Three medals for Topeak-Ergon

The best marathon team in the world strikes again! Three Topeak-Ergon athletes land on the UCI Marathon World Championship podium in Laissac, France! Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham are decorated with silver medals, while Kristian Hynek wins bronze.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

What a fast and furious finish by Alban Lakata! After 4 hours in the saddle, the Austrian missed defending his title by a mere 19 seconds. The shower of confetti for race winner and new World Champion, Tiago Ferreira, was not even on the ground when Alban crossed the finish line.

Alban Lakata, clinching his fist, ”Too bad, if I just would have had a little more race course, I would have caught Ferreira.” Between the 60 and 90 kilometer mark of the race, Alban was still 3:30 minutes behind the lead group, which also contained teammate Kristian Hynek.

Perfect Tactics

Lakata had a well thought out strategy. The first half, he wanted to keep the effort level minimal, then mid-way through the race hit the turbo. ”I knew that this strategy would be a gamble. Perhaps I went too easy in the early stages of the race, but this was my plan from the start,” revealed the Albanator. ”I can’t complain, Silver is okay. I congratulate Ferreira. Next year will be another shot at Gold.”

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

Kristian Hynek spoke of a similar race and ”mixed feelings”, after earning the bronze medal. Until the closing kilometers he was in four-man lead group, all which were fighting for the title. ”I felt good, even if it wasn’t good enough to take the victory. Unfortunately, yesterday in training, I felt even better. But, to win a World Championship medal is always satisfying.” This would be Kristian’s second bronze medal, the other he earned in Ornans in 2012.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

Loosing energy, Hynek was passed by Lakata late in the race. Colombian Leonardo Paez was facing similar energy loses, which opened the door for a last second surge by Hynek to take home the Bronze medal.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

Second World Championship silver for Sally Bigham


Sally Bigham also took the first part of the race conservatively. ”I knew the course was quite hard and I needed to hold back early,” said Bigham.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

The Briton was racing side by side in 2nd and 3rd place with Sabrina Enaux. On the last climb, the European Champion distanced herself from the Frenchwoman. Sally would only be out done by the XC European Champion, Jolanda Neff, from Switzerland.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

”I’m really happy with the Silver medal. To be behind Jolanda in second, I must not be disappointed,” Sally said with a smile. ”I felt very good today and I am glad I am back to my normal form.”

Erik Kleinhans and Jeremiah Bishop also deserve the utmost respect. The two Topeak-Ergon riders struggled from the start, having to line up in positions 123 and 120. The two riders would make their way up through the filed during the 4 hour race to finish a respectable 23rd and 29th.

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

 

UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship 2016 - Laissac /FRA

This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

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Bigham wins again at Sella Ronda

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Paving the way for the Marathon World Championship this coming Sunday in Laissac (FRA) — Sally Bigham from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team wins the Sella Ronda Marathon in Val Gardena for the second time. The Brit overcomes 60 brutal kilometers riding to her triumph, but not without some difficulties …

3.200 meters gain in elevation stood in the way of the competitors at the Sella Ronda, a number which rightfully gives Stella Ronda the epithet hero. If on the top of that, extreme rainfall turns meadows and forest passages into additional challenges for man and materials, that’s when heroes are born.

Sally Bigham is the fastest on the first climb. She expands her lead more and more. But at the highest point, the Passo Pordoi, a four kilometers descent needed to be ridden, and there the dance along the edge of the razor blade started for ”Iron Sally.”

The smeary ground could be barely controlled and as a result Sally bailed several times. She was able to climb back on her bike fairly unscathed, but one time she had to fix her racing machine at first. ”This cost me about one and a half minutes, but my pursuers couldn’t touch me anymore,” says the relieved winner about the exciting minutes.

She expanded her lead again on the way to the Sellajoch and reached the finish line in Wolkenstein with a comfortable lead over the Polish Michalina Ziolkowska. She celebrates her second victory at this classic in South Tyrol. ”I felt good, but looking at the World Championships next week in Laissac, I chose not to go to the limit,” explains Bigham.

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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Finally – Gold for Sally!

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07.06.2016


Sally Bigham celebrates in an impressive manner her first international champions title at the Marathon European Championships in Sigulda. Kristian Hynek completes the successful day for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team in Latvia with a Bronze Medal.

