By Bjorn Haake in Koksijde
Hanka Kupfernagel rode Focus bikes for the last few seasons. Her partner and manager Mike Kluge had a long relationship with the Focus company, but this year, it was time for Kupfernagel to switch, and she achieved on Sunday a second place at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde on a Stevens Bikes.
"On October 1, we officially switched over to Stevens," Kluge said. The timing was picked due to this year's schedule. "We decided to do the Olympics still on Focus and then switch."
Kupfernagel and Kluge had no problem agreeing on which bike to use Saturday, but what they couldn't agree on was what tyres to use for the day's race. Kupfernagel went with knobbier tyres versus the slicker ones that winner Katie Compton put on.
Kluge thought this played a part in the outcome of the race. "I think with the other tyre she could have won," he said.
Kupfernagel herself blamed a tactical error for what cost her the win. "After the last corner I was in front. That was a mistake." But she was happy with second and acknowledged the strength of her competitors.