European Marathon Championship titles will be awarded at the Gonson Albstadt MTB Classic this weekend on June 14-15. Nearly 800 racers from 17 nations are already registered for the 95km race, top among them World Cup marathon leaders Frenchman Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi) and Finn Pia Sundstedt (Rocky Mountain). Both won the first round of the World Cup earlier this season in Manavgat, Turkey.
Also on the start list in Albstadt are Alban Lakata (Dolphin-Trek), German Karl Platt (Team Bulls) and Swiss racers Andreas Kugler, current marathon champion Silvio Bundi, Sandro Späth, Thomas Stoll, Roman Peter and Thomas Zahnd. Esther Süss, Arielle van Meurs and Dolores Rupp will join in the action in the women's race.
German Hannes Genze is ambitious to repeat his title win from 2005 and he'll benefit from the support of his ALB Gold team-mates Peter Riis Andersen and German national marathon champion Jochen Käss.
New for 2008 is the first-ever title of champion in the U23 category, for racers between 19 and 22 years of age. A likely favorite is Switzerland's Thomas Litscher. In 2007 in the junior category, he grabbed the cross country title at the World Championship as well as at the European Championship.
Racers are coming from as far away as New Zealand and Namibia, which is sending Olympic athelete Mannie Heymans and his country mate Marc Bassingthwaighte.
For more information on the event, visit www.albstadt-mtb-classic.de.