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60 kilometers of solo riding in the wind and minutes brimming with emotion — she desperately wanted this gold medal. After winning four times European silver and one silver at World Championships, Iron Sally wanted to finally slip over the leader jersey in the Baltic states. The Brit had such a strong will. She went solo after only 20 kilometers.

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”It was a little risky, because it also was very windy today. But I saw during the first few climbs that I was the strongest,” Sally Bigham explains her reason for taking initiative so early and then riding solo for 80 kilometers on her Canyon-Hardtail up to the title with a lead of more than 5 Minutes.

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The lead grew continuously, but the enjoyment only set in one kilometer from the finish line during the last climb when she cranked through an honor guard formed by the audience. Goosebumps included. ”It was a very special moment when I rode into the finish, simply great. Our team cheered and it was so nice that I could give them something back after all this hard work,” says Sally Bigham in a faltering voice. ”No Silver Sally today,” adds Sally laughing. No, it’s a radiant Golden Girl from the Topeak-Ergon racing stable today in Sigulda.

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It would not have taken much more for the team to return home with two European Championship titles. About 60 of 103 kilometers had been ridden when Kristian Hynek along with two companions initiated a three-man top flight. His hope that Alban Lakata would come along did not come true. He was in a less than optimal position in a trail when a Latvian opened up a gap in front of him.

Another Latvian, Peeter Pruus, and the Portuguese Tiago Ferreira follow Hynek while Alban didn’t join the leg shaking within the group in pursuit for the benefit of his teammate. While Pruus basically refused leadership work, Ferreira eventually discontinued his efforts as well. ”We had false information about our time cushion, which is why I made speed,” tells Kristian Hynek. The Czech was lacking gunpowder when he climbed the last hill one kilometer from the finish line.

Pruus and Ferreira had preserved their energy and pulled away to Gold and Silver. Bronze went to Hynek for the second time in his career. ”I have mixed feelings, a medal is always good, but I was good for the title as well,” says Hynek. More clear are Alban Lakata’s feelings. ”I’m pretty frustrated, because my fitness is very good. I’m annoyed about the lost opportunity right now, but my ambitions are just growing because of it,” reveals Lakata who came in sixth.

Now we are looking forward to the UCI World Championships at the end of June in France …

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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BACK WINNING AT THE MUDFEST

06 June 2016 | Two races, two victories for SCOTT-Odlo MTB racing. We are back winning! In muddy conditions N1NO Schurter and Andri Frischknecht win their races at the Swiss Bike Cup in Gränichen.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

Gränichen, Switzerland. It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a muddy race, but mountain biking is an outdoor sport, so we take it as it is. That being said, it’s no reason to not perform as usual. The smile on N1NO’s face tells it all, despite the mud it was a fun day racing!

Once in a while severe conditions can make a race critical, good equipment and a bit of good luck is essential to success. It played well for Nino Schurter and Andri Frischknecht this time, not so much for Michiel van der Heijden.

A rainy race day followed what was already a wet week. The Gränichen race track was actually holding up quite well despite the wet conditions. After lap one, some helmets were dirty, but other than that, all was fine.

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1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

The interest was in what bike N1NO was pulling out for today’s race.

N1NO pulled out the same new 29″ SCOTT bike he was riding in La Bresse to put it to a true test in severe conditions.

In his usual fast first lap there was only one who was able to follow- his former team mate now riding for FOCUS- Florian Vogel. Even though followers Reto Underhand and Matthias Stirnemann were not far behind, early on it looked like the winner could only be either Schurter or Vogel.

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That’s how Nino Schurter’s  bike looked like after the race.

In conditions like this, however, the risk of mechanicals or other mishaps increases. Michiel van der Heijden, who had a chain problem very early in the race, felt the true reality of this fact. He stopped twice for several minutes at the tech zone before he eventually dropped out in a hopeless position.

12, Van Der Heijden, Michiel, Scott-Odlo, , NED

Not the day Michiel van der Heijden was hoping for- mechanical problems stopped his race.

The expected attack of N1NO came with 1 1/2 half laps to go. He made it through the race with no crashes and the bike performed superbly. Everything came together to win his 5th race of the season with a 12 second margin over Florian Vogel and 38 seconds over BMC’s Reto Indergand.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 4, Vogel, Florian, Focus XC Team, RC Gränichen, SUI

High fives between two former team mates who made the race interesting to watch

A muddy face stated before heading to the shower, “It’s not that I like these kind of conditions and before the race it sure takes more motivation to go out. But once the gun goes off, a race is a race and this one was a good one too! Great battle with a strong riding Florian Vogel and great feel for my new bike!”

