Transalp 2015 – Bigham and Kollmann win unchallenged

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Sally Bigham dominates the Craft BIKE Transalp 2015 with her Austrian partner Christina Kollmann and wins with a comfortable lead. Alban Lakata and Christian Hynek win the last stage as well and take third overall.

The Craft BIKE Tansalp 2015 is history and the Topeak Ergon Racing Team showcased an outstanding team effort once more. Above all the women’s duo delivered a burning performance during the seven stages from Ruhpolding to Riva. Right after the starting shot, Sally Bigham and her teammate Christina Kollmann jumped out with a solid head start, which they held the entire 611 kilometres (380 mi) and 19,000 meters difference in altitude (62336 ft.) all the way to the finish line at Lake Garda.

Iron Sally brings back her 3rd Transalp victory in the ladies competition after her wins in 2012 and 2013. But the joy of victory didn’t weigh an ounce less this time: ”Stage races of this length are extremely hard and long. Something can always happen”, explains Sally jubilant at the finish line. ”But, we were really lucky this time. We didn’t have any injuries or technical issues.”

Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek ended the Transalp in 3rd place and only barely missed their personal goal of an overall victory. A flat tire during stage 3 took a lot of time, which left every effort futile trying to make due for the time lost. With inner rage burning about the defect, the two won the stage the next day and the final stage from Levico Terme to Riva del Garda. But it still wasn’t enough to take the overall victory.

”I’m happy that we won the last stage to Riva. This is very special even though it wasn’t enough to win the overall”, reveals the Albanator at the finish line and presents himself a fair competitor: ”It was an incredible hard fight for the podium at this years Transalp edition. Congrats to the whole Centurion-Vaude Team for their well deserved win. I would also like to thank our team Topeak-Ergon for the great support, as always, and Canyon for that awesome new bike!”

Robert Mennen had to drop out totally drained for unexplained reasons during the penultimate stage. His teammate Jeremiah Bishop rode the last stage alone, excluded from the competition.

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Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2015, stage 7, Levico Terme - Riva del Garda, finish,

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

 

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HEAT, DUST AND DRAMA

While Jenny Rissveds wins her third World Cup in a row, Nino Schurter sticks to his unlucky second place.

Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The speed queen from Sweden demonstrates her domination in the U23 category with another outstanding victory. Meanwhile, the Swiss champion tried everything possible to capture victory at his home World Cup, but unfortunately failed due to a flat tire.

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Nino taking one of the jumps on the modern race track in Lenzerheide

The Lenzerheide World Cup was marked in red on the SCOTT-Odlo team calendar. Jenny Rissveds, Michiel van der Heijden and Andri Frischknecht all prepared at the altitude of the Engadin to be ready for Swiss World Cup. Lenzerheide will be a World Cup every year until 2017 and eventually turn into the World Championship in 2018. In Jenny’s case, the hard work payed off. With her biggest rival in the classification missing, she raced to her 3rd World Cup win as if it were a walk in the park. Both technically and physically nobody was even close to her.

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Jenny on her ride to world cup win Nr. 3

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 Italian Lisa Rabensteiner (3rd), Jenny and Swiss Ramona Forchini (2nd)

Jenny was happy about her performance; “I just love this track and look forward coming back in the next years. With this win I made a big step towards winning the overall title this year.”

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“I just love this track and look forward coming back the next years. With this win I made a big step towards winning the overall title this year.”

Jenny Rissveds, Swedish Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

 

With the confidence that comes with being crowned the European Games champion, Nino Schurter was looking forward racing on home turf. Not only is the modern race track of Lernzerheide less than 20 km away from his hometown of Chur, it is also seems as if the track was built for Nino. Technically demanding and physically tough- just the way he likes it.

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The thousands of spectators witnessed some spectacular racing

It only took two laps until the big three formed the lead group (World Cup leader, Julien Absalon, Olympic champion, Jaroslav Kuklhavy and local hero Nino Schurter). As the race continued, the rising pace of Kulhavyy, pushed Absalon into the defense, falling 15 seconds back. Both, Nino and Jaroslav made sure Julien was not coming back, moving forward with tremendous pace. The heat was on, and the dust made it even more challenging for the hard fighting competitors.

