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Scheire and Dahle Flesjaa win Bundesliga MTB round in Saalhausen

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Everyone surprised by Scheire

Ruben Scheire from Belgium suprisingly won the opening round of the International MTB Bundesliga in Saalhausen, Germany on Sunday ahead of Simon Stiebjahn and Manuel Fumic. In the women's race, Gunn Rita Dahle- Flesjaa came out the fastest on the muddy course. Sabine Spitz finished second, while her teammate Adelheid Morath was third.

The German eliminator national titles on Saturday went to Spitz and Stiebjahn.

Men's cross country

Ruben Scheire from the Feenstra - Felt team didn't expect to win on German territory. The Belgian, who is competing in his first year as an elite rider, was surprisingly strong especially on the steep climbs. He also benefited from the mechanical problems of Manuel Fumic.

After the first lap, Fumic had settled in the front together with Germany's eliminator champion Simon Stiebjahn (Team Bulls) and was 23 seconds ahead of Scheire, when they entered the second of five laps.

Scheire was able to close the gap to the two leaders. Then Stiebjahn fell back and Fumic had a mechanical problem. Scheire took advantage of the situation and powered forward, while the two German riders tried to catch him.

But Scheire safely managed to ride to victory. "When I saw that I had 20-second advantage, I just continued riding in my own pace. I felt great, but I never expected that I could beat Manuel. He is one of my idols. It's unbelievable," said Scheire.

Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing ) was a bit annoyed at the finish. "First I got some of the barrier tape in my rear wheel. Afterward, I had chain suck and also a crash. Somehow, it was a race full of inconsistencies," said Fumic who came in third 1:25 behind Scheire .

"But, overall, I felt good and I'm confident I'll do well in the upcoming World Cup and European Championships in St. Wendel. I'm delighted that young people like Simon Stiebjahn can ride a strong race and I'm glad when the boys go fast," he said.

Stiebjahn's result was his best ever in the elite class. "I simply stayed calm and continued riding. I had nothing to lose. In the end, I knew I had to go fast in the downhill section and make it to the sprint to beat Mani," said Stiebjahn. He indeed surprised Fumic 200 meters before the finish line and was able to secure second place.

After a strong comeback, Dutchman Hans Becking came in fourth, while Robby de Bock, another Belgian rider finished fifth, eight seconds ahead of Markus Bauer (Lexware mountain bike team).

Women's cross country

Gunn Rita Dahle-Flesjaa, one of the top favorites in the women's race, won the top podium spot. However, the race took a somewhat unusual course.

The Norwegian Multivan Merida rider rode away together with Swede Alexandra Engen in the first of four laps. The duo was 25 seconds ahead of the chasers in the second lap, but eliminator world champion Engen fell back on the long climb and was passed by Sabine Spitz and Adelheid Morath. Morath was strong in the uphill, but lost of time on the muddy sections of the course.

Dahle Flesjaa managed to extend her lead up to 45 seconds halfway into the race. But she made a couple of "stupid mistakes" and Spitz caught her. In the beginning of the fourth lap, Spitz passed her old rival. But Dahle Flesjaa kept her wheel.

Then the ultimate decision was made. Just before the downhill, Spitz had problems with the saddle and had to walk the last downhill section on foot. Therefore, Dahle Flesjaa managed to pull away from her, while Spitz stopped at the tech zone.

"It was very bad, but it can happen in our sport. I had problems at the beginning of the grassy climb and I would have preferred to have a lower gear. But today it was important to go by eye and catch the right line so you don't have problems," said Spitz.

Gunn Rita Dahle-Flesjaa didn't expect, that Spitz would stop, because it was not too far to the finish line.

"I had nothing left," the 41-year-old confessed.

"I'm still not at my best," she said. "I trained a lot and hard and now I need a weekend rest so I can get back in my top form for the World Cup in Nove Mesto." She won by 31 seconds.

Adelheid Morath could not keep up with the two rivals in the technical sections, but was satisfied with her result. "Sabine and Gunn-Rita are on a high level. I made to many mistakes during the race and the course was pretty difficult, but the course suits me, especially the super steep climbs," said Morath.