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Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

“It’s not that I like these kinds of conditions and before the race it sure takes more motivation to go out. But once the gun goes off, a race is a race and this one was a good one too! Great battle with a strong riding Florian Vogel and great feel for my new bike!”

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It was great to see Marcel Wildhaber riding into a top 10 position in the first lap. Eventually he dropped back to 27th place throughout the race.

34, Wildhaber, Marcel, Scott-Odlo, VC Eschenbach, SUI

Marcel Wildhaber in his favorite cyclo cross conditions

In the separate U23 race the competition was not very strong. Andri Frischknecht had a pretty easy go until mid race he had a crash followed by a flat tire. This circumstances made his race race interesting again.

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In the end the U23 Swiss champion made it a clear victory to get those 30 UCI points for a “hors category” win he was aiming for. This built confidence for the upcoming World Championship.

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100, Frischknecht, Andri, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

 

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Finally back winning- Andri Frischknecht

Jenny Rissveds was not at the start line due to her hand injury. After a hectic month of racing, riders go into a block of training to get ready for World Championships in Nove Mesto in early July.

Let’s cross fingers that N1NO Schurter get’s a fresh rainbow jersey.

The race venue’s laundry machine– click on the image below– was not sufficient enough.

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This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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WORLD CUP RACING IN ALBSTADT #NEX…

23 May 2016 | While a super exciting sprint finish resulted in N1NO Schurter’s 19th World Cup victory, Jenny Rissveds rode in  world class fashion to an amazing second place in the Women’s Elite Competition.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA

Albstadt, Germany. SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team’s two stars this season have delivered highlights again and again with most recently a first and second place at World Cup round 2 in Albstadt, Germany.

N1NO’s victory was no surprise, but it was the result from some very hard work up until the last meter. No less exciting was a great performance from Jenny Rissveds. In only her second World Cup race in the elite category, she showed where she wants to be seen in the future- on the podium!

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The outdoor arena of Albstadt- a great experience for riders and spectators

Someone just following results would likely say cross-country racing is boring, because the same two guys always win. Who ever follows the races live on RedBull TV or even better live on site will agree, as long as Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter- the two icons of the sport- can deliver such high level entertainment, we’ll stick to it. The Albstadt World Cup is great proof that cross-country racing is better and more alive than ever! Thanks to good organizers, exciting coverage and last but not least great athletes, spectators in Albstadt and worldwide were treated to something special yesterday.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

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Defense of the World Cup Leader’s Jersey? Check.

For the first few laps the lead group was quite big. The third of the protagonists of past years showed that he is back after his injury. Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy looked strong finishing in 4th place. It would not be a surprise if at the World Championship in Nove Mesto he is back with the two others battling it out. But for now it was the usual Absalon/Schurter train that was riding away from the rest of the field. As if they had made an agreement, they usually ride at very high pace together, not attacking each other, until the finale where the rivalry heats up!

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI Up and down equally strong – Schurter in front of Absalon

From than on it was no joking around. Absalon was the first to try to escape on the long climb. Schurter stayed on and did not wait long with his counter attack. As they were equally strong on the uphills and downhills, a sprint finish had to decide between first and second. Julien got to the finish straight in first position and immediately launched the sprint. While this is usually an advantage for Schurter, the finish straight was quite short and it looked like Nino was going to run out of time to overtake Julien. Somehow N1NO managed to get around his rival in the very last meters to win by very few centimeters. What a finale!

3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA What a finale!

N1NO makes not secret that Albstadt is not his favorite track. The climbs are quite long and the descents are not technical enough to really make a difference. The fact that N1NO had never before won in Albstadt makes this victory even sweeter. He stated: “Winning in a sprint finish is always extra excitement because you don’t know the outcome until you cross the line. To finally win here means a lot to me. Who knows if maybe my brand new SCOTT hardtail made the difference at the end. This bike certainly gave me some extra motivation and confidence.”

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“Winning in a sprint finish is always extra excitement because you don’t know the outcome until you cross the line. To finally win here means a lot to me. Who knows if maybe my brand new SCOTT hardtail made the difference at the end. This bike certainly gave me some extra motivation and confidence.”

Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

18, Kulhavy, Jaroslav, Specialized Racing, , CZE 3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 2, Marotte, Maxime, BH-Sr Suntour-KMC, , FRA 6, Forster, Lars, BMC MTB, VC Eschenbach, SUI

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

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Jaroslav Kulhavy (4.)-Julien Absalon (2.)- N1NO (1.)- Maxime Marotte (3.)- Lars Forster (5.)

9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

Double pressure on Jenny Rissveds shoulders

After her crash on the start loop in Cairns, Jenny Rissveds tried to avoid the same thing by taking of from the start like a missile. In only her second Elite World Cup race she’s already gotten the taste of leading such a high level race. Soon after on second lap a crash at pretty high speed did not only cause some pain and loss of the rhythm, it also knocked her out of the top ten.

9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

Jenny on track to her first podium

This was a big bummer that first needed to be digested. This is exactly where Jenny showed her class. After a mind set change she got going again and picked the race apart, one rider after another. Going into the last lap she was in 5th position knowing every UCI point would count towards the Olympics in Rio.

9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

Except when crashing on her knee Jenny had everything under control during the whole race

Her last lap, which was the fastest of all riders, was something that even impressed experts who know what this girl is capable of. She moved all the way up into second place having only World Cup leader Anika Langvad ahead of her. What a ride!

9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

Happy face crossing the liner in second

5, Spitz, Sabine, Sabine Spitz Pro Team, , GER 9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE 1, Langvad, Annika, Specialized Racing XC, , DEN 4, Pendrel, Catherine, Luna Pro Team, , CAN 19, Dahle Flesja, Gunn-Rita, Multivan Merida Biking Team, , NOR

Sabine Spitz (4.)- Jenny Rissveds (2.)- Annika Langvad (1.)- Catharina Pendrel (3.)- Gunn-Rita Dahle (5.)

The cuts on her knee are pretty deep and her finger also took some abuse from the crash, but the excitement about her awesome finish was bigger than the pain. “This was almost a perfect day, despite my crash I felt very good today. I really hope this helps now to secure a spot for Sweden, because more than anything I want to participate at the Olympic games in Rio.”

9, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

“This was an almost perfect day, despite my crash I felt very good today. I really hope this helps now to secure a spot for Sweden, because more than anything I want to participate at the Olympic games in Rio.”

Jenny Rissveds, U23 World Cup Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

Andri Frischknecht who was racing in the U23 race had a similar good last lap like Jenny, only he made it from 13th up to 8th place in the finale. In his third race of this season he showed that after his injury he is not only back on track but also has the ability to fight until the very end. Unfortunately not so good news came from Michiel van der Heijden. His is dealing with some issues with his back, He finished far back in 53rd. Marcel Wildhaber starting out of 130th position had basically no chance from the start. His 86th place is not satisfying for all the effort he put in.

19, Frischknecht, Andri, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

Making his way back to top ten- Andri Frischknecht

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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Kristian Hynek wins on Elba

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The spell is broken: Kristian Hynek wins the UCI Marathon on the Italian island Elba. The Czech from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team wins the Capoliveri Legend Cup with a great finish, so does Bigham after a breathtaking comeback in Belgium.

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For a long time it didn’t look like Kristian Hynek could end up at the top of the podium on the island right by Tuscany after the ”mere” 67 kilometers. The Italians took off furiously and pushed him and Alban Lakata on the defense right at the first mountain. ”I would not have bet even 5 Euros on me at the beginning. My legs didn’t cooperate,” reveals Kristian. However, the lever tools changed their mind and the patience of the old hand paid off.

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Back on Track


The European Champion of 2012 came back to the top flight and started to dictate the speed again. About 20 kilometers before the finish line and after a long climb, only four riders were left. But the Topeak-Ergon pilot had the best finish and took his first meaningful victory of this year. ”This gives me a lot of confidence in regards to the world championship. That was missing after the Cape Epic, but this victory shows me. I’m back on track,” says the 35-year old Czech.

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World champion Alban Lakata took place six and wasn’t unhappy with that. ”I took it rather easy this week after my victory in Singen and therefore wasn’t as ready. I couldn’t keep up at the beginning, but then picked up and rode as fast as the front. A race under three hours is naturally difficult for a diesel engine,” jokes Lakata.

