Kalentieva returns to competition
The final round of the 2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup will happen this weekend in Amathous. Fabian Giger and Emil Lindgren are vying for the men's overall title in Amathous, while Annika Langvad is a strong bet to lock up the women's title.
The men's field will not be as strong in the final round as some of the top riders have departed the island to finish preparing for the UCI World Cup opener in two weeks. Among them are Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Factory Racing), who won the first two rounds, Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon).
The favorite riders who are left for Sunday's contest are Maxime Marotte (BH-Suntour-Peisey-Vallandry) and Rabobank-Giant guys Giger and Lindgren. Giger currently has a small advantage over Lindgren in the overall.
U23 world champion Thomas Litscher (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic), if recovered from his bad crash on Sunday, should also be a podium candidate on the 5.5-kilometer lap, which is situated directly on the coast on the outskirts of Limassol.
Among the women, the same top contenders of the two previous weeks will be joined by two-time world champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon) from Russia, who returns to racing after two weeks of training.
"I will be better at Amathous," said Kalentieva after her appearance at the opener in Voroklini. She is expected to challenge marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Fujibikes Rockets).
Olympic gold medalist Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) suffered from a cold at Afxentia, and her condition is still in doubt heading into the weekend. Her teammate Tereza Hurikova may be one to watch. Just days ago, she showed herself so strong that nobody could follow. Her confidence should have risen after her two stage wins in Macheras Forest.
German Adelheid Morath (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic), former U23 world champion Tanja Zakelj (Salcano Factory Team) as well as her Slovenian Blaza Klemencic (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic) and 2010 European champion Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing) are others to watch.
Unfortunately for Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing), she will not be at the start. After another examination, the Swedish champion learned that she broke the navicular bone when she crashed at Voroklini. She will be in a cast for four more weeks and will compete neither on Sunday nor at the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.
Conditions are expected to be sunny and in the 20s (degrees Celsius).
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the final Cyprus Sunshine Cup.
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