This weekend brings the fourth of eight rounds of the Swisspower Cup 2007 to Hasliberg on May 12 and 13. The first three rounds were held in Schaan, Winterthur and Perrefitte.
An offering of UCI points is expected to draw top racers, many of whom are competing for spots on their nations' Olympic squads. In fact, all the current world champions in the elite, Under 23, and junior categories will be there. The favorites are Frenchman Julien Absalon (Orbea) and Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida).
An interesting battle is shaping up in the women's race between Gunn Rita Dahle Flesja and recent Houffalize World Cup winner and Under 23 World champion Ren Chengyuan of China. Her teammate Jingjing Wang, who finished second in the Under 23 world championship race last year, will also be on hand. The Chinese women are aiming for gold medals on home turf in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Elisabeth Osl (Toni's Pro Team Kirchberg), Ying Liu (China National team), and Eva Lechner (Eppan Colnago) are some of the other favorites.
On the men's side, Absalon will be challenged by Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale-Vredestein), Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein), Shaun Lewis (South Australia.com), Jakob Fuglsang (Cannondale-Vredestein), Kashi Leuchs (Cannondale-Vredestein), Jean Christophe Peraud (Orbea), and Nino Schurter (Swisspower).
Exclusive to the Hasliberg round is a team relay on Saturday evening. A racer from each category (elite, Under 23, and junior men) plus an elite or junior woman will form each team. Team members can race in any order.