The Belgian champion Githa Michiels (Trek-KMC) apparently loves muddy races, but not steep climbs. She finished fourth, 2:34 behind. "I am very happy because the course doesn't suit my profile. But if you have good form, it will all eventually work well," she said.

Engen came in 6:24 behind in fifth place.

Under 23 men's cross country

Belgian champion Bart de Vocht won the U23 men's race with 1:38 advantage ahead of his compatriot Didier Bats and 2:24 advantage ahead of Kevin Panhuyzen.

One kilometer from the finish, Bats fell back a bit and de Vocht powered forward unchallenged. "I like muddy races. Today it was very difficult and I tried to ride constantly. I managed to ride strongly on the climbs and I'm delighted with my first victory in the KMC Bundesliga," said de Vocht.

Even though he fell back to fifth, Bats worked his way up and finished in second place.

German eliminator nationals

Held on the eve of the cross country races, Saalhausen also hosted the German eliminator national championships.

Under wet conditions, the heats lasted more than three minutes. That was an obviously an advantage for Sabine Spitz, who rode an eliminator championship for the first time.

Spitz was able to grab her 16th ever national title in front of U23 rider Lena Putz (Muskelkater-Genesis) and Nadine Rieder (AMG-Rotwild). Fourth place went to junior rider Kim Riesterer (Lexware Junior Team).

"It's great to have the eliminator grandma on the top," Spitz joked. "I never thought that I could make it against all the young guns. But, of course, it was an advantage for me to have such a long eliminator sprint."

In the men's competition, the two-time champion Simon Gegenheimer (Rose-Vaujany) was not able to defend his title. The conditions were not up to him.

In an exciting final heat where the cards changed different times, it was Simon Stiebjahn (Team Bulls), who managed to pass the long time leading Heiko Gutmann (Lexware) 200 meters before the finish.

Gutmanns team mate Markus Bauer also passed him, but could not hold Stiebjahn.

"One time I was sitting in fourth position, but I tried to stay calm. I am really happy with my first national title ever," Stiebjahn said.


