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Marianne Vos (Rabobank) was following every move in the XC race, followed closely by Trek's Annie Last.
Road and 'cross world champ to race at World Cup season opener
Marianne Vos will race the first round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany on May 17-19. She had intended to take part in the Val di Sole, Italy round of the MTB World Cup, but she changed her plans.
"First I wanted to go to Val di Sole, but that's right in front of the national road championships. Therefore, I decided to go to Albstadt. It's nice to race the first World Cup of the season, because everything is still open," said Vos.
Vos, who is the current Olympic and road world champion as well as the current 'cross world champion, hadn't raced her mountain bike since she was a junior until earlier this season. She went to Cyprus for the Sunshine Cup where she spent extra time working on her technical skills with former downhill pro Oscar Saiz. She won the race, admitting afterward that her success had surpassed all of her expectations.
When competing on the road, Vos races for Rabobank Liv/Giant and when off-road, she races for the Giant Pro XC team.
Vos had predicted that this year would be a "learning year" on her mountain bike, but that doesn't seem to be stopping her from winning as she spends this year training on a mountain bike with an eye toward the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Mountain biking is the next cycling discipline where she wants to win Olympic gold.
"I have never lost sight of mountain biking. As a junior, I have always liked it," she said in an interview. "It's great, no question, this sport is fun."
Speaking of her intentions at the Albstadt World Cup, she said, "For me, this race is not about the result, but much more about gaining experience. I have to start somewhere in the middle of the field, and I hope that I can ride a smooth race from start to finish."
In fact, she'll likely start somewhere in the back rows because she is currently ranked 108th in the world. Yet with her cyclo-cross skills, she's likely to move up quickly and it probably won't be long before she is seen in her usual spot, at or near the front.