Alban Lakata and Dellys Starr won the L'Hexagonal VTT, the Tour de France VTT on Tuesday. Several Olympic contenders including Moritz Milatz, Jean Christophe Peraud, Christoph Sauser and Laurence Leboucher made appearances at the race to fine-tune their form in the final two weeks before the big day in Beijing.
Milatz, Peraud, Catriel Soto, Sauser, Leboucher and Starr all won stages, but in the end Lakata and Starr triumphed. Leboucher was leading the women's race, but a mechanical on the final stage five cost her 15 minutes and the lead.
Soto took the best young rider's classification.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the L'Hexagonal VTT.
Beer & Pugin successful in Châtel
At the iXS European Downhill Cup's third stop in Châtel, France, Nick Beer and Floriane Pugin rode to not entirely surprising victories.
For Saturday's seeding run, the conditions were almost perfect. The course that had been wet in the morning was drying quickly in most places, which promised times around three minutes. Once again German Andreas Sieber (Solid A-Class Factory Team) proved his class, being the sole rider to slip under the three minutes barrier. Nick Beer crashed and decided to roll to the finish. His brother Marcel (both from Switzerland and competing for the iXS Sports Division team) on the other hand placed second, closely followed by Swiss Samuel Zbinden (Argentina Bike). Being considered as a pre-race favorite by many, New Zealand's Nathan Rankin (Iron Horse) did not take many risks and finished in eighth.
On Sunday, the weather was splendid and sunny for the final. Due to his crash in the seeding run, Beer was one of the first elite men's riders on the course. Nevertheless he posted a blazingly fast time with 2:53.297, thus occupying the hot seat for a long time. It was not until Rankin missed the fastest time by two seconds that Beer's ride showed its true quality. All the riders that followed could not touch the fastest time either, and even Sieber who had posted the fastest seeding run had to admit defeat, finishing in third behind Rankin.
The women's race was won by Frenchwoman Pugin (Playbiker/Ironhorse), who put more than seven seconds on Switzerland's Miriam Ruchti (Sport Promotion), who still felt the effects of surgery on a wisdom tooth, and France's Caroline Sax (Sport Promotion).
After three of the five rounds, Marcel Beer leads the men's overall by a margin of twenty points over his brother Nick, who has only competed in two races thus far due to his participation at the World Cup races in Canada. In the women's standings, Miriam Ruchti kept her lead, followed by Sax and Harriet Rücknagel.
The next round is scheduled for August 23-24, 2008 in Ilmenau, Germany.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the iXS Downhill in Châtel, France.