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Nino’s support crew in the pits : Franky, Yanick and Richard

Two laps to go Nino suffered a slow leak in his tire. Still in the lead, he pulled into the tech zone to change his wheel. You can see how fast this was done by checking out the video here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aVaz8mpHG6w

Our mechanic Yanick Gyger deserves a World Cup win for his record wheel change.

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The unfortunate loss of 18 seconds was an invitation for the Olympic champion to take the win home. Nino tried hard to get back to Jaroslav, closing the gap to 11 seconds, but the time remaining was not enough to catch him. Frustrated about the bad luck but happy with his performance Nino said: “I tried so hard to take this win and I think I was a flat tire away from it. But again, this is racing!”

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Second place but performed like a winner: Nino Schurter

 

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“I tried so hard to take this win and I think I was a flat tire away from it. But again, this is racing!”

Nino Schurter, SwissChampion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

 

Julien Absalon also had a flat tire, resulting in leader jersey ending up on Kulhavy’s shoulders, with Nino in second and Absalon in third.

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Matthias Flückiger 4th- Nino Schurter 2nd- Jaroslav Kulhavy 1st- Ondrej Czink 3rd- Maxime Marotte 5th

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Marcel Wildhaber lost a lot of ground due to a bad start, but finished respectably in 45th. Michiel van der Heijden spent a good part of the race in the top 20, but unfortunately lost his position towards the end, finishing in 36th. Similarly, it looked like a top 10 was possible for in the U23 rider Andri Frischknecht, until he fell back in the last two laps, finishing 16th.

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Michiel van der Heijden
Marcel Wildhaber
Andri Frischknecht

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

 

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Tour de France. Joaquim Rodriguez celebrates victory on Mur de Huy

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It was familiar ground for Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez as he lit out for the finish line on the 1,1 km Mur de Huy and claimed the victory for the 3rd stage of the 2015 Tour de France. It was a move reminiscent of his 2012 win on the traditional finishing climb of Flèche Wallonne. Rodriguez, age 36, celebrated his fourth win of the cycling season and brings the total to thirty-four for the team, a record in the history of Team Katusha. The hilltop success also gave Joaquim Rodriguez the polka dot jersey as the best climber in the general classification.

– I started the day with some fear after a bad night following my crash yesterday and some knee pain in the morning, but during the day I really felt good and then better and better. The team supported me also very well. It is a pity we had to lose Dmitriy Kozonchuk. I did not see the crash as I was in front of it, but I could hear it. The speed was really high headed in the direction Mur de Huy. I even had to ask Giampaolo Caruso to slow down a bit. On the Mur everything went well. I attacked with 400 m to go. That is the perfect distance for me. I am explosive and this Mur suits me so well. The last time I wanted to wait a little longer and then I was closed in by others. I did not want to take that risk this time and I went full gas and it was perfect. I am so happy after the fabulous work of the team too, – said stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez.

Chasing in just behind Rodriguez was Chris Froome (Team Sky) who took the yellow jersey on the third day of racing. Rounding out the top three was Alexis Vuillermoz of AG2R La Mondiale. Behind Froome at 1-second is Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick Step) and Tejay van Garderen of BMC at 13-seconds for third place on the classification.

– My condition is good. Also yesterday it was good. I just lost time due to flat tire and a crash at a bad moment. In the end I did not lose too much time. Paris is a long way to go and I am still very ambitious. This mountain jersey is nice. I would be happy with it in Paris but my real goal is a good GC, – continued Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage 3 always promised to be spectacular with the course including some of the same roads used in the Spring classics. At 159,5 km, the route began in Antwerp, Belgium with the final circuit the identical one used in Flèche Wallonne to feature the first uphill finish in this year’s race. Just as a breakaway of four riders was brought back with more than 50 km still to go, a major crash hit the peloton and forced the abandonment of several riders, including Katusha’s Dmitriy Kozonchuck, and seeing the yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara go down and later to be off the back by more than eleven minutes at the finish.

