Canadian Cyclist


July 5/08 8:05 am - Marathon World Championships

Posted by Editoress on 07/5/08

UCI MTB Marathon World Championships Villabassa, Italy

Report by Gernot Mussner

35-year-old Olympic Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle today won the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships title. Dahle completed the 88.6 kms (3040 vertical drop) in 4 hours 9 minutes and 56 seconds, preceding Sabine Spitz (Germany) by one minute and 44 seconds. At 3:39 back Finnish Pia Sundstedt arrived in third position. Fourth was the Swiss Esther Süss. Best "Azzura" was the sixth ranked Elena Gaddoni with a gap of 16:34 behind the winner. In total Gunn-Rita Dahle has won eight World Championships titles (4 Cross Country WCH and 4 Marathons).

Roel Paulissen from Belgium is the new MTB Marathon World Champion in the men's category. The rider who at the 2004 Athens Olympics ranked in fourth position, today was awarded the World Champion title in Villabassa, Italy after a decision by the UCI commissioner. After 120 km and 3,822 m of vertical drop Paulissen crashed with Christoph Sauser at the finish line. The silver medal was awarded to the Swiss. Third was Suaser's countrymen Urs Huber. From rank four to seven- Leonardo Paez (Columbia) and then the Swiss Ralph Näf, Lukas Buchli as well as Thomas Frischknecht. Best Italian participant was eighth-ranked Johnny Cattaneo.


Gunn-Rita Dahle: On the ascent to the "Rotwand" in Sexten/Sesto I was able to distance myself from my four contenders. Upwards onto the "Silvesteralm" my advance slightly decreased, however I was still able to get complete victory. Now I am going to go to Germany and from there I will fly directly to Canada where the next Cross Country World Cup takes place. From there the road leads directly to the Olympic Games in Beijing. I did not expect this victory today. Mountain biking is my job and in any case I will keep on cycling until the Olympics 2012 in London.

Sabine Spitz: Unfortunately I did not preview the course and this was surely a disadvantage. For this reason I had to lower my speed at the junctions and thus lost precious time. At the first ascent to the "Plätzwiese" there were still five of us. Unfortunately I lost the connection [with Dahle] and so I rode alone for a long time. At the first Tech and Feed Zone Gunn-Rita Dahlen was already three minutes ahead. It was here in Niederdorf/Villabassa that I started with my real preparations for the Olympics.

Pia Sunstedt: The rhythm up to the "Rotwandhuette" was simply too fast for me. At the Kreuzbergpass/Passo Monte Croce I was two minutes behind Dahle. I joined up with Sabine Spitz. and we rode on together with Sabine taking on the leading position. On the "Silvesteralm" we were still confident we would be able to catch up with Gunn-Rita Dahle. Unfortunately it was not able to be and then I had a flat tire just 1.5 kilometres before the finish. Now I will make holidays at home in Finland. As our country does not have enough UCI points, for me the Olympics are out of question.

Roel Paulissen: It is a strange feeling for both. Neither of us feels at ease. It would be nice if both of us could have won the World Champioship title. We were both very strong today and we attacked at the right time. For a long time the Colombian Leonardo Paez was with us, but he did not work, so we attacked and he did could not react.

Christoph Sauser: I simply sprinted and whenever I sprint I naturally move my handle bar. It is a pity that only one UCI commissioner makes the decision and not a jury of four or five people. On a road sprint a decision of this kind would not have happened. I am disappointed, because it feels rather strange to ride through the finishing line as first and then to be ranked second. This is the toughest race I have ever taken part at. We risked our lives twice: firstly on the descents and then on the final sprint.

Men - 119.9km
1. Roel Paulissen (Belgium)4:46:56
2. Christoph Sauser (Switzerland)at s.t.
3. Urs Huber (Switzerland)5:00
4. Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Colombia)8:17
5. Ralph Näf (Switzerland)9:14
6. Lukas Buchli (Switzerland)10:31
7. Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland)11:58
8. Johnny Cattaneo (Italy)13:37
9. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden)14:08
10. Sandro Späth (Switzerland)15:19
88. Tim Carlton (Canada)1:29:00
Women - 88.6km
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)4:09:56
2. Sabine Spitz (Germany)at 1:44
3. Pia Sundstedt (Finland)3:39
4. Esther Süss (Switzerland)11:53
5. Erika Dicht (Switzerland) 13:35


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