Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) continued ramping up her form this season with a second place finish in the elite women's cross country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium on Sunday. Last year's World Cup winner had finished fifth at the opening round in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa last month.
"I wanted to be first, but given the difficulty of the course you could not hide," said Bresset on her website. "It had been a week since I felt good on my bike, and there were workouts I could not do. I wasn't having fun. I didn't necessarily target a particular placing; I just wanted to have a good race."
In 2011, Bresset won the U23 world championships and the elite World Cup. This season, she is a first-year elite racer.
Bresset and the other women raced in front of huge crowds on a new course at a classic venue in Houffalize. The course was packed onto one hillside and included very steep climbs and descents and an extremely twisty route.
Early in the race, the French woman positioned herself in the top five and by the end of the start loop, she and eventual winner and reigning world champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) were together. The two would battle throughout the race.
"I gradually moved into the lead at the end of the start loop. I felt good and I wanted to widen the gap at the start of the first round."
On the third lap, Pendrel accelerated, and Bresset could not follow.
"I paid for my efforts at the start. The race was very tough, and I did not give up. I am very happy to cross the finish line in second. Second place was a relief," she said.
Bresset will race the next round of the World Cup, round 3, in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic on May 13.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Houffalize World Cup round.