Swiss rider Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing) and Germany's Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) took the victories at German Bundesliga in Albstadt on Sunday. Flückiger won the Gonso Albstadt MTB Classic in front of his brother Mathias (Trek World Racing) and Julien Absalon (Orbea). In the women's competition, Spitz beat Julie Bresset (BH Suntour) and Alexandra Engen.
Sunday's cross country races were influenced by rain from previous days and on race day. The mud was difficult to handle, especially on the downhill parts, and racers struggled. Considering the weather, the conditions and the upcoming world championships six days later, officials decided to shorten the event.
Lukas Flückiger raced with no issues. During the second of four laps, he moved into the lead, overtaking his four-years-younger brother Mathias. The duel between them didn't last long.
"In this lap, I didn't do a good downhill. But it didn't matter to me that Lukas passed me," said Mathias.
Lukas Flückiger took the lead and soloed to his first Bundesliga win. "In these conditions, the motivation is very important. To be honest, before the start I was not very motivated. But in recent weeks, my form is very good," he said.
"I think, if I have a good day on Saturday, I am medal contender at the Worlds."
While London 2012 Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) suffered early mechanicals, Absalon took the third spot on the podium.
"I am happy with how I feel," said Absalon. "I think it was difficult for all the Olympic riders in the last weeks. The spectators here in Albstadt must have a lot of passion for mountain biking if they cheer for us in these weather conditions."
Fabian Giger (Rabobank-Giant) after a not so good start, finished fourth, while Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida) was the fourth Swiss rider on the podium. "This was a good decision of the jury to shorten the race. Three more laps and nobody would have reached the finish line."
Spitz wins duel with Bresset
In the very first lap, Sabine Spitz and Julie Bresset took the lead, starting an exciting duel between the Olympic gold and silver medal winners.
Spitz seemed to be stronger. "I am happy with my race. It was difficult to train since my Olympic victory," said Bresset afterwards.
Despite that, Bresset kept the race an open one until the last few hundred meters. Before that, Spitz had lost a lead of 20 seconds by crashing, but she chased and came back.
Then Spitz, again in front, flatted.
So the lead duo went together into the last lap. In the downhill, Spitz lost the lead by making a mistake in a slippery part. Bresset passed. But in the very last drop, the French racer lost the line, riding into the hedge, around 500 meters before the finish line.
"I thought, now I can pass her, but immediately I went down as well," said Spitz.
Both got back on their bikes, fighting for the win. Spitz on the flat terrain was a bit stronger and was able to get two seconds in front of Bresset.
"I felt good in the uphill. So I am looking forward to the Worlds," Spitz said.
Alexandra Engen confirmed what she showed as sixth in the Olympic race. The Swede won the fight in the chasing group against Lisi Osl of Austria and a surprising Kathrin Stirnemann of Switzerland.
"It was fun today. Last lap, I was going very hard, because I knew Kathrin was very strong in the downhill. So I tried to make a big gap in the uphill," Engen said.
Swiss riders take the elimination race
Saturday's Voba Tailfingen short race was held in a "last man out" format.
In the men's competition, the last two riders had to leave the race every lap. On a muddy, 500-meter course, the last remaining five riders were fighting for the win. Fabian Giger, with a little help from his Rabobank-Giant teammate Emil Lindgren got a small gap, just before the bell was ringing for the last lap.
Giger pushed hard and Jochen Käß (Multivan-Merida) was not more able to close the gap.
"I am surprised. The legs were good and there was a lot of fun with this format," Giger told.
Käß worried a bit about himself. "I thought we had two more laps to go. It was my fault, so I have to be satisfied with second place," he said.
Lindgren took third in front of U23 rider Simon Stiebjahn and Julian Schelb.
In the women's elimination race, Nathalie Schneitter triumphed. The Swiss, like Giger, took a gap, just before passing the line for the last lap. "I recognized that and just decided to go for it. This format is cool, I like it," Schneitter said.
Alexandra Engen took the second spot on the podium. "It was fun, but Nathalie was stronger today," she said.
Germany's cross and road specialist Martina Zwick rode to third place, beating Katrin Leumann, who is known as a good sprinter.