Dmitriy Kozontchuk was involved in the big crash and had to abandon the race. In the Centre Hospitalier Régional of Huy, the Russian rider was diagnosed with a fracture of the left shoulder blade (Лопатка) as well a broken left collarbone. Kozontchuk will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning in the O.L.V. van Lourdes Hospital of Waregem (Belgium).

The race was quickly neutralized while medical staff re-grouped and tended to the wounded, eventually re-starting after almost 20 minutes. The first of 4 climbs was also neutralized, but racing resumed for the final three with Rodriguez attentive and ready to battle for the stage victory.

– Tomorrow is the pavé. That is not at all my specialty. I just hope to not crash and not lose too much time, and then the Tour can really start. But it has not been bad so far. I am proud and happy, – concluded Team Katusha leader Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage 4 promises more excitement in a mini “Paris-Roubaix” as the race finally moves into France.  The stage begins Seriang, Belgium and ends in Cambrai after the longest stage at 224 km. With small climbs up and down all day, the cobbled sections will feature prominently in this stage. Seven sectors of pavé over a distance of 13,3 km will make for an exciting fourth stage.

Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele

 

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This article was originally posted on www.katushateam.com.

 

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Alban Lakata is World Champion!

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Sensational triumph for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team: Alban Lakata fetches his second gold medal in Marathon Mountain Biking with an impressive performance at the Marathon World Championships in Val Gardena, South Tyrol.

You can’t take a world title more rightfully. During the first climb of the Marathon World Championships 2015 in South Tyrol, six kilometers up to Dantercepies, Alban Lakata from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team took the lead of the participant field with superiority and kept it all the way to the finish line.

The Albanator kept the entire world elite of the mountain bike sport with his resistless attacks at bay. Moreover, he even expanded his lead to over 2 minutes at the end. ”Originally, I didn’t want to attack until the third climb”, says the Austrian. ”But I felt so good right from the start that I had to give it a try straight away.”

This triumph is especially deserved not only because of the framework conditions of the race with 4.700 meters difference in altitude on 87 kilometers, which are worthy of a world champion, but also the fact that Alban already took world champion in 2010 in St. Wendel on a course with different characteristics. This clearly illustrates the 36-year old is a perfectly complete mountain biker.

All in all, this was an impressive appearance of the freshly baked world champion in every respect, because even a car crash couldn’t throw him off track. Alban was brushed by an automobile during the second third of the race while descending from Passo Pordoi. He had a stroke of luck and wasn’t hurt and the brand-new Canyon prototype was left unharmed. ”It’s madness what can happen to you during a race”, says Lakata head-shaking, ”but luck was on my side today!” That’s right: No defect, no fall — only this one moment of shock. A perfect day is all it takes to become world champion.

”A tremendous dream came true for me today once more,” says the grinning two time World and European Champion. ”I finally could prove to everyone that my success at the World Championship 2010 was not a mayfly. Besides people say one title is no title!”

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

 

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Hoskins queen of the climbs at Aviva Women’s Tour

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World track champion Melissa Hoskins has wrapped up the queen of the mountains classification at the Aviva Women’s Tour following today’s final stage into Hemel Hempstead.

Swedish champion Emma Johansson also maintained her overall position to finish fourth, 13 seconds behind winner Lisa Brennauer (Velocio SRAM).

Hoskins started the day two points advantage in the best climber competition and defended her position well to finish the Tour in the same position.

“It was a little bit of fun at the start but I said to the girls the other day that I started getting attached to it,” Hoskins said of her polka dot jersey.

“I went down swinging and managed to walk away with it so I’m pretty stoked.”

The jersey, alongside a most combative award for Gracie Elvin on the fifth and final stage, were bonuses for the ORICA-AIS team having put their priority in the general classification battle.

“We did everything that we planned to do today,” Hoskins said. “We got caught on the back foot a little bit at the start but we came back together for the sprint, we just didn’t manage to pick up any seconds there.”

