By Marcel Slagman
The Cannondale-Vredestein celebrated a successful weekend of racing which included two back-to-back wins in two different countries. On Saturday, Dane Jakob Fuglsang won the prestigious Grandpremio Montepaschi in Brescia, Italy. The current espoir world champion crossed the finish line for victory 20 seconds ahead of Italian rider Marco Fontana. Fuglsang's team-mate Kashi Leuchs finished ninth 2'22" behind.
The next day, Belgian racer Roel Paulissen won the fourth round of the Sunshine Cup in Vorklini, Cyprus. It was his third victory of the season; he already won two other races in Cyprus in recent weeks.
Leov & Macleod win New Zealand Open
Justin Leov and Sheryl Macleod won the New Zealand Open downhill race last weekend on a demanding track made up of sections of rocky lava flow and some open and fast corners in dry slippery conditions. The corners forced the riders to find their limits early in training. Wind definitely played a role catching some people off guard on the drop offs, with strength required to pedal through the wind to maintain the speed to the line.
Leov, a Yeti Fox Shox Factory Team, found his speed without issue, and had two excellent runs to get through the seeding and win the final by more than three seconds ahead of his nearest rival on a short sub two and a half minute course. Cameron Cole and Sam Blenkinsop finished second and third within four seconds of Leov, who now has his sights set on the Oceania Championships this weekend in Nelson, New Zealand.
"The turnout was good for the elite [men's] field and it was a bonus to have my team-mate Sam Blenkinsop onboard his freshly built up Yeti 303," said Leov. "From seeding to race run the conditions stayed the same and a lot of people looked to be struggling in the wind, especially on some of the rocky drops. It was a good day and I was happy to put two clean runs together to take the title."
Sheryl Macleod won the women's race with a time of 3.04.07. Harriott Harper and Amy Laird rounded out the top three.