Julien Absalon (Orbea) secured his second consecutive overall World Cup cross country win Sunday with a thrilling victory at St. Félicien, Quebec in Canada. The World Cup series isn't over yet, but it's mathematically impossible for the French defending World Cup leader and World Champion to lose.
Absalon has won all but one of the World Cups this year, and in that one, he still finished second. In St. Félicien, he took the lead, on a technical circuit without much climbing that favored his strengths. Spanish racer Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida Biking Team), the only other World Cup round winner so far this year, challenged, but finished second at 1'18".
Hermida was leading, but when Absalon attacked him, the Spaniard damaged his chain and after fixing the mechanical himself, he picked up the chase in fourth position and worked his way back to second. Afterward, Hermida said, keeping it all in perspective, "It's a good result, sometimes you've got bad luck and sometimes good luck. To me, it was important to show that I can deliver stable results, and today's result shows what level I currently am at."
"I feel enormously content with this great victory," said Absalon, happy with his team's support.
One more World Cup cross country race is on the calendar; it's set for September 15-16 in Maribor, Slovenia.
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