Germany's national series, the MTB Bundesliga, kicked off with an Under 23-only round at Goseck. Swiss Fabian Giger (SKS-MiG) and Markus Bauer (Ger/Lexware Racing) dueled until the end when Giger took the final sprint, winning by just one second. Dutchman Henk Jaap Moorlag (De Brink-ten Tusscher) finished third.
On a fast, 5.5km course, Giger and Bauer were part of an initial six-man lead group. On lap five, they attacked and split it apart. The duo worked together and extended their lead up to 50 seconds ahead of a three-man chasing group.
Giger kept cool his cool in the finale. "Markus was very strong today, but I knew that I was a little bit stronger," he said. "So I decided to keep my own rhythm and put everything on the finish."
Bauer was happy to get the second place behind Giger, who finished fourth at last year's under 23 world championship. "[It was] absolutely crazy. It's the biggest success in my career," said the 19-year-old Bauer.
The next round of the International MTB Bundesliga will take place in Münsingen in two weeks on April 17-18. That's where the elite riders will kick off their Bundesliga. Saturday will feature a sprint race, and the cross country will happen on Sunday.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Bundesliga opener.