“We were attentive all day, we had Gracie up the road, which wasn’t bad for us.

“I think all in all we raced really well as a team and we should be pretty proud of what we have achieved regardless of not getting on the podium on general classification.”

Sport director Martin Barras was pleased with the way the team attacked the race, particularly on the final stage.

“It was a good solid Tour for the team,” Barras said. “Today’s objective was to climb onto the podium and we had targeted Jolien D’Hoore specifically.”

“The team did a very good job setting up but at the end of the day we couldn’t quite tie it up at the first sprint which put some pressure on us for the rest of the day.

“Over the second queen of the mountain, Emma went for broke. That move was not about getting on the podium that was about trying to win the bike race. She went all or nothing and I love that, in my book that is always the better way to race.”

Overall, Barras said the team leaves another popular Aviva Women’s Tour satisfied.

“We did everything that we could, we did everything that we had to,” Barras said.

“Trying to get on the podium was part one of our objectives, but what we also did well was to hold onto the polka dot jersey so that in itself is a very positive outcome.

“I was very pleased with the way the team raced and I guess we just have to come back next year and get those extra couple of spots for the top of the podium.”

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This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

 

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Alpentour Trophy ’15: Victory for Sally, Alban takes 2nd

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The Topeak-Ergon Racing Team dominates the Alpentour Trophy 2015. Sally Bigham wins the 4-day stage race in the women’s class, Alban Lakata missed the overall victory by only one second, and Robert Mennen takes an excellent 5th place.

The Alpentour Trophy 2015 seamlessly integrates itself into the list of very successful events for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team: Sally Bigham won the race around Schlandming, Austria for the 3rd time now. Alban Lakata taking second was extremely tight with only a one second deficit. Robert Mennen took 5th.

Three of the four stages around Schladming, with 212 kilometers in total and close to 9.000 meters difference in altitude, were dominated by ”Iron” Sally in a unique way. Only for the final uphill time trail, did the favorite have to be content with 2nd place. In the end she won the overall victory 17 minutes and 18 seconds ahead of second place.

The men of the Koblenz based racing team were on a triumphant sweep as well. The Austrian state champion, Alban Lakata, lacked only one second to an overall victory. ”The last four days with great and outstanding conditions were offered here in Schladming”, summed up the local matador, who naturally would have liked to win the race after all.

However, the Albanator was not disappointed: ”The stage win on the 3rd day and the 2nd place at the overall classification shows that my shape is right and I can look with confidence toward the Marathon World Championship in two weeks in South Tyrol — I look forward to it!”

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

 

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“No Pain, No Gain”

While Jenny Rissveds celebrated her second World Cup victory of the season, Nino Schurter lost his race in one of the last corners.

Albstadt, Germany. What an exciting racing weekend we saw at the second round of the UCI MTB World Cup. A huge, enthusiastic crowd of around 15,000 spectators got to see pure racing. In the women’s U23 category the Swedish Champion and SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing athlete Jenny Rissveds was unstoppable and extended her World Cup lead. In a head to head battle with World Champion Julien Absalon, Nino Schurter looked like he is going to win his first World Cup race of the season, but crashed in one of the last corners to end up in second position.

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Pure Racing in Albstadt

The Swiss Champion went into the race with lots of respect for his contenders Julien Absalon and Jaroslav Kulhavy. On the climber’s course Julien always came out first in the previous years, Jaroslav showed in Nove Mesto that he is in the shape of his life. Nino on the other hand is Nino and put the hurt on the rest of the field right from the start. It was clear from the first meter of the race that the SCOTT-Odlo star was not there to see what was possible, he wanted to show what was possible.

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Nino’s choice for the “German autobahn” course- the SCOTT Scale hardtail

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The duel of the day: Schurter v Absalon

Early on in the race, World Cup leader Kulhavy was not ready for Schurter’s pace and had to let go. It was the same was for former team mate Florian Vogel. Fighting at the front of the race was the familiar duo from last year. The outcome of this battle was unpredictable. Both of them looked like they were riding at their best. The World Champion attacked several times on the climbs- without success. The Swiss Champion sometimes got a few seconds on the descents, but not enough to make a difference. It all had to come down to the very last climb and descent before the finish. The thousands of spectators sure got something for their money. This was pure racing at the highest level!

