Mels wins eliminator World Cup in Albstadt

Van der Ploeg takes the lead in overall standings

The men's eliminator World Cup series was bound to get a new leader at round 3 in Albstadt, Germany, when Daniel Federspiel (Oetztal-Scott), the leader after round 2, broke his chain in qualifying, and round 1 winner Samuel Gaze of New Zealand did not start. Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) earned the win, the second his career, while Australia's Paul van der Ploeg, the world champion, took the overall lead in the men's series after finishing second in Albstadt.

Mels and van der Ploeg were seeded into the same heat from the first round, and took turns finishing first and second on their way through the heats to the final. They were joined in the final by first time podium attendee Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada) and Swiss rider Patrick Luthi. Bouchard was very strong on the latter half of the course, winning all three of his preliminary heats.

The race stayed close right to the finish line, with Canadian champion Bouchard leading out the slightly downhill sprint, with van der Ploeg coming by to take the lead, only to be caught and passed in the final metres by Mels, who threw his bike over the line to win the second World Cup of his career. Luthi just passed Bouchard for third.

"It's amazing, really amazing," said Mels. "I was feeling strong but there were strong riders today. It was really a long sprint so I was a little bit nervous about it. It is so nice to win a second World Cup. I am really happy."

"I hoped it would come down to a sprint.. I am really good at it. I was trying in the heats not to burn too much energy; just to pass through with a good pace. I knew for the final I would have to be strong. I watched the others sprint and knew how strong they were. I am so relieved that my tactic worked."

"It's crazy that I was able to get into the final," said van der Ploeg, "because I was coming down a bit sick this week, so I wasn't super confident. My tactic was to go out hard and try to control the race from the front. It was all going to plan, but Fabrice was just too strong in the final straight."

Van der Ploeg takes the lead in the World Cup series with 100 points, followed by Mels only three points.


Elite men eliminator finals
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya  
2Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)  
3Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)  
4Leandre Bouchard* (Can)  
5Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls  
6Heiko Gutmann (Ger)  
7Elia Silvestri (Ita)  
8Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) MMR Bikes Pro Team  
9Roger Jenny* (Swi)  
10Andy Eyring (Ger)  
11Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team  
12Lehvi Braam* (Ned)  
13Kevin Miquel (Fra)  
14Miha Halzer (Slo)  
15Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm  
16Borys Goral (Pol)  
17Ludek Seller* (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Specialized Junior Mtb Team  
18Jan Nesvadba (Cze)  
19Maxime Herold* (Fra) Calvisson VTT  
20Andrew L'esperance (Can)  
21Peter Disera* (Can)  
22Titouan Perrin Ganier (Fra) Focus Rotor Coaching-System  
23Marco Schätzing (Ger)  
24Stefan Peter* (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team  
25Luiz Cocuzzi* (Bra)  
26Evgenii Pechenin (Rus) Format-Udmurtia  
27Martino Fruet (Ita)  
28Fabian Costa* (Aut)  
29Patryk Adamkiewicz* (Pol) Sante-Bsa Whistle Team  
30Kevin Berginc* (Slo) Unior Tools Team  
31Sébastien Cadieux-Duval (Can)  
32Adria Noguera Soldevila* (Spa)  
Elite men World Cup standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)100 pts
2Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya97 
3Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team80 
4Samuel Gaze (NZl)64 
5Miha Halzer (Slo)63 
6Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team33 
7Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)30 
8Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls28 
9Leandre Bouchard* (Can)25 
10Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)24 
11Marek Konwa (Pol) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens Mtb Racing Team20 
12Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team20 
13Heiko Gutmann (Ger)18 
14Krystof Bogar* (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens Mtb Racing Team18 
15Elia Silvestri (Ita)16 
16Philip Buys (RSA)16 
17Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team16 
18Kevin Miquel (Fra)16 
19Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) MMR Bikes Pro Team14 
20Matthias Wengelin (Swe)14 
21Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus XC Team14 
22Roger Jenny* (Swi)12 
23Andy Eyring (Ger)10 
24Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team10 
25Shaun Lewis (Aus)10 
26Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team8 
27Lehvi Braam* (Ned)6 
28Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team6 
29Tristan Ward (Aus)4 
30Stefan Peter* (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team3 
31Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team3 
32Borys Goral (Pol)3 
33Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm2 
34Steffen Thum (Ger)2 
35Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)1 

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