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
1Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Slovenia1:19:27 
2Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago0:00:22 
3Sarah Koba (Swi) JB Felt Team0:01:09 
4Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Team Colnago0:02:59 
5Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Specialized Solodet0:03:05 
6Judy Freeman (USA) CrankBrothers0:03:31 
7Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Swiss Cycling0:04:15 
8Chloe Woodruff (USA) CrankBrothers Race0:05:01 
9Elisabeth Sveum (Nor) Crampfix Nakamura0:05:13 
10Jolanda Neff (Swi) Swiss Cycling0:05:54 
11Zephanie Blasi (USA) WXC World Racing0:07:53 
12Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR0:09:07 
13Asa Erlandsson (Swe) Sweden0:09:09 
14Mariske Strauss (RSA) Cycling South Africa0:09:31 
15Ye Zhuanzhuan (Chn) China0:10:10 
16Han Jialing (Chn) China0:10:56 
17Liu Yin (Chn) China0:11:23 
18Jovana Crnogorac (Srb) Serbia National Team0:14:12 
19Samantha Sanders (RSA) Cycling South Africa0:14:39 
20Tian Na (Chn) China0:15:14 
21Angelica Edvardsson (Swe) Sweden0:16:48 
22Maxine Filby (GBr) British Cycling -1lap 
23Alexandra G Serrano Rodriguez (Ecu) Ecuador  
24Shan Jiangna (Chn) China -2laps 
25Wang Yingying (Chn) China  
26Z N Everon Grisetti (Aru) Aruba -4laps 
DNFAnn Berglund (Swe) Sweden  
DNFJulia Innerhofer (Ita) Team Colnago  
DNFLelde Ardava (Lat) Latvian  
DNSYuan Xin (Chn) China  
DNSZhu Yanyu (Chn) China  
Elite men
1Fabian Peter Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant1:30:50 
2Martin Gujan (Swi) Swiss Cycling0:00:56 
3Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-SR0:01:20 
4Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant0:02:10 
5Nicolas Carlos Coloma (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek0:02:39 
6Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC0:04:12 
7Martin Fanger (Swi) Swiss Cycling0:04:19 
8Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik0:05:33 
9Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis0:05:46 
10Hendrik Jakob Moorlag (Ned) Rabobank Giant0:06:26 
11Erik Groen (Ned) Feenstra-Stevens0:06:54 
12Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Swiss Cycling  
13Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys0:07:27 
14Reto Indergand (Swi) BMC0:08:37 
15Philip Buys (RSA) Cycling South Africa0:09:04 
16James Reid (RSA) Cycling South Africa0:09:52 
17Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek0:11:20 
18Sanghoon Na (Kor) Korea0:12:24 
19Jhonnat Botero Villegas (Col) Giant Italia Team0:13:29 
20Matiss Preimanis (Lat) Latvian0:13:57 
21Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior -1lap 
22Ji Jianhua (Chn) China  
23Wang Zhen (Chn) China  
24Pietro Sarai (Ita) Giant Italia Team -2laps 
25Tim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra-Stevens  
26Magnus Darvell (Swe) Sweden  
27Jose Alberto Gonzalez Merchan (Ecu) Ecuador  
28Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik  
29Travis Woodruff (USA) CrankBrothers  
30Ludwig Soderquist (Swe) Sweden  
31Steffen Thum (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose -3laps 
32Rourke Croeser (RSA) Orange Monkey  
33Bojan Ðurdic (Srb) Serbia  
34Pontus Fagerhill (Swe) Sweden  
35Wu Xuanfu (Chn) China  
36Filip Turk (Cro) Croatia  
37Dmitrij Sorokin (Lat) Latvian  
38Qin Ping (Chn) China  
39Ivars Prokofjevs (Lat) Latvian  
40He Yangyang (Chn) China -4laps 
41Pavao Roset (Cro) Croatia  
42Ding Jie (Chn) China  
43Aleksa Maric (Srb) Serbia  
44Liu Xinjun (Chn) China  
45Liu Dingchang (Chn) China  
46Zhang Guangyu (Chn) China  
47Ge Run (Chn) China -5laps 
48He Qi (Chn) China  
49Wang Le (Chn) China  
50Basappa Kurani Lakkappa (Ind) India -6laps 
DNFGeorge J Winterdal (Aru) Aruba  
DNFJeff Luyten (Bel) Versluys  
DNFJens Schuermans (Bel) Versluys  
DNFLi Xiaolong (Chn) China  
DNFDuan Zhiqing (Chn) China  
DNFSun Xiaolong (Chn) China  
DNFWang Hewang (Chn) China  
DNFThibault Geneste (Fra) French  
DNFSimon Gegenheimer (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose  
DNFVenkateswarlu Kunchala (Ind) India  
DNFUrban Ferencak (Slo) Slovenian  
DNSCameron Ivory (Aus) Australian  
DNSAlexander Meyland (Aus) Australian  
DNSQi Ruidong (Chn) China  
DNSZeng Qingyun (Chn) China  
DNSZhang Jixun (Chn) China  
DNSSergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek  
DNSOlof Jonsson (Swe) Sweden  

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