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Nino looking strong showing his race face

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Close to 15,000 spectators enjoyed pure racing

Absalon launched his attack on the last climb. Again, Nino was glued to his rear wheel. More than this- on the top before the last descent Nino even overpassed Julien to take the last descent in the leading position. Riding with all the risk it takes to win a race, he managed to get a few seconds out of his rival. It looked like Nino was riding to his first World Cup win of the season. Then a painful mistake changed things for the worse. With only 300 meters to go in one of the very last corners on gravel, Nino lost control of his SCOTT Scale and went down hard. He was back on the bike quickly, but at the same time Julien passed him to take the victory away. Mentally and physically, it was a very painful moment. We never saw something like this happen to the technically superb and controlled riding of Nino Schurter. But it just shows how much they have to ride at their limit to win a race at this level.

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Florian Vogel (4th) – Nino Schurter (2nd) – Julien Absalon (1st) – Jaroslav Kulhavy (3rd) Mathias Flückiger (5th)

Disappointed about his mistake but still good for a joke Nino stated, “This hurts! Just when a thought I had it, I went down in a place where someone who wants to win races should not be crashing! It’s double painful to loose a race like I just did. Never mind- no pain no gain! I had an awesome race day out there riding at my best. Especially on this course to be eye to eye with Julien shows I was top today!” Nino was hospitalized after the race with some deep cuts on the hip. He is fine, but it will take a few days to get over the injuries. The World Champion by the way has massive respect from the MTB racing scene winning his 30th World Cup race.

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Nino Schurter, 3x World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

“This hurts! Just when a thought I had it, I went down in a place where someone who wants to win races should not be crashing! It’s double painful to loose a race like I just did. Never mind- no pain no gain! I had an awesome race day out there riding at my best. Especially on this course to be eye to eye with Julien shows I was top today!”

 

Behind the podium we saw some progress from Michiel van der Heijden. He finished in 26th and is headed in the right direction. Marcel Wildhaber instead is having a hard time starting so far back. His hopes for a top rank are usually destroyed already in last lap getting stuck in a traffic jam. He finished again in 63rd. Also U23 rider Andri Frischknecht was not happy about his performance. After his 3rd place in Nove Mesto he was hoping for more than his 14th place.

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Dutch Champion Michiel van der Heijden

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Marcel Wildhaber

 

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Andri Frischknecht

 

2nd World Cup Win for Jenny Rissveds

A top race from start to finish saw Swedish Champion Jenny Rissveds finishing on the top step. After her victory last week she looked very confident showing from the first meter that she is the girl to beat. This time she was the master of the game up and down. It almost looked too easy watching her winning her second World Cup race within a week. She is no doubt the fastest U23 rider out there at the moment.

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 World Cup leader Jenny Rissveds riding at her best.

Happy about her race she said, “This time I was even more convinced I could win, even though the course here in Albstadt is very demanding physically. This was an awesome start for the World Cup season. I now look forward to the European Games in Baku, where I can compete against some of the best elite riders.”

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

“This time I was even more convinced I could win, even though the course here in Albstadt is very demanding physically. This was an awesome start for the World Cup season. I now look forward to the European Games in Baku, where I can compete against some of the best elite riders.”

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Jenny’s SCOTT Scale 700

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Alessandra Keller (2nd) Jenny Rissveds (1st) Kate Courtney (3rd)

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

 

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1st, 2nd and 3rd in Nove Mesto

With Jenny Rissveds winning the U23, Nino Schurter in 2nd and Andri Frischknecht finishing 3rd in U23, the XCO World Cup season couldn`t have started any better for SCOTT-Odlo.

