Two Australians, Daniel McConnell and Rebecca Henderson, won the fifth leg of the BMC Racing Cup in Montsevelier. They both celebrated their first triumph in the most important Swiss cross country racing series. McConnell crossed the line ahead of Fabian Giger in second and European Champion Julien Absalon in third. In the women's race, Andrea Waldis was second ahead of German Nina Wrobel in third.
The racers fought out a tough race of attrition on the physically demanding course in Montsevelier. They had to cope with hefty climbs and - after some rainfall the day before - slippery descents as well as with sultry hot summer weather. And most of the top riders had tired legs from recent training camps ahead of the second half of the season.
This also accounts for the presence of the Australian racers because their current focus is on gearing up for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. Montsevelier winners McConnell and Henderson (both Trek Factory Team) have set up their training base in Graenichen. Whereas the members of the Swiss national team currently train together in the Engadine for some altitude training.
In the men’s competition, McConnell tackled the difficult conditions best, celebrating a commanding start to finish victory, and so did his compatriot and girlfriend Henderson. "I didn’t employ any tactics, I just went my own pace - and I was amazed, how well things were going. This was not what I had expected," said McConnell in an interview after his victory.
"The race course was fantastic but also very demanding," he said, "therefore I am even more happy about this victory against such high-profile competitors like Absalon and Giger."
Concerning the status of the Commonwealth Games which are held every four years and where the best athletes from the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations compete in various sports disciplines, McConnell said, "For us this event is just as important as the Olympic Games, it’s my main goal for this season."
Fabian Giger (Giant) was full of praise for McConnell. "I was able to keep up with his pace for three out of eight laps. McConnell was especially strong in the tricky descents, whereas in the climbs I was able to catch up to him again at first . But soon the gap began to grow. During the last two laps I just concentrated on keeping second place." Nevertheless Giger stated that he is pretty happy with the shape that he is in at the moment. He is looking forward to the sixth leg of the BMC Cup in Lenzerheide next week. That race will be the last check-up for his shape prior to the Swiss Championships which will be held in Lostorf one week later.
Although quite accustomed to winning streaks, Julien Absalon (BMC) was not unhappy about third place in Montsevelier. "After four weeks without competition and a one-week-break due to my knee-injury, things were going really well," said the European Champion, radiating self-confidence. However, he did not yet want to confirm whether he will - or will not - toe the line in Lenzerheide next Sunday. He said he will decide on that during next week.
"The sultry weather and the challenging course made for a pretty hard race," said Henderson right after her convincing start to finish victory.
In particular, she mentioned a steep ramp just a few hundred meters after the start. "That really takes it out of you." For her - just as well as for McConnell - the Commonwealth Games are the sporting highlight of the year.
Andrea Waldis (Colnago-Südtirol) crossed the finish line in second position and was best U23 rider. "Rebecca is on a level one step higher than I am. That's why I'm super happy with second place," said Waldis. Due to her final apprenticeship examination this year, she was not in a position to gain as many good results as she did last year. "That's why I’m particularly happy about second place in this race."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Daniel McConnell (Aus)||1:32:44|
|2||Fabian Giger (Swi)||0:01:08|
|3||Julien Absalon (Fra)||0:02:01|
|4||Martin Fanger (Swi)||0:05:57|
|5||Martin Gujan (Swi)||0:07:51|
|6||Cameron Ivory (Aus)||0:08:16|
|7||Andreas Moser (Swi)||0:08:22|
|8||Reto Indergand (Swi)||0:08:31|
|9||Emilien Barben (Swi)||0:08:35|
|10||Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita)||0:10:16|
|11||Lukas Winterberg (Swi)||0:11:01|
|12||Daniel Eymann (Swi)||0:11:27|
|13||Jonas Baumann (Swi)||0:11:34|
|14||Bryan Allemann (Swi)||0:12:03|
|15||Enea Vetsch (Swi)||0:13:44|
|16||Lucien Besancon (Swi)||0:14:06|
|17||Romain Bannwart (Swi)||0:14:20|
|18||Marios Athanasiadis (Cyp)||0:15:37|
|19||Michael Stünzi (Swi)||0:16:08|
|20||Patrick Lüthi (Swi)||0:16:36|
|21||Claude Koster (Swi)||0:18:03|
|22||Roger Jenny (Swi)||0:18:56|
|23||Severin Saegesser (Swi)||0:19:39|
|24||Andrew Blair (Aus)||0:21:00|
|25||Sandro Soncin (Swi)|
|26||Matthias Allenspach (Swi)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Rebecca Henderson (Aus)||1:37:34|
|2||Andrea Waldis (Swi)||0:01:18|
|3||Nina Wrobel (Ger)||0:03:01|
|4||Ramona Forchini (Swi)||0:03:24|
|5||Hielke Elferink (Ned)||0:06:42|
|6||Eliane Mueggler (Swi)||0:13:00|
|7||Marine Groccia (Swi)||0:14:36|
|8||Janina Wüst (Swi)||0:16:55|
|9||Franziska Brun (Swi)||0:18:01|
|10||Chantal Eheim (Swi)||0:18:37|
|11||Romaine Wenger (Swi)||0:21:28|
|12||Franziska Ebinger (Swi)||0:21:32|
|13||Alessia Nay (Swi)||0:26:10|
|14||Jennifer Kupferschmied (Swi)|
|15||Mallory Barth (Swi)|