Jaroslav Kulhavy repeated his 2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup opener victory on Saturday in Voroklini. The Olympic Champion won ahead of Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC). In the women's competition, Slowenian Blaza Klemencic (Calcit Bike) was successful against Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing) and Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol) .
Men: Kulhavy gets away on a downhill
In the second of five total laps, a five-man leading group was established, including Kulhavy, Giger, Fumic, Jan Skarnitzl (Sram Rubena Trek) and Emil Lindgren (Giant Pro XC). They set a fast pace around the 6km course.
Just before the end of the penultimate lap, on the last downhill, came the decisive move. Kulhavy descended at the front, flying downhill fast enough to create a five or six-second gap. He pushed on the pedals and quickly grew his gap to 20 seconds.
Rain started to fall, making the ground slippery. Nearly everyone was riding tyres for dry weather. German national champion Fumic decided not to try to follow Kulhavy, but concentrated instead on beating Giger for the second place.
Kulhavy won the race in 1:28:59, and the battle for second came down to a sprint finish with Fumic beating Giger and finishing 10 seconds after Kulhavy.
"It was a very important to test my shape for the Cape Epic," said Kulhavy. "I am very satisfied with it and looking forward to some more training on Cyprus. It was not my plan, but when I got some seconds on the downhill, I went full gas."
Fumic said, "Jaroslav got away suddenly and then it started raining. I decided to focus on second place and Fabian. I could outsprint him on the finishing straight. My shape is good, it's going in the right direction and this test was successful."
Giger said, "It was a nice race under difficult conditions. Jaroslav was a tick better than us, but for me, it was a good start of the season. It's always good to be on the podium."
Skarnitzl took fourth place, exactly one minute behind his Czech countrymate, while a surprising Nicola Rohrbach (Goldwurstpower/Stöckli) took the fifth and final spot on podium, 12 seconds back.
Lindgren suffered technical problems and fell back into eighth position.
Women: Close finish between Klemencic and Leumann
After the 3km start loop, during which a large group of women stayed together, five riders created a lead group. On a climb, Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing) took the lead because she wanted to be first into the upcoming singletrack.
Behind her, Blaza Klemencic (Calcit Bike) made a small mistake, blocking the rest of the leaders in the front group.
So Leumann suddenly was alone in the lead. Only Klemencic could make it back up to Leumann. The duo rode together for the following lap. In the penultimate lap, Klemencic rode away and Leumann couldn't follow, so she tried to secure her second place.
The Swiss rider was surprised when, in the last lap, she could see Klemencic again, and 200 meters before the finish line, she was more or less upon the back wheel of the Slovenian. But through the corners of the village of Voroklini, Leumann was not able to pass Klemencic.
"I am very happy with the race. I won my last race in 2012 in China, and I'm starting with a victory on Cyprus into 2013," said Klemencic. "That's great. I was racing with my Olympic bike, but at home, I already have a 29er."
Leumann said, "I actually was surprised how good the race worked for me. When Blaza sped up, I was not able to follow, but at the end of the last lap, I could see her again. Unfortunately it was not able to pass her in the streets of Voroklini."
Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol) rode together with Yana Belomoyna (Superior Brentjens), but then left the U23 World Cup winner behind. Lechner finished third at 3:38 minutes behind Klemencic, while Belomoyna was caught by a strong, up and coming Corinna Gantenbein. The Swiss rider from Fischer-BMC surprised with a fourth place, five seconds behind Lechner.
Lechner said, "To be honest, I had my troubles, after the cyclo-cross season and not training on the bike for one week. But for the first race, at least it is okay."
Due to problems with her knee, pre-race favorite Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing) was not able to race.
