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Roel Paulissen (Belgium)
Beligan world champ wins marathon and cross country
Last year, Roel Paulissen became the first man to win both the Roc d'Azur's Roc Marathon 83 and the cross country in the event's then 25-year history. This year, he did it again, continuing his reign as the king of the Roc d'Azur in France.
On Friday, reigning World Champion Paulissen did what he does best - race to a win in long races. At the end of the 83km marathon, he came out ahead of the other top three contenders such as Alban Lakata in second and Jochen Kass in third.
Two days later, on Sunday, he faced a talented field with many World Cup contenders on hand for a 53km cross country race. He took the win ahead of Leonardo Paez and Ruben Ruzafa as well as Lakata in fourth and Kass in fifth.
Christoph Sauser was a favorite on the start list and was riding among the leaders when a flat tire cost him a chance for the podium.
"Traditionally in one of the two races, I puncture here at the Roc d'Azur, and unfortunately this tradition continued...," he wrote on his website, www.sauserwind.com. Sauser flatted while in the lead group with just one flat section remaining to the finish. "I tried to refill it with a CO2 cannister, but after a few minutes, the air was gone again."
"Sauser was strong today," said Paulissen. "He was dangerous throughout the race."
"At the end of this week, I'll give a party, and I'll treat after a good season," said Paulissen who added that the Roc d'Azur is a perfect place for a mountain biker to spend a week after a long season.
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