 

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Wild pursuit race in the Ardennes


Sally Bigham had a very complicated start during the first stage (67 km) of the Belgium Mountain Bike Challenge in the Ardennes when she was thrown back by a defect. ”It was Friday the 13th,” says Bigham with a grin. The victory receded into a dim distance.

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”Giving up” doesn’t exist in Iron Sally’s vocabulary nor is it a mental option. The rest of the stage and the remaining two days were marked as a wild pursuit race. Of the 20 minutes she was behind on day one, she made up eight and a half minutes with her stage victory (96km) on Saturday. The rest on Sunday was a 100 kilometers long dessert.

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Sally Bigham left behind her competitors by the first few kilometers and rode unleashed to the second stage and overall victory in front of the Serbian Jovana Crnogorac. ”Phew, this was hard”, respires Bigham. We totally believe her …

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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Alban and Sally triumph in Singen

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Two victories and a silver medal, this is the magnificent balance sheet of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team weekend. Alban Lakata flawlessly took his third victory in Hegau after an enthralling sprint finish, and Sally Bigham also picked up her first victory in Singen. Kristian Hynek claimed second place on the podium at the Czech Championships.


The Hegau Bike Marathon in Singen covers a distance of 98 kilometers, where a gripping duel unfolded between Marathon World Champion Alban Lakata and Vice World Champion in Sprint, Sam Gaze, from New Zealand. A sprint duel with the 20-year-old seemed dangerous, but the Albanator wore down his competitor with increase after increase. ”He was very tame at the end,” laughs Lakata.

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Photo finish for Alban

The Austrian snatched his third victory in Singen/Hegau by a tire width in a battle to the finish on the home stretch. ”I felt really good today again. The buildup towards the European Championships is consequently right, which is the second good news of the day,” says Lakata.

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Sally cranks laid back to victory

Like her teammate Lakata, Sally Bigham seconds the success in the women’s contest covering 80 kilometers, but in a different, much more laid-back manner. She left her biggest rival, Esther Süss, behind early on and cranked her way confidently at the third start line to her first victory in Singen. ”Two and a half hours time trial,” laughs Bigham, ”but it was a sunny warm day in the office. What a shame, it wasn’t the European Championships today.” But what didn’t happen in 2015 at the European Championships, could work for 2017 at the World Championships, which also takes place in Singen.

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Silver for Hynek

Kristian Hynek missed his second Czech championship title only by seven seconds.
At the classic in Lipnik nad Becvou covering 97 kilometers, Hynek was part of a four-men elite group with Olympic medalist and Marathon European Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy.

He attacked during the first four kilometers from the start, but got caught-up during a two kilometers climb to the old castle. This is where the fire really started to burn. Kristian Hynek was able to set himself apart from Matous Ulman as well as Jaroslav, but had to give in to four-time winner of this race, Pavel Boudny.

”I naturally would have liked to win, but it’s not a shame to lose against Pavel. He always focuses on the National Championships. After Cape Epic, I’m not yet at 100 percent , but it gets better week by week,” comments Hynek on his silver medal beating Kulhavy.

This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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Bigham wins Mud Bath in Houffalize

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Iron Sally in freezing temperatures and adverse conditions: The Topeak Ergon rider defies the extreme weather conditions in Belgium Houffalize at the Roc d’Ardennes on Saturday and tacks another victory to her long Palmarès. World Champion Alban Lakata continues the upward trend at Lake Garda by taking fourth.

”It was tremendously slippery and very difficult to get a grip,” said Bigham. 
However, that didn’t phase ”Iron Sally” very much. The Brit was able to capture the lead during the first short climb. Soaking wet, struggling, raking and sliding are the conditions in which she constantly battled with to keep her lead over the French Helene Marcouyre on her Canyon Lux CF securing the largest trophy at her premiere in the Ardennes.

”It took me an hour in the shower to get clean again,” laughed Sally Bigham. ”But it’s a great day. A great town and beautiful trails. Even, if it rains.”

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The BIKE Festival Garda Trentino at the Lake Garda that features the Rocky Mountain BIKE Marathon provided a beautifully sunny race day. Alban Lakata finished his second race after the Cape Epic on the Ronda Extrema taking fourth place. ”It was again a step forward. The watt values are on, but only the body weight remains too high after the sickness. You really notice that on a climbing course. But everything is on track. I want to improve myself leading up to the European Championship”, commented the Austrian on the 90 km (about 56 miles) in Italy. 
”It should go even better next week in Singen. In addition the route there is similar to the route of the European Championships.”
 The classic at Lake Garda closes with Kristian Hynek in tenth place.

