Klemencic and Giger win cross country events at Guiyang Invitation Contest

Racing concludes at potential World Cup venue

Some of the top riders on the World Cup cross country circuit extended their season a few weeks to attend the Guiyang International Mountain Bike Invitational in Guiyang, China. Fabian Giger (Rabobank Giant) won the men's event, while Blaza Klemencic (Slovenian National Team) took the women's title.

Guiyang, a city of nearly five million, located 1,800 kilometres southwest of Beijing, is one of the major tourist regions in China, due to its temperate climate and many natural attractions. The city hopes to add mountain biking as a destination activity, and the Guiyang Invitational is a test event for a potential World Cup here next season (cross country and eliminator).

The 4.1-kilometre course was built amid rolling, wooded hills on the outskirts of the city. While not extremely technical, it does offer considerable climbing and a few tricky descents. Overall, there was strong feedback from the riders that this course is suitable as a World Cup circuit. Designed as a series of loops radiating out from the start-finish area, it offers excellent spectator viewing, with fans able to criss-cross the course to see the riders multiple times, as well as watch them climb up and down the sides of the valley from the center of the venue.

The women's five-lap race quickly came down to three riders - Klemencic, Eva Lechner (Colnago) and Sarah Koba (JB Felt). Under 23 world champion Jolanda Neff (Swiss National Team) rode with the leaders for the first lap, but began to struggle on the second and faded to finish tenth. Lechner, who had won a demonstration short track race the day before, attacked on the fourth lap, opening a 10-second gap on Klemencic as she entered the last lap. However, the Slovenian national champion battled back to catch and drop Lechner on the climbs and win by 22 seconds. Koba took third at 1:09.

The men's race followed a similar pattern, with three riders opening a gap on the rest of the field on the first of seven laps. Giger was joined at the front by Swiss compatriot Martin Gujan (Swiss National Team) and Maxime Marotte (BH-SR Suntour), and the three quickly pulled away from Emil Lindgren (Rabobank Giant), who managed to hold on for fourth at the finish.

The three rode cooperatively for the first half of the race until Giger decided to go it alone on lap four. Gujan dropped Marotte almost immediately in a solo chase. It looked like Giger was going to easily take the victory, but he backed off on the descents late in lap five, allowing Gujan to pull within 10 seconds as they started the sixth lap. Digging deep, the number-five world ranked rider re-established his lead by the start of the final lap and extended it to finish 56 seconds ahead of Gujan, with Marotte taking third at 1:20.

Race Notes

- While the UCI and the Guiyang organizers still have to work out details and sign a contract, it appears that Guiyang has a strong chance of opening the World Cup cross country and eliminator season for 2013, likely in late April or early May. This will take the series back up to six events.

- In the past few months, the organizers have literally built a venue from scratch. In addition to creating the trails, they also constructed paved roads and parking in the venue, brought in electrical services, and poured a concrete base big enough for the finish area, teams area, media centre and stands.

- The opening ceremonies left everyone gasping in awe. Broadcast live on television for the region, it resembled a mini-Olympic opening ceremony, with performances, fireworks and a team presentation. It was rumoured to have cost into seven figures.

- Not racing, but present, was a familiar face: former World Cup winner Ren Chengyuan. Ren said that she is coming back from a knee injury and plans to be able to compete by next season.

