Frenchman Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss-Bianchi) and Finn Pia Sundstedt won the opening round of the UCI World Cup Marathon in Manavgat, Turkey on Sunday.
Last year's top-ranked marathoner Dietsch, who finished in a time of three hours, 38 minutes and 54 seconds, faced a challenge from former Olympic Champion Miguel Martinez, who was back from retirement, which he had begun in 2006. No doubt a flat tire slowed the former champion, who eventually finished 33rd after his bad luck. Martinez was at one point in the lead and had dropped Dietsch, who passed Martinez when he got his flat on a downhill and went on to win solo.
"I'm very happy, relieved. I'm going to take a holiday now. I'm the new World Cup leader," said Dietsch according to the UCI's website.
Austrian Alban Lakata (Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team) finished second, just 21 seconds off the lead, with German Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, both of Team Bulls, in third and fourth at 2'19" and 2'20" respectively.
Finn Pia Sundstedt won the women's race after a tight battle with Italy's Annabella Stropparo, who was fresh off last weekend's Italian Cup win in Brescia. Sundstedt took her win in three hours, 28 minutes and 16 seconds, by just five seconds over Stropparo. Swiss Esther Süss finished in third at 7'23".
The next and final round of the marathon World Cup is scheduled for October 4-5 in Ornans, France.