Olympic Champion and current marathon World Champion Sabine Spitz will not race at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup opener this weekend in Dalby Forest, United Kingdom. Instead, her Central Pro team will look toward defending World Cup overall champion Lisi Osl and Anja Gradl for podium-worthy performances.
The German Spitz is still coming back following surgery for a groin injury this winter. Her team estimates she is about two months behind in her training for the year, although she is expected to race her first World Cup (round three) at Offenburg on May 22, on home soil. She will also defend her marathon world title at St. Wendel, Germany, in August.
In the past two years, Osl has matured into a World Cup winner, and Gradl can place in the top 10 on a good day. The two riders will work to earn points toward the team's World Cup ranking in Spitz's absence. In 2009, the Central Pro team topped the women's World Cup team rankings.
At next weekend's World Cup round in Houffalize, Osl and Gradl will be joined by the young Mona Eiberweiser, a teammate who is sitting out the Dalby competition due to schoolwork.