tactically perfect race, distancing second-placed Colombian Leonardo Paez by about a minute.

At the finish, Näf could not believe his victory, having tears in his eyes as he was interviewed by TV stations. He had controlled the men's race from the start, riding together with Thomas Frischknecht and Christoph Sauser in the very beginning. Frischknecht had to let the leaders go early on, and Sauser even dropped out of the race due to a mechanical. So it was Colombia's marathon specialist Leonardo Paez who joined Näf in leading the race - but he could not match the Swiss rider's speed on the descents. "Everything went perfectly for me: The course, the weather and the tactics all simply fitted in", Näf commented at the finish.

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa dominated her race in her trade-mark fashion: After just thirty minutes of racing, she had already built up a solid three-minutes lead, which she continued to expand to eight minutes. "I was everything but sure about my pace during the race. Due to the relentless cold I never knew exactly how far I could push myself", the Norwegian analyzed her race. This victory in Oisans is Dahle's sixth world championship title in total and her third marathon gold medal.

Both Dahle and Näf have already won the European marathon championships three weeks ago, now they repeate this triumph at the world championships. It's the first time in the sport of mountain biking that the same team wins both the men's and the women's title at the same world championships.

The entire Multivan Merida Biking Team is now heading to Rotorua, New Zealand, for the world championships in the Olympic cross country, 27th August.

1. Ralph Näf (Sui), 4:13:57
2. Leonardo Paez (Col), 4:14:50
3. Roel Paulissen (Bel), 4:21:03
4. Massimo de Bertolis (Ita)
5. Johann Pallhuber (Ita)

12. José Hermida (Esp)
56. Moritz Milatz (Ger)

1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor), 4:25:29
2. Petra Henzi (Sui), 4:33:37
3. Elsbeth van Rooij-Vink (Ned), 4:40:26
4. Dolores Mächler-Rupp (Sui)
5. Pia Sunstedt (Fin)


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