Great racing weekend for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team: Alban Lakata scores his second European Champion title, Sally Bigham wins silver medal and Nadine Rieder wins bronze at the Eliminator Sprint at the Rothaus Hegau Bike-Marathon in Singen, Germany. Robert Mennen finishes with a great 12th after a long injury break.
After his last week victory at the Bike Marathon in Riva del Garda, Alban Lakata was in good spirit to win a medal at the European Championships in Singen, Germany. That his good spirit turned into a gold medal was not what he expected. “I wanted to win a medal, but that I could win my second European title was not what I expected, especially because of that wavy track we had”, said the new European Champion.
Untypical marathon track
The zick-zack profile was a very untypical shape for a marathon race. Long-distance expert Alban Lakata was not very confident on the track: “We rode full throttle on the short uphill sections and that hit really hard on me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish the race with that speed but in the end the other riders felt the same and I was able to take advantage of my long breath.”
On the other hand, the luck was on Albans side this past weekend. Around 100 meter before the finish line his opponent and leader of the race Christoph Sauser had technical difficulties with his chain. “I was focusing on the last hard sprint when Christoph had problems with his chain”, said the 33-year old Austrian.
His latest big title victory on German ground after the European Champion 2008 and World Champion 2010 was no surprise for the Albanator: “The time was right and it really motivates me when the fans are on sight. Mountain biking is very popular in Germany and has a high status.” Alban finished the 96km and 2100 ascents with 3:37:48 overall time. Besides the short rain showers the weather was fine.
Third time silver medal for Sally
The Topeak-Ergon lady Sally Bigham also made a strong impression. Sally won the silver medal. The 35-year old rider from the UK was suffering from a cold since two weeks but she was able to dominate the race from the beginning on. She started a leading group with the other two favorites in the filed Esther Suess and Sabine Spitz. 28km later the leading trip was already two minutes ahead from the rest of the riders. Spitz had to let go Esther Suess and Sally and from that moment on the European Championship was a duel between the two remaining riders. Sally finished the 75km long race with 3:24:06 overall time just one short minute behind Esther Suess and a strong 6:40min gap to Sabine Spitz. “After 2 weeks of illness I’m happy to take the silver medal today in the European Marathon Championships in Singen, Germany. That’s 3 silver medals in 3 consecutive years, perhaps I can take gold next year”, said Sally happy after the race.
Sprint bronze medal for Nadine
Nadine Rieder also ended up on the podium. Nadine won the bronze medal in the German Eliminator-Sprint Nationals. The 23-year old German rider from Sonthofen was not happy about her bronze medal at first: “To be honest, I wanted to finish with a better position”, said Nadine after the race. Shortly after this statement she already focused on the next race: “I am looking forward to my very first sprint World Cup next Friday.”
Mennen happy with his performance
Robert Mennen completed the perfect circle for Topeak-Ergon this past weekend. The German rider was back on the track after his injury. Mennen broke is collarbone during the Cape Epic earlier this year. Robert ended up on 12th position — a great comeback. ”I am very happy with my 12th place and I am also super happy for my team colleague Alban Lakata and his European champion title”, stated a relaxed Robert Mennen after this great weekend.
This article was originally posted on Topeak Ergon Racing Team website.