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Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC Team).
Jolanda Neff and Ralph Näf are the winners of the final round of the BMC Racing Cup in Muttenz near Basel. In front of the magnificent backdrop of a record audience, Swiss champion Neff scored the overall victory in the series for the first time. Naef's pace-making initiative supported his German BMC teammate Moritz Milatz in winning the overall classification ahead of Mathias Flueckiger.
Prior to the final round of the BMC Racing Cup there was no doubt about the set-up of the men's race. Since Fabian Giger and Julien Absalon had refrained from taking part, the duel was between Moritz Milatz and Mathias Flueckiger (Stoeckli Pro). Within the top-10 rankings, the athlete with the better result was bound to gain overall victory.
After the first lap, an interesting constellation had developed. The lead group consisted of three members of team BMC plus two Stoeckli bikers. However, Naef applied enormous pressure, thus causing trouble for Mathias Flueckiger.
"I have still felt a little bit tired due to our trip to North America. Actually, I'm supposed to be in really good shape. But I lost touch on the climb - of all places. That was supposed to be my strong point," said Mathias Flueckiger.
He almost managed to close the gap again at the end of the first lap, but Naef kept the pressure high. "My plan was to go really fast in the first three laps in order to stretch out the field. It was important that Moritz was up front, too," said Naef.
After the first half of the 55.8-kilometre race Milatz and Lukas Flueckiger also joined Naef's speed initiative and they enlarged their lead, whereas tired Mathias Flueckiger tried to benefit from team mate Matthias Stirnemann.
In the last lap, the BMC trio at the top of the race split up again, and Naef finally secured his well-deserved victory (1:35:37) sprinting against Lukas Flueckiger. "It feels good to win a race again. I like this kind of course. It's superb that we have followed this through as a team", said Naef of the successful repetition of his victory in Muttenz last year.
Lukas Flueckiger admitted that he had not been feeling well right after the start of the race. He had suffered from stomach problems since Friday. "But after the first lap my engine was humming. We all have done our leading duties but Ralph has deserved to win this race," said Lukas Flueckiger.
Milatz, who had crossed the line twelth seconds behind Naef, first went to see and to thank his hardworking teammate. "It was the optimal case that we have opened up a small gap to Mathias. Ralph has done most of the work, but my legs were also pretty good today. As a team, we have gotten the most out of this race today," said the multiple-time German champion from Freiburg.
Again, Jolanda Neff was in a league of her own. The young lady from Thal claimed her fifth BMC Racing Cup victory of the current season. This triumph is also her 55th victory in the series since the beginning of her career as well as her first overall victory in the elite category.
Neff, who also wrapped up the overall World Cup victory just one week ago, fought a duel with Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa in the first lap of the seven-lap race. Entering the technical part after the climb, Neff noticed that the Norwegian rider's tires were slipping repeatedly. "Therefore I overtook her and had a small lead at the end of the passage," said Neff.
Finishing the first lap, she was seven seconds ahead of Dahle-Flesjaa. After that the Norwegian record World Cup winner even fell back to her closest chasers, Katrin Leumann (Riehen) and Linda Indergand (Silenen). Whereas Yolanda Neff surmised that Dahle must have had some kind of incidence, the Norwegian denied:
"No, nothing had happened. I knew that I would not be capable of keeping the pace after so many weeks without competition," said Dahle-Flesjaa. She stayed with her two Swiss competitirs for the rest of the race, whereas Neff was alone in first position and extended her lead. After 1:36:55, Neff won the 43-kilometer race with a commanding lead of exactly five minutes, although the 21-year-old had suffered a mechanical in the penultimate lap. "I have tried to keep things really exciting near the end of the race," she joked.
Linda Indergand also had a broad smile on her face when she crossed the line in second. The U23 rider had no problems beating local hero Katrin Leumann and Dahle-Flesjaa in the final sprint to the finish, gaining her best BMC Racing Cup result so far. "I was struggling on the climb in every lap, but I spurred myself on to stay with them and to keep on fighting", said Indergand.