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

Like every year the SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team travelled to Nove Mesto knowing each one of them had done their homework. The results prior to the World Cup looked promising, but until the first World Cup race, there are always question marks. Having riders on the podium of each race we entered is a good sign that we are on track. This confidence makes us hungry for more.

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

Jenny Rissveds- 1st

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Nino Schurter- 2nd

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Andri Frischknecht

Jenny Rissveds very noticibly took a huge step forward in 2015. She looks much more focused in the cross-country races this year as she is not using up her energy in eliminator races anymore. This focus is starting to pay off now. In the first round of the World Cup she showed an excellent performance all around to come out as the winner of the day. Not that she was the strongest out there, but riding with well taught tactics, using her technical skills to make a difference and to lead her to victory. Her biggest threat was U23 vice-World Champion Margot Moschetti of France. Margot, well known as a great climber, was for most of the race able to close the gaps Jenny created after the descents. But when the Swedish champion shifted up one gear on the final lap, there was no doubt anymore who would take the crown. With her last lap being the fastest of all laps, Jenny was flying towards the finish to win her second U23 XC race of her career.

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Margot Moschetti- 2nd, Jenny- 1st, Kate Courtney- 3rd. 

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Jenny was excited about her race saying, “My tactics played out well for me. Each descent I tried to gain some seconds on my competitors. This allowed me to recover a bit before they caught up again and I had no problem riding with Margot on the climbs. I’m excited to go to Albstadt in the World Cup leaders jersey.”
Not only is Jenny fast on an XC bike, but she can handle the Genius just as well. Check out the following edit of Jenny riding at home in the offseason!
The mens race looked a bit like it has in past years, just with a different outcome. As a three time winner in Nove Mesto, Nino Schurter went into the race as the big favorite. Everybody was looking for a remake of the battle between Nino and World champion Julien Absalon. Though there was indeed a battle, this time it was Nino against Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy.

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What a great battle between Jaroslav Kulhavy and Nino Schurter.

While Julien Absalon and former SCOTT-Odlo rider Florian Vogel were clearly behind, the two guys in front were giving each other stick the entire race. Nino on his SCOTT Spark 700 looked fast on the descents as usual. He tried to put Jaroslav onto the defensive whenever possible. The Olympic champion on the other side showed impressive power on the flats and climbs.  Each time he was able to close those gaps quite easily. Until last lap both of them looked equally strong. Previous history was on Nino’s side, the 20’000 fans were on the local Jaroslav’s. It came down to the final half lap to find out who had the most juice left after this energy wasting game. Just when Nino tried to get away of the local hero, Jaro launched a counter attack that even an in form Nino Schurter could do nothing about. With the short distance remaining to the finish, Kulhavy took an impressive 24 seconds out of Schurter to win in front of his home crowd.

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Nino celebrating his 2nd place in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

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The podium with Florian Vogel in 4th, Nino Schurter in 2nd and Jaroslav Kulhavy in 1st.

Nino’s statement after the race: “This was an spectacular battle between Jaro and myself. First of all I’m pleased about my great performance, even if it wasn’t enough at the end to defend my victory from last year. Now with Jaroslav back in top shape it is going to be a very interesting season to come. And I’m going to be one of the key players in it!”

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Nino Schurter-  3 Time World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

“This was a spectacular battle between Jaro and myself. First of all I’m pleased about my great performance, even if it wasn’t enough at the end to defend my victory from last year. Now with Jaroslav back in top shape it is going to be a very interesting season to come. And I’m going to be one of the key players in it!”

For both Michiel van der Heijden and Marcel Wildhaber it was not the race they were hoping for. Michiel was investing a lot of energy for a good position on the first lap and was looking good for a while. Unfortunately he was not able to keep the pace and dropped back quite far finishing in 49th. Marcel started way back and never made it towards the top ranks. He finished in 63rd.

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Start with Michiel Nr.16.

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Michiel on his SCOTT Spark 700.

