In Oisans, France, Multivan-Merida teammates Ralph Näf and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa won their respective Marathon World Championships.
While Dahle outclassed her competitors, winning by a margin of more than eight minutes, Näf rode a tactically perfect race, distancing second-placed Colombian Leonardo Paez by about a minute. At the finish, Näf could not believe his victory, having tears in his eyes as he was interviewed by TV stations. He had controlled the mens race from the start, riding with Thomas Frischknecht and Christoph Sauser in the very beginning. Frischknecht had to let the leaders go early on, and Sauser even dropped out of the race due to a mechanical. So it was Colombias marathon specialist Leonardo Paez who joined Näf in leading the race but he could not match the Swiss riders speed on the descents. "Everything went perfectly for me: The course, the weather and the tactics all simply fitted in", Näf said at the finish.
Dahle-Flesjaa dominated her race in her trademark fashion: After just thirty minutes of racing, she had already built up a solid three-minutes lead, which she continued to expand to eight minutes. "I was everything but sure about my pace during the race. Due to the relentless cold I never knew exactly how far I could push myself", the Norwegian said. The victory in Oisans is Dahle-Flesjaa's sixth world championship title in total and her third marathon gold medal.
Both riders will be competing at next week's MTB World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand.
For full results from Oisains Marathon World Championships, click here..