Next Sunday, May 8th, Sally, Alban and Kristian are starting at the Rothaus Hegau Bike Marathon in Singen, an event of the UCI Marathon MTB World Series.

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE

N1NO couldn’t ask for a better start to the World Cup season. Jenny Rissveds rides into the top ten and Michiel van der Heijden is missing just a little for a top ranking. All in all an awesome start Down Under.

Cairns, Australia- it’s quite a ways to travel for a 90 minute mountain bike race. With the change in time zones and climate, plus shipping all the equipment, this is a logistically difficult and expensive journey.

This is why you better get something out of it. And this is exactly what SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing did. Or how the Aussies would say: we are not here to fuck spiders!

Please forgive my choice of words, but this is an official saying in Australia.

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N1NO is not here to fuck spiders. He takes his 18th World Cup win!

N1NO’s winning streak has continued into the 2016/2017 World Cup Season- his method hasn’t changed. This means getting out of the start block like a missile, putting his contenders on the defensive early on, controlling the race and than increasing the pace in the last few laps. It sounds pretty simple, but this takes an athlete in top shape. And in top shape Nino certainly was. To his fortune, his biggest rival, Julien Absalon, flatted in lap one and seemed to be out of contention. But the man with the most World Cup wins fought his way back into the race in a way only a great champion can do.

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N1NO’s SCOTT Spark 700 came in handy on the technical track with heavy drops and jumps.

This doesn’t mean there was no competition aside from Absalon. Swiss rider Mathias Flückiger challenged the World Champion not only on the climbs, but also put the pressure on Nino on the long descent by taking a lot of risk. The track was very well built and had some tricky sections in it that caused a lot of flat tires. Absalon was by far not the only one slowed down by a mechanical. Aussie Dan McConnell dropped out the lead group with a flat. French Maxime Marotte stayed with the Swiss Schurter/Flückiger train for 2/3 of the race. After that he lost contact, but never was far behind the leaders riding in 3rd place.

2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

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The last two laps were the most exciting. N1NO attacked and left Flückiger behind. The Absalon train pulled in from behind catching up time on the leader. This also forced Marotte to speed up. Both French riders passed Flückiger in the finale and at the finish line the winning World Champion had a 3 second gap on Marotte and 27 seconds on Absalon. Who knows the outcome without Absalon’s flat?

The happy winner confessed: “On a course like this luck has to be on your side. And today it definitely was on my side. This win is not only a great way to start the World Cup season, it also makes me hungry for more when we come back for World Championships next year.”

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“This win is not only a great way to start the World Cup season, it also makes me hungry for more when we come back for World Championships next year.”

Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

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2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

The winning bike powered by the World Champion and the brand new 12 speed Sram Eagle drivetrain.

7, Flückiger, Mathias, Stoeckli Pro, , SUI 4, Marotte, Maxime, BH-Sr Suntour-KMC, , FRA 2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 1, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 5, Vogel, Florian, Focus XC Team, RC Gränichen, SUI Podium left to right: Mathias Flückiger (4.) Maxime Marotte (2.) N1NO Schurter (1.) Julien Absalon (3.) Florian Vogel (5.)

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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Mathew Hayman wins Paris Roubaix, settles unfinished business

Paris-Roubaix

Veteran classics specialist Mathew Hayman has produced a masterful performance for ORICA-GreenEDGE today, sprinting to victory on the iconic velodrome of Paris-Roubaix, one of cycling’s five monuments.

The 37-year old returned for his 15th attempt at the ‘Hell of the North’, a race he has always declared unfinished business with, just five weeks after fracturing his right radius.

Spending the majority of the race in the front group Hayman used all of his experience to take the win ahead of four-time previous winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep)

“I still can’t believe it,” said Hayman. “I’ve had enough bad luck in Paris-Roubaix in the last fifteen years. Everything went right today, I was in a good place mentally, I was relaxed and I was trying not to put pressure on myself.”

“With one kilometre to go I was thinking that I would be happy just to be on the podium. I had a feeling that my legs were pretty good and I was happy to ride with Tom (Boonen) until the finish line but then it all came back together for the last lap.”

