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