This way she managed to keep pace with her competitors and could finally relegate Leumann to third place. However, Leuman was also quite happy about her result: "During the last few weeks I had a real lack of self-confidence. Therefore I am very glad that things went so well today. I am really okay with third place in front of my home crowd," said Leumann.
Neff is the winner of the overall classification, ahead of Kathrin Stirnemann (5th in Muttenz) and Andrea Waldis.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ralph Naef (Swi)||1:35:37|
|2||Lukas Flückiger (Swi)|
|3||Moritz Milatz (Ger)||0:00:12|
|4||Matthias Stirnemann (Swi)||0:02:25|
|5||Mathias Flückiger (Swi)||0:02:27|
|6||Martin Fanger (Swi)||0:03:11|
|7||Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)||0:03:12|
|8||Reto Indergand (Swi)||0:03:13|
|9||Stephen Ettinger (USA)||0:04:22|
|10||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)||0:04:44|
|11||Fabian Paumann (Swi)||0:05:06|
|12||Marc Stutzmann (Swi)||0:05:12|
|13||Florian Chenaux (Swi)||0:05:25|
|14||Daniel Eymann (Swi)||0:05:44|
|15||Lukas Winterberg (Swi)||0:06:15|
|16||Philipp Hediger (Swi)||0:06:30|
|17||Anton Sintsov (Rus)||0:07:25|
|18||Giancarlo Sax (Swi)||0:07:37|
|19||Lars Forster (Swi)||0:07:45|
|20||Michael Stünzi (Swi)|
|21||Marcel Guerrini (Swi)||0:07:59|
|22||Severin Saegesser (Swi)||0:08:08|
|23||Cameron Ivory (Aus)||0:08:14|
|24||Romain Bannwart (Swi)|
|25||Chris Hamilton (Aus)||0:08:15|
|26||Andreas Moser (Swi)||0:08:37|
|27||Jonas Baumann (Swi)||0:09:26|
|28||Nicolas Sessler (Bra)||0:09:35|
|29||Nicolas Lüthi (Swi)||0:10:18|
|30||Matthias Allenspach (Swi)||0:10:46|
|31||Claude Koster (Swi)||0:11:05|
|32||Patrick Lüthi (Swi)||0:11:27|
|33||Silvio Busser (Swi)|
|34||Enea Vetsch (Swi)|
|35||Gert Heyns (RSA)||0:11:51|
|36||Nick Albrecht (Swi)||0:14:22|
|37||Roger Jenny (Swi)|
|38||Sandro Soncin (Swi)|
|39||Bryan Allemann (Swi)|
|40||Sylvain Engelmann (Swi)|
|41||Bruno Vitali (Swi)|
|42||Christian Tennert (Ger)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jolanda Neff (Swi)||1:36:55|
|2||Linda Indergand (Swi)||0:05:01|
|3||Katrin Leumann (Swi)||0:05:03|
|4||Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor)||0:05:04|
|5||Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)||0:07:04|
|6||Corina Gantenbein (Swi)||0:07:42|
|7||Nathalie Schneitter (Swi)||0:08:37|
|8||Michelle Hediger (Swi)||0:09:46|
|9||Maaris Meier (Est)|
|10||Nina Wrobel (Ger)|
|11||Andrea Waldis (Swi)||0:09:52|
|12||Alexandra Gabriela Serrano Rodriguez (Ecu)||0:12:05|
|13||Peta Mullens (Aus)|
|14||Marine Groccia (Swi)|
|15||Franziska Ebinger (Swi)|
|16||Eliane Mueggler (Swi)|
|17||Jennifer Kupferschmied (Swi)|
|18||Romaine Wenger (Swi)|
|19||Chantal Eheim (Swi)|
|20||Chrystelle Baumann (Swi)|
|21||Mallory Barth (Swi)|
|22||Janina Wüst (Swi)|
|23||Ramona Forchini (Swi)|
|24||Katja Montani (Swi)|
|25||Amelie Etzel (Ger)|