Full Results (for the cross country)
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lukas Flückiger (Swi)||1:01:38|
|2||Mathias Flückiger (Swi)||0:00:37|
|3||Julien Absalon (Fra)||0:01:01|
|4||Fabian Giger (Swi)||0:01:32|
|5||Ralph Naef (Swi)||0:02:32|
|6||Emil Lindgren (Swe)||0:02:44|
|7||Martin Loo (Est)||0:02:57|
|8||Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa)||0:03:27|
|9||Manuel Fumic (Ger)||0:03:31|
|10||Moritz Milatz (Ger)||0:03:36|
|11||Rudi Van Houts (Ned)||0:03:43|
|12||Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut)||0:04:21|
|13||Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita)||0:04:43|
|14||Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa)||0:04:45|
|15||Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa)||0:04:52|
|16||José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)||0:04:55|
|17||Maxime Marotte (Fra)||0:05:27|
|18||Martin Gujan (Swi)||0:06:02|
|19||Jochen Kass (Ger)||0:06:35|
|20||Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger)||0:06:56|
|21||Hans Becking (Ned)||0:07:13|
|22||Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr)||0:07:52|
|23||Markus Bauer (Ger)||0:09:33|
|24||Torsten Marx (Ger)||0:09:40|
|25||Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)||0:09:42|
|26||Mitchell Hoke (USA)||0:09:53|
|27||Martin Fanger (Swi)||0:10:09|
|28||Daniel Geismayr (Aut)||0:10:38|
|29||Colin Cares (USA)||0:11:03|
|30||Chris Jongewaard (Aus)||0:11:08|
|31||Patrik Gallati (Swi)||0:12:13|
|32||Daniel Eymann (Swi)||0:12:34|
|33||Matthias Leisling (Ger)||0:13:08|
|34||Gerrit Rosenkranz (Ger)||0:13:45|
|35||Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)||0:14:30|
|36||Sebastian Lehr (Ger)||0:16:51|
|37||Zdenek Vobecky (Cze)|
|38||Jeffrey Andris (Ger)|
|39||Jochen Coconcelli (Ger)|
|40||Benjamin Oesterle (Ger)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sabine Spitz (Ger)||1:17:25|
|2||Julie Bresset (Fra)||0:00:02|
|3||Alexandra Engen (Swe)||0:00:48|
|4||Elisabeth Osl (Aut)||0:01:15|
|5||Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)||0:01:26|
|6||Nathalie Schneitter (Swi)||0:02:15|
|7||Silke Schmidt (Ger)||0:03:02|
|8||Corina Gantenbein (Swi)||0:04:36|
|9||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)||0:05:24|
|10||Rosara Joseph (NZl)||0:05:42|
|11||Helen Grobert (Ger)||0:06:20|
|12||Nataliya Krompets (Ukr)||0:06:33|
|13||Katrin Leumann (Swi)||0:07:47|
|14||Lea Davison (USA)||0:08:09|
|15||Hanna Klein (Ger)||0:08:10|
|16||Annika Langvad (Den)||0:08:56|
|17||Kajsa Snihs (Swe)||0:09:27|
|18||Heidi Sandsto Rosaasen (Nor)||0:10:44|
|19||Lena Wehrle (Ger)||0:18:52|
|20||Nadine Rieder (Ger)||0:18:58|
|21||Tina Kindlhofer (Aut)||0:22:39|
|22||Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus)|
|23||Viktoria Zeller (Aut)|
|24||Asuman Burcu Balci (Tur)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Olof Jonsson (Swe)||1:20:32|
|2||Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned)||0:00:15|
|3||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)||0:03:10|
|4||Timofei Ivanov (Rus)||0:03:47|
|5||Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr)||0:03:52|
|6||Marc Stutzmann (Swi)||0:03:54|
|7||Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)||0:04:52|
|8||Matthias Stirnemann (Swi)||0:05:41|
|9||Christian Pfäffle (Ger)|
|10||Truls Engen Korsaeth (Nor)||0:07:09|
|11||Philipp Hediger (Swi)||0:07:35|
|12||Marcus Nicolai (Ger)||0:08:23|
|13||Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa)||0:08:36|
|14||David Simon (Ger)||0:08:40|
|15||Maximilian Holz (Ger)||0:09:58|
|16||Sturla Aune (Nor)||0:10:11|
|17||Lysander Kiesel (Ger)||0:10:19|
|18||Andreas Kleiber (Ger)||0:10:38|
|19||Jochen Weisenseel (Ger)||0:11:25|
|20||Gregor Raggl (Aut)||0:11:54|
|21||Michael Wanski (Ger)||0:12:03|
|22||Adrian Sauer (Ger)||0:12:52|
|23||Christopher Platt (Ger)||0:13:24|
|24||Yannik Brischle (Ger)||0:13:35|
|25||Patricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (Chi)||0:13:48|
|26||Sondre Kristiansen (Nor)||0:14:14|
|27||Felix Huschle (Ger)||0:15:44|
|28||Maxi Maier (Ger)||0:16:33|
|29||Michael Crosbie (Aus)||0:16:38|
|30||Brede Edvardsen (Nor)|
|31||Michael Feinauer (Ger)|
|32||Mark Kuyan (Rus)|
|33||Marvin Schmidt (Ger)|
|34||Steffen Weisenseel (Ger)|
|35||Robert Traupe (Ger)|
|36||Tobias Schraner (Swi)|
|37||Matthias Baldauf (Ger)|
|38||Lukas Holtkamp (Ger)|
|39||Sebastian Jayne (Aus)|
|40||Markus Schrempp (Ger)|