Elite men cross country
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ruben Scheire (Bel) 1:25:25  
2 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) 0:01:14  
3 Manuel Fumic (Ger) 0:01:25  
4 Hans Becking (Ned) 0:01:57  
5 Robby De Bock (Bel) 0:02:15  
6 Markus Bauer (Ger) 0:02:23  
7 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) 0:02:48  
8 Jeff Luyten (Bel) 0:03:01  
9 Martin Gluth (Ger) 0:04:16  
10 Matthias Wengelin (Swe) 0:04:52  
11 Julian Schelb (Ger) 0:05:55  
12 Gerrit Rosenkranz (Ger) 0:07:06  
13 Heiko Gutmann (Ger) 0:08:03  
14 Jorgen Flion (Bel) 0:09:12  
15 Christian Helmig (Lux)    
16 Erik Groen (Ned) 0:13:04  
17 Tommy Galle (Ger) 0:14:23  
18 Michael Stieglbauer (Ger) 0:14:34  
19 Pascal Ketterer (Ger) 0:15:19  
20 Andi Weinhold (Ger) 0:16:51  
21 Severin Schweisguth (Ger) 0:19:01  
22 Samuel Rosenkranz (Ger) 0:19:33  
23 Toni Rudolph (Ger) 0:20:59  
24 Steffen Greger (Ger) 0:22:04  
25 Christian Bernshausen (Ger) 0:24:17  
26 Levente Peták (Hun)    
27 Bram Rood (Ned)    
28 Lionel Vujasin (Bel)    
29 Lukas Holtkamp (Ger)    
30 Maximilian Hoffmann (Ger)    
31 Marcel Wolfstädter (Ger)    
32 Michael Nicklas (Ger)    
33 Jeffrey Andris (Ger)    
Elite women cross country
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) 1:19:46  
2 Sabine Spitz (Ger) 0:00:31  
3 Adelheid Morath (Ger) 0:01:19  
4 Githa Michiels (Bel) 0:02:34  
5 Alexandra Engen (Swe) 0:06:24  
6 Lisa Mitterbauer (Aut) 0:07:50  
7 Alice Pirard (Bel) 0:08:27  
8 Nina Wrobel (Ger) 0:08:58  
9 Hanna Klein (Ger) 0:12:08  
10 Annemarie Worst (Ned) 0:13:41  
11 Nadine Rieder (Ger) 0:15:26  
12 Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) 0:16:39  
13 Britt Van Den Boogert (Ned) 0:16:51  
14 Majlen Müller (Ger) 0:17:53  
15 Jessica Benz (Ger) 0:20:20  
16 Vanessa Kleih (Ger) 0:22:08  
17 Antonia Rödel (Ger) 0:24:16  
18 Theresa Wolfrum (Ger)    
19 Veronika Brüchle (Ger)    
20 Petra Schumacher (Ger)    
21 Amelie Etzel (Ger)    
U23 men cross country
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Bart De Vocht (Bel) 1:27:17  
2 Didier Bats (Bel) 0:01:39  
3 Kevin Panhuyzen (Bel) 0:02:25  
4 Ben Zwiehoff (Ger) 0:02:56  
5 Louis Wolf (Ger) 0:04:30  
6 Christopher Platt (Ger) 0:05:29  
7 Martin Frey (Ger) 0:05:38  
8 Georg Egger (Ger) 0:06:23  
9 Aaron Beck (Ger) 0:06:43  
10 Philipp Bertsch (Ger) 0:06:53  
11 James Reid (RSA) 0:06:54  
12 Maximilian Maier (Ger) 0:07:25  
13 Kjell Van Den Boogert (Ned) 0:08:14  
14 Sam Weber (Ger) 0:08:48  
15 Pieter Geluykens (Bel) 0:09:08  
16 Robbert De Nijs (Ned) 0:09:18  
17 Marcel Lehrian (Ger) 0:09:28  
18 Christian Pfäffle (Ger) 0:10:09  
19 Kyle Ward (Aus) 0:10:45  
20 Sven Strähle (Ger) 0:11:39  
21 Heiko Hog (Ger) 0:12:13  
22 Simon Schilli (Ger) 0:12:34  
23 Dennis Wahlqvist (Swe) 0:12:45  
24 Florian Kortüm (Ger) 0:12:55  
25 Guy Niv (Isr) 0:13:24  
26 Jochen De Vocht (Bel) 0:13:43  
27 Jakob Hartmann (Ger) 0:14:29  
28 Jannik Lambert (Ger) 0:14:49  
29 Scott Bowden (Aus) 0:16:50  
30 Axel Lindh (Swe) 0:16:58  
31 Tim Streckenbach (Ger) 0:17:00  
32 Arndt Puls (Ger) 0:17:39  
33 Roy Beukers (Ned) 0:18:06  
34 Jonas Müller (Ger) 0:18:35  
35 Tobias Rotermund (Ger) 0:19:14  
36 Constantin Kolb (Ger) 0:20:35  
37 Nils Dillmann (Ger) 0:21:04  
38 Markus Siebert (Ger) 0:21:30  
39 Raven Hilderts (Ger) 0:22:55  
40 Yves Ketterer (Ger) 0:25:10  
41 Clemens Zech (Ger)    
42 Michael Crosbie (Aus)    
43 Koen Van De Ven (Ned)    
44 Christian Schöllhorn (Ger)    
45 Luis Haußmann (Ger)    
46 Patrick Pfeifer (Ger)    
47 Florian Happ (Ger)    
48 Alessandro Sepp (Ger)    
49 Nick Wichmann (Ger)    
Elite men eliminator
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)    
2 Markus Bauer (Ger)    
3 Heiko Gutmann (Ger)    
4 Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)    
5 Andy Eyring (Ger)    
6 Louis Wolf (Ger)    
7 Marco Schätzing (Ger)    
8 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger)    
9 Martin Gluth (Ger)    
10 Christopher Platt (Ger)    
Elite women eliminator
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Sabine Spitz (Ger)    
2 Lena Putz (Ger)    
3 Nadine Rieder (Ger)    
4 Kim Riesterer (Ger)    
5 Lena Wehrle (Ger)    
6 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)    
7 Majlen Müller (Ger)    
8 Veronika Brüchle (Ger)    
9 Nina Wrobel (Ger)    
10 Hanna Klein (Ger)