Promoter Mike Hadjioannou was happy that the rain was not to heavy. "From the organizational side, everything went okay. There were some crashes, of course, when the course got slippery. But nothing serious and fortunately no injuries," he said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Factory Team||1:28:59|
|2||Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:00:11|
|3||Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team||0:00:11|
|4||Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Sram Rubena Trek||0:01:01|
|5||Rohrbach Nicola (Swi) Goldwurst-Power/Stockli||0:01:13|
|6||Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Merida Wallonie MTB Team||0:01:18|
|7||Anton Cooper (NZl) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:01:20|
|8||Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team||0:01:43|
|9||Matthias Wengelin (Swe) CK Naten Sater/Specialized Conceptstore||0:02:19|
|10||Anton Sintsov (Rus) Titici LGL Pro Team||0:05:39|
|11||Sergeii Rysenko (Ukr) Ukraine National Team||0:06:39|
|12||Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team||0:07:03|
|13||Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Otztal Scott Racing Team||0:07:10|
|14||Pascal Meyer (Swi) JB Felt Team||0:07:42|
|15||Gregor Raggl (Aut) Otztal Scott Racing Team||0:08:14|
|16||David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey Pro Team||0:08:15|
|17||Gogolev Maxim (Rus) CC Roma Team / Samara-Shvsm||0:08:48|
|18||Gogolev Anton (Rus) Impuls||0:10:20|
|19||Brice Scholtes (Bel) Merida Wallonie MTB Team||0:10:34|
|20||Christopher Maletz (Ger) Team Fujibikes Rockets||0:10:46|
|21||Axel Lindh (Swe) Harnosands CK||0:10:54|
|22||Pieter Geluykens (Bel) Merida Wallonie MTB Team||0:11:36|
|23||Boredskii Ruslan (Rus) Team Primorskiy District (Saint Petersburg)||0:11:46|
|24||Simon Schili (Ger) JB Felt Team||0:11:47|
|25||Ryo Saito (Jpn) Miyata-Merida Bikin Team||0:11:50|
|26||Ken Onodera (Jpn) Team Specialized||0:12:52|
|27||Giorgos Fattas (Cyp) Char. Pettemerides||0:13:35|
|28||Bengareth Roff (GBr) Orange Monkey Pro Team||0:13:36|
|29||Mark Kuyan (Rus) Team Primorskiy District||0:15:19|
|30||Andrey Myshakov (Rus) Team Primorskiy District||0:15:59|
|31||Marios Athanasiades (Cyp) Omonoia||0:16:35|
|32||Artem Shevtsov (Ukr) Ukraine National Team||0:18:40|
|33||Ulisse Fieschi (Swi) JB Felt Team||0:19:59|
|34||Swenson Keegan (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:20:41|
|35||Nicolas Daniels (Bel) Merida Wallonie MTB Team||0:24:36|
|-1lap||Pantelis Christoforou (Cyp) Ayios Mnason|
|-3laps||Eirinaios Koutsiou (Cyp) Hrakleitos|
|-3laps||Loucas Theodorou (Cyp) Hrakleitos|
|-3laps||George Ladakis (Gre) Hrakleitos|
|-3laps||Andersson Jesper (Swe)|
|DNF||Simon Scheiber (Aut) Otztal Scott Racing Team|
|DNF||Batsutsa Mykhaylo (Ukr) Ukraine National Team|
|DNF||Urban Ferencak (Slo) Calcit Bike|
|DNF||Karl Markt (Aut) Otztal Scott Racing Team|
|DNS||Christos Loizou (Cyp) Char. Pettemerides|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Calcit Bike||1:28:07|
|2||Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing||0:00:01|
|3||Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Farbe Sudtirol||0:03:38|
|4||Corina Gantenbein (Swi) Fischer Bmc||0:03:44|
|5||Yana Belomoina (Ukr) Superior-Brentjens MTB Racing Team||0:05:16|
|6||Andrea Waldis (Swi) Colnago Sudtirol||0:06:39|
|7||Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus) Team Protek||0:08:22|
|8||Iryna Popova (Ukr) Ukraine National Team||0:13:08|
|9||Sarah Koba (Swi) JB Felt Team||0:13:11|
|10||Jovana Crnogorac (Srb) Orange Monkey Pro Team||0:14:51|
|11||Elena Gogoleva (Rus) CC Roma Team / Samara Shvsm||0:16:06|
|12||Nicoletta De Jager (Ned)||0:16:46|
|13||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) EBE-Racing Team/RSC-Schoanich||0:17:22|
|14||Jennifer Kupferschmied (Swi) Wheeler_IXS_Team||0:21:55|
|-2laps||Jelena Petrova (Lat) Omonoia|
|-3laps||Andri Christoforou (Cyp) Omonoia|
|-3laps||Asuman Burcu Balci (Tur) Riva Macera A.D.S.K.|
|DNF||Demetra A. Michaelides (Cyp) Bikin'cyprus|
|DNF||Marta Tereshchuk (Ukr) Ukraine National Team|
|DNS||Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing|