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Giger and Engen win MTB-Bundesliga final

By:
Erhard Goller

German series wraps up in Bad Salzdetfurth

Fabien Giger wins the cross country

Fabien Giger wins the cross country

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Alexandra Engen and Fabian Giger took the win at MTB-Bundesliga final round in Bad Salzdetfurth on Sunday. The Swede and the Swiss also grabbed the overall series titles. In U23 men's category Christian Pfäffle took a surprising win, while eliminator victories went to Katrin Leumann and Jeroen van Eck.

Women: Engen surprises the veterans

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa or Irina Kalentieva?, that was the question, while spectators were waiting in the finish area for the last lap of women's competition. The answer was: Alexandra Engen!

The freshly crowned eliminator world champion went into the last lap in third, with a gap of 25 seconds to Dahle-Flesjaa and Kalentieva. The two experienced racers were supposed to fight for the win in Bad Salzdetfurth.

But when Engen saw Kalentieva in front of her, she started her engine again. "I thought, 'Five minutes of suffering is possible'," said Engen.

Engen caught Kalentieva, passed her and then reached Dahle-Flesjaa.

Dahle Flesjaa, the runner-up last weekend at the cross country Worlds, was astonished. "Alexandra was flying," she said. "I was over the limit. She is young and talented and we have to accept, that sometimes she is faster than we are."

Engen was talking about "one of the best victories of my career", because it was her first time beating two of the best mountain bikers in the world in a regular race. "It's great to finish a season like that," said Engen.

Kalentieva accepted the strength of the Swede. "When she came along, I had no chance to follow, she was so fast. So I said to myself, third spot on the podium is not too bad," said the Russian.

Engen had secured the overall Bundesliga win the day before, taking a second place in the eliminator behind her Ghost teammate Katrin Leumann while Nadine Rieder took a surprising third spot.

Men: Giger feels the pressure from Hermida

After his fifth place at the Worlds last weekend, Fabian Giger was called a favourite, and he acted like one. He took the lead in the very first lap and came out of it with a gap of six seconds in front of a bigger group of chasers.

Giger increased the gap and when José Antonio Hermida put himself in second position in the second lap, it was a 18 seconds difference between the Swiss and the Spaniard.

From then on, Hermida tried hard to close the gap. It pendulumed between 15 and 25 seconds. Giger was stronger in the uphill, and Hermida took back seconds in the downhill. But he couldn't close.

When they both entered the last of seven laps, Hermida was only nine seconds behind the leading Giger and while they were riding the last 4.48 kilometers, it was expected that Hermida would take it.

"I saw him close and knew that I had to go full gas," said Giger, "and it worked. I'm happy to take the win here in this great atmosphere."

Hermida congratulated Giger. "He had a good strategy, when he took the seconds in the first two laps. I was trying hard to get him, but I couldn't. To beat Fabian on a course with climbs like here, it is very difficult. Too difficult."

Behind them, Martin Gujan tried for a while to get up to Hermida, but he recognized the futility of his efforts and instead secured the third spot on the podium. "I tried to close the gap, but then I realized that it was not possible. But I'm really happy with my race," Gujan said.

The Bundesliga overall also went to Fabian Giger because his Rabobank-Giant teammate Emil Lindgren couldn't make it to sixth place, which was necessary. He finished ninth, but was not unhappy. "I did everything to keep the sixth position, but at the end I was dead. The overall stays in the team, that's good as it is," Lindgren said.

Saturday Lindgren tried to get some points in the eliminator to increase his lead, but at 16th, he earned only three, which didn't help much.

The Dutchman Jeroen van Eck won the eliminator and was surprised. "It was my first eliminator ever, I never thought to win," van Eck said.

In an evening event in the streets of picturesque Bad Salzdetfurth, van Eck ruled over Marco Schätzing and Julian Schelb.

U23 men: Pfäffle carries forward fine form

Sunday's U23 cross country race produced a surprising first-ever win for Christian Pfäffle. The 19-year-old German, who was fourth at the eliminator world championships last weekend, put in an impressive race, by beating Jonas Pedersen and Jens Schuermans.

"I was hoping for a good end of the season and it was," said Pfäffle. He left his two contenders in the fourth of six laps, when he got a gap in the downhill.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Fabian Giger (Swi) 1:33:50  
2 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) 0:00:20  
3 Martin Gujan (Swi) 0:01:56  
4 Moritz Milatz (Ger) 0:02:22  
5 Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) 0:02:27  
6 Robert Mennen (Ger) 0:02:53  
7 Jochen Kass (Ger) 0:03:16  
8 Martin Fanger (Swi) 0:03:22  
9 Emil Lindgren (Swe) 0:04:14  
10 Bjorn Brems (Bel) 0:05:44  
11 Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) 0:06:07  
12 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) 0:06:42  
13 Markus Bauer (Ger) 0:06:58  
14 Shlomi Haimy (Isr) 0:07:34  
15 Torsten Marx (Ger) 0:08:01  
16 Matthias Leisling (Ger) 0:10:09  
17 Heiko Gutmann (Ger) 0:11:43  
18 Gerrit Rosenkranz (Ger) 0:13:49  
19 Tim Lemmers (Ned) 0:14:02  
20 Tom Ettlich (Ger)    
21 Zdenek Vobecky (Cze)    
22 Andi Weinhold (Ger)    
23 Sebastian Szraucner (Ger)    
24 Martin Larsen (Den)    
25 Hamish Batchelor (GBr)    
26 Timo Modosch (Ger)    
27 Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)    
28 Marco Schätzing (Ger)    
29 Benjamin Oesterle (Ger)    
30 Jeffrey Andris (Ger)    
31 Sebastian Mordmuller (Ger)    
32 Ahmed-Ridvan Reichling (Ger)    
33 David Wimmert (Ger)    
34 Martin Knape (Ger)    
35 Martin Toft (Den)    
36 Lukas Schmitz (Ger)    
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alexandra Engen (Swe) 1:34:48  
2 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) 0:00:12  
3 Irina Kalentieva (Rus) 0:00:32  
4 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) 0:02:46  
5 Silke Schmidt (Ger) 0:03:52  
6 Annika Langvad (Den) 0:05:54  
7 Anja Gradl (Ger) 0:06:48  
8 Katrin Leumann (Swi) 0:07:00  
9 Hanna Klein (Ger) 0:09:50  
10 Paula Gorycka (Pol) 0:11:06  
11 Nadine Rieder (Ger) 0:15:37  
12 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:17:42  
13 Barbara Benko (Hun) 0:17:57  
14 Regina Genser (Ger) 0:19:05  
15 Noga Korem (Isr)    
16 Vanessa Kleih (Ger)    
17 Lena Wehrle (Ger)    
18 Chiara Eberle (Ger)    
19 Susanne Juranek (Ger)    
20 Asuman Bura Balci (Tur)    
21 Steffi Schulze (Ger)    
U23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Christian Pfäffle (Ger) 1:23:48  
2 Jonas Pedersen (Den) 0:00:22  
3 Jens Schuermans (Bel) 0:01:01  
4 Didier Bats (Bel) 0:01:50  
5 Rens De Bruin (Ned) 0:01:54  
6 Aaron Beck (Ger) 0:02:14  
7 Erik Groen (Ned) 0:02:26  
8 Maximilian Holz (Ger) 0:03:05  
9 Sebastian Batchelor (GBr) 0:03:18  
10 Michael Wanski (Ger) 0:03:19  
11 Marcel Fleschhut (Ger) 0:03:36  
12 Martin Gluth (Ger) 0:03:39  
13 David Simon (Ger) 0:03:44  
14 Olof Jonsson (Swe) 0:05:01  
15 Jeroen Van Eck (Ned) 0:05:15  
16 Thijs Zuurbier (Ned) 0:05:39  
17 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) 0:05:47  
18 Jochen Weisenseel (Ger) 0:05:57  
19 Anselm Wüllner (Ger) 0:06:22  
20 Christopher Platt (Ger) 0:07:15  
21 Maxi Maier (Ger) 0:07:25  
22 Louis Wolf (Ger) 0:07:47  
23 Adrian Sauer (Ger) 0:08:09  
24 Geert Van Der Horst (Ned) 0:08:25  
25 Marvin Schmidt (Ger) 0:08:51  
26 Patricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (Chi) 0:08:59  
27 Pieter Geluykens (Bel) 0:09:26  
28 Thomas Rasmussen (Den) 0:09:44  
29 Marcel Pöter (Ger) 0:11:45  
30 Yannik Brischle (Ger)    
31 Andre Schutz (Ger) 0:12:48  
32 Pierre Happel (Ger)    
33 Robert Traupe (Ger)    
34 Oliver Laundenberg (Ger)    
35 Michael Feinauer (Ger)    
36 Jan Eric Müller (Ger)    
37 Lukas Holtkamp (Ger)    
38 David Schiel (Ger)    
39 Marcel Lehrian (Ger)    
40 Alexander Schlenkrich (Ger)    
41 Constantin Kolb (Ger)    
42 Tobias Reiser (Ger)    
43 Markus Schrempp (Ger)