Full Results

Elite women
1 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Slovenia 1:19:27  
2 Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago 0:00:22  
3 Sarah Koba (Swi) JB Felt Team 0:01:09  
4 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Team Colnago 0:02:59  
5 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Specialized Solodet 0:03:05  
6 Judy Freeman (USA) CrankBrothers 0:03:31  
7 Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Swiss Cycling 0:04:15  
8 Chloe Woodruff (USA) CrankBrothers Race 0:05:01  
9 Elisabeth Sveum (Nor) Crampfix Nakamura 0:05:13  
10 Jolanda Neff (Swi) Swiss Cycling 0:05:54  
11 Zephanie Blasi (USA) WXC World Racing 0:07:53  
12 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR 0:09:07  
13 Asa Erlandsson (Swe) Sweden 0:09:09  
14 Mariske Strauss (RSA) Cycling South Africa 0:09:31  
15 Ye Zhuanzhuan (Chn) China 0:10:10  
16 Han Jialing (Chn) China 0:10:56  
17 Liu Yin (Chn) China 0:11:23  
18 Jovana Crnogorac (Srb) Serbia National Team 0:14:12  
19 Samantha Sanders (RSA) Cycling South Africa 0:14:39  
20 Tian Na (Chn) China 0:15:14  
21 Angelica Edvardsson (Swe) Sweden 0:16:48  
22 Maxine Filby (GBr) British Cycling  -1lap  
23 Alexandra G Serrano Rodriguez (Ecu) Ecuador    
24 Shan Jiangna (Chn) China  -2laps  
25 Wang Yingying (Chn) China    
26 Z N Everon Grisetti (Aru) Aruba  -4laps  
DNF Ann Berglund (Swe) Sweden    
DNF Julia Innerhofer (Ita) Team Colnago    
DNF Lelde Ardava (Lat) Latvian    
DNS Yuan Xin (Chn) China    
DNS Zhu Yanyu (Chn) China    
Elite men
1 Fabian Peter Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant 1:30:50  
2 Martin Gujan (Swi) Swiss Cycling 0:00:56  
3 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-SR 0:01:20  
4 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant 0:02:10  
5 Nicolas Carlos Coloma (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek 0:02:39  
6 Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC 0:04:12  
7 Martin Fanger (Swi) Swiss Cycling 0:04:19  
8 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik 0:05:33  
9 Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis 0:05:46  
10 Hendrik Jakob Moorlag (Ned) Rabobank Giant 0:06:26  
11 Erik Groen (Ned) Feenstra-Stevens 0:06:54  
12 Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Swiss Cycling    
13 Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys 0:07:27  
14 Reto Indergand (Swi) BMC 0:08:37  
15 Philip Buys (RSA) Cycling South Africa 0:09:04  
16 James Reid (RSA) Cycling South Africa 0:09:52  
17 Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek 0:11:20  
18 Sanghoon Na (Kor) Korea 0:12:24  
19 Jhonnat Botero Villegas (Col) Giant Italia Team 0:13:29  
20 Matiss Preimanis (Lat) Latvian 0:13:57  
21 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior  -1lap  
22 Ji Jianhua (Chn) China    
23 Wang Zhen (Chn) China    
24 Pietro Sarai (Ita) Giant Italia Team  -2laps  
25 Tim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra-Stevens    
26 Magnus Darvell (Swe) Sweden    
27 Jose Alberto Gonzalez Merchan (Ecu) Ecuador    
28 Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik    
29 Travis Woodruff (USA) CrankBrothers    
30 Ludwig Soderquist (Swe) Sweden    
31 Steffen Thum (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose  -3laps  
32 Rourke Croeser (RSA) Orange Monkey    
33 Bojan Ðurdic (Srb) Serbia    
34 Pontus Fagerhill (Swe) Sweden    
35 Wu Xuanfu (Chn) China    
36 Filip Turk (Cro) Croatia    
37 Dmitrij Sorokin (Lat) Latvian    
38 Qin Ping (Chn) China    
39 Ivars Prokofjevs (Lat) Latvian    
40 He Yangyang (Chn) China  -4laps  
41 Pavao Roset (Cro) Croatia    
42 Ding Jie (Chn) China    
43 Aleksa Maric (Srb) Serbia    
44 Liu Xinjun (Chn) China    
45 Liu Dingchang (Chn) China    
46 Zhang Guangyu (Chn) China    
47 Ge Run (Chn) China  -5laps  
48 He Qi (Chn) China    
49 Wang Le (Chn) China    
50 Basappa Kurani Lakkappa (Ind) India  -6laps  
DNF George J Winterdal (Aru) Aruba    
DNF Jeff Luyten (Bel) Versluys    
DNF Jens Schuermans (Bel) Versluys    
DNF Li Xiaolong (Chn) China    
DNF Duan Zhiqing (Chn) China    
DNF Sun Xiaolong (Chn) China    
DNF Wang Hewang (Chn) China    
DNF Thibault Geneste (Fra) French    
DNF Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose    
DNF Venkateswarlu Kunchala (Ind) India    
DNF Urban Ferencak (Slo) Slovenian    
DNS Cameron Ivory (Aus) Australian    
DNS Alexander Meyland (Aus) Australian    
DNS Qi Ruidong (Chn) China    
DNS Zeng Qingyun (Chn) China    
DNS Zhang Jixun (Chn) China    
DNS Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek    
DNS Olof Jonsson (Swe) Sweden    

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