“I’ve been riding some track recently after breaking my arm five weeks ago. My legs were feeling pretty good going into the finishing straight when I started my sprint, I could see Tom’s tyre underneath my arm but I managed to keep going.”

Hayman raced with intelligence throughout the day, part of the early group of over twenty riders that formed the day’s breakaway alongside teammate Magnus Cort. Hayman positioned himself expertly as the attacks began to spring in the finale.

Using his experience and his power, the 2006 Commonwealth Games champion stayed clear of the four chasers to become only the second Australian to win the ‘Queen of the Classics’.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was over the moon with the result and the performance of Hayman, a tireless leader and worker for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team.

“What an amazing ride,” said Lapage. “If there is one guy that you want to win this race it would be Mathew (Hayman), he has been waiting for a long, long time to get the right opportunity and he put in an outstanding performance to get the win.”

“The whole team rode very well throughout the race, we knew that if Mathew could stay up there at the front until the final then he had a good chance but we didn’t expect it to go so perfectly.”

“We can enjoy this moment now, it’s a special victory in a special race. Everyone in this team works so hard it’s great when it pays off in a race like Paris-Roubaix”

How it happened:

The sun was shining in Compiegne for the start of the 114th Paris-Roubaix, there had been some rain overnight but for all intents and purposes it was shaping up to be a dry and dusty day on the cobbles.

The first 40kilometres of racing were extremely fast with numerous breakaways trying to form but the peloton were not letting anything go.Eventually a group of twenty or more riders managed to pull away and gained over 30seconds on the peloton.

The group included representatives from the teams Tek-Segafredo, Cannondale, Tinkoff, FDJ and Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data). The Cavendish group pushed on ahead and the increased speed of the chase split the peloton into two groups.

Forty riders formed the first chasing group behind the escapees. Ten kilometres later and the Cavendish group had been swallowed by the first peloton and only three riders remained up the road with a slender advantage of 20seconds.

Cort and Hayman of ORICA-GreenEDGE bridged across to the three leaders and were followed by another fifteen riders to form the second breakaway. After 120kilometres had been covered the Hayman group had a lead of one-minute 28seconds over the chasers. The race was now upon the first cobbled sectors of the day yet the average speed remained high at over 45kph.

After the halfway point of the race the leaders advantage had grown to three minutes and 40seconds. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) and three teammates including Tom Boonen broke clear of the peloton in an attempt to connect with the leaders. Other riders followed Martin, creating three groups on the road.

Entering the iconic Forest of Arenberg sector of cobbles and the gap between the leaders and the Martin group had fallen to a minute and 30seconds. Luke Durbridge had made the split and was in the first chasing group with Martin and Boonen.

The third group contained Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and with 80kilometres to go Hayman attacked from the leaders group and led the race alone for the next ten kilometres. With 60 kilometres left to race the Boonen group made contact with breakaway, around fifteen riders forged ahead forming a new group of leaders including Hayman for ORICA-GreenEDGE. Behind the leaders the chase group was splitting apart as Cancellara hit a stretch of muddy cobbles and crashed with three or four other riders also in difficulty.

Thirty kilometres remained and the group of Hayman, Boonen and Ian Stannard (Team-Sky) had over a minute on the group of Sagan and Durbridge with the Cancellara group a further minute behind. Attacks were beginning to form at the head of the race with first Boonen and then Stannard as the group approached the famous Carrefour de l’Arbe section of cobbles.

This stretch of pave is where many editions of the race have been decided. It was Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo) who finally broke free and gained over fifty metres on the leaders which he held for the following few kilometres before the group came back together with ten kilometres to go.

It was a game of cat and mouse in the final kilometres until Hayman attacked with under three kilometres left taking only Boonen with him. The duo entered the historic Roubaix velodrome with Vanmarcke, Stannard and Edvald Boassen Hagen (Dimension- Data) hot on their heels. The ringing of the one lap to go bell brought the group together and the tension increased. Hayman attacked in the final 200metres, giving everything that he had left the Australian held on until the line for a memorable victory.

The next race for ORICA-GreenEDGE is Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday 13th of April.

Paris-Roubaix results:

1. Mathew Hayman (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 5:51:53

2. Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) ST

3. Ian Stannard (Team-Sky) ST

Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix

Matthew Hayman in the 2016 Paris-Roubaix

Matthew Hayman leads an escape in the 2016 Paris-Roubaix

Mathew Hayman in action during the 2016 Paris-Roubaix

This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

 

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