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Marcel Wildhaber

Exciting news came from the U23 race where we saw Andri Frischknecht racing better than ever. His season so far has not run perfectly, but he knew that he had more to offer. Prooving this at the Word Cup, he choose the perfect time to do so. His best World Cup finish to date was an 8th place in Albstadt last year. After a great start Andri took the lead of a group of five. Leading a World Cup race was a first in his U23 career. Going into the last lap Frischi junior was racing for 4th place together with Nr.1 Grant Fergusson, but they had the breath of the chasers in their necks. With the pressure from behind and going all out, Andri actually got closer to 3rd place Sam Gaze. After he had him in sight he was charging big time to overcome the Kiwi. Together with Lars Forster and Pablo Rodriguez he got his first U23 World Cup podium  This sure is #nextlevel!

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Andri in the Rock n’ Roll section.

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Excited about his top finish.

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Happy with the winner and training partner Lars Forster.

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

 

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Alban becomes Austrian Champion for the 6th time

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Not even the most adverse conditions can keep Topeak-Ergon’s Alban Lakata from winning his 6th Austrian State champion title in MTB Marathon. Robert Mennen delivered a stellar performance and won the Ardennes Trophy in La Reid (BEL).

Alban Lakata from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team brought back his 6th Austrian State champion title this Sunday in Kleinzell, Austria at the 15th Granit Marathon. After his absence due to an injury last year, the world champion and two time European champion left no doubts as to who would finish the race at the top of the podium.

Although it was not a walk in the park, the Granit Marathon lived up to it’s name. Continuous rain for days and adverse temperatures transformed the 78 km long route with a 2.500 meter difference in altitude into a slippery course of mud and gravel. Even in good conditions, the hilly course through the Mühlviertel is a challenge for the participants, but this time the race demanded everything from the athletes. During firm inclines and technically demanding trails, even pros like Alban started skidding and weren’t able to reach the finish line without bailing.

So much greater was the celebration afterwards: ”I’m really happy, anything can happen in these conditions”, says the dirty beyond recognition Albanator. And he didn’t forget who to thank regardless: ”Thank you, ’Beda’ and Canyon for the amazing bike and perfect teamwork!”

Congratulations to Robert Mennen as well, who took home the Ardennes Trophy in La Reid, Belgium, riding the 97 kilometers very impressively. After 85 kilometers, the 29-year old from Nörvenich had shaken off his hardest opponent and rode home alone for the final 12 km. And also Sally Bigham was successful last weekend at the MTB Marathon in Rhayader, Mid Wales. She was the fastest woman over the course with 75km and 2.000m of climbing. All in all again a very good weekend for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team.

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

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Bronze for Lakata at the European Championships

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After winning two European Champion titles, Alban Lakata secures his second bronze medal at the Marathon-EM in Singen. Robert Mennen takes fourth, Kristian Hynek takes ninth place after a setback, and in the women’s class Sally Bigham achieves sixth place after a highly competitive final.

Our Topeak-Ergon Racing Team did not land the biggest bounty at the Marathon European Championship in Singen. Even though Alban Lakata picked up a bronze medal for the second time after 2012, it could have worked out better for the racing team from Koblenz. Once again, Kristian Hynek wound up getting hit with tough luck. He was in a promising position 49 kilometers into the race, but then he had to deal with technical issues and could not keep up with the top flight.

The Albanator also felt that he could have done better: ”I had great legs, but with Kristian in the front with the top flight, Robert and I had to stay back and were only able to apply pressure at the end.” Under those circumstances, it’s a great success that he was able to take the bronze medal. Robert Mennen would have liked to win one too, but the Nörvenicher is still satisfied with fourth place: ”Yes, unfortunately, I got the wood medal, but I’ve never been so close to an international medal before!”

Sally Bigham also failed to polish up her balance with four silver medals. However, it was especially close, Sally was defeated by only 9 seconds after a thrilling final with all favorites. At the end she wasn’t really happy with her sixth place, but she didn’t have any reason for regrets: ”I gave it everything and there was nothing more I could do!”

The next chance for our team to catch some medals are the UCI Marathon World Championships at Sellaronda Hero in South Tirol on 27th of June.

 

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

 

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