Germany's Spitz sprints to World Championship

Süss and Henzi round out podium for Switzerland

On Sunday, exactly one year after winning the Olympic cross country race in Beijing, China, Sabine Spitz (Germany) won the world marathon championships in Austria. Spitz crossed the line after 84.1km with a time of 4:24:16.

"This is an incredible feeling, especially since it was the last title that was eluding me," said the 37-year-old Spitz. It was her second rainbow jersey - she won the cross country world championship title in 2003.

Eventually, a group of three riders emerged as leaders. Spitz, Petra Henzi, and Ester Süss. The three stayed together as they approached final climb up Schöckl. On the descent that followed, Henzi experienced technical troubles and dropped back to finish third at almost three minutes behind Spitz, who clearly won the sprint ahead of Süss.

With 12km to go, Spitz had a one-minute lead over Süss. It seemed that Spitz had a comfortable margin. However, then the men started to overtake the women, and it was hard to keep track of who was where and in what race. The men had started earlier, but completed a longer loop, and therefore were catching the women at the end.

"With 500m to go, Christoph Sauser approached. I let him pass and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Swiss jersey. It could have been a man, but then I suddenly realized that it was Esther! Luckily I had something left," said Spitz.

"It was good that I was here a few days early," said Spitz. "Route knowledge was worth a great deal in this marathon."

Spitz will fly to Australia on Tuesday as she prepares to compete in the cross country World Championships next week.

Spitz and Süss weren't the only riders whose race was affected by riders from other categories on the course at the same time.

American Pua Sawicki led the race after the first climb. She soon found herself in with a field of master men that had started 15 minutes in front of the elite women. While leading, Sawicki collided with one of the master men who would not move out of the way. She hit her right leg, where she's suffered several injuries this summmer, and still held onto the lead until the Swiss women worked together to reel her in and pass her when Sawicki stopped at the pit to straighten her bars.

Sawicki dropped to fifth, then worked her way back up toward the front, where she stayed until her leg bothered her as it swelled. She dropped to seventh place as she approached the final climb, but she held onto seventh, the best-ever finish by an American (man or woman) at the marathon worlds.

"We are disappointed that the UCI does not let the Pro Champion Women race on an open course in the World Championships, but we are very happy to see that Pua can hang with the best in the World," said her husband Ron.

Defending world marathon champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa finished 13th. "While riding the course, I wasn't really sure what I'm doing here, but after finishing, I am satisfied with the 13th place. Although I am glad to be finished in one piece, I didn't take too many risks now that I'm a mom. It was great fun, and I will come back next year to St. Wendel to fight for a medal."

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sabine Spitz (Germany)4:24:16 
2Esther Süss (Switzerland)0:00:02 
3Petra Henzi (Switzerland)0:02:52 
4Erika Dicht (Switzerland)0:04:34 
5Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)0:10:30 
6Pia Sundstedt (Finland)0:13:09 
7Monique Pua Sawicki (United States Of America)0:17:14 
8Milena Landtwing (Switzerland)0:20:36 
9Michela Benzoni (Italy)0:20:44 
10Sally Bigham (Great Britain)0:24:47 
11Elena Gaddoni (Italy)0:25:50 
12Kristine Noergaard (Denmark)0:27:19 
13Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)0:28:16 
14Roberta Gasparini (Italy)0:31:43 
15Katrin Schwing (Germany)0:33:24 
16Jane Nussli (Great Britain)0:33:29 
17Jennifer O Connor (New Zealand)0:35:14 
18Arielle Boek - Van Meurs (Netherlands)0:35:43 
19Asa Maria Erlandsson (Sweden)0:36:51 
20Nina Duftner (Austria)0:38:19 
21Ivonne Kraft (Germany)0:39:20 
22Barbara Kaltenhauser (Germany)0:41:43 
23Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spain)0:41:49 
24Mailin Franke (Germany)0:43:19 
25Heather Holmes (United States Of America)0:43:20 
26Melanie Spath (Germany)0:44:44 
27Ivanda Eiduka (Latvia)0:45:06 
28Nicoletta De Jager (Netherlands)0:47:48 
29Theresia Kellermayr (Austria)0:51:12 
30Alessia Ghezzo (Italy)0:51:12 
31Kerstin Brachtendorf (Germany)0:52:31 
32Anna Sadowska (Poland)0:53:24 
33Elisabeth Unterbuchschachner (Austria)0:53:38 
34Catherine Lohri (Switzerland)0:54:39 
35Alexa Hüni (Germany)0:56:39 
36Nina Homovec (Slovenia)0:56:56 
37Verena Krenslehner (Austria)0:59:40 
38Alena Krnacova (Czech Republic)1:02:56 
39Beate Hauser (Austria)1:06:44 
40Natalija Anderluh (Slovenia)1:14:50 
41Mirre Stallen (Netherlands)1:17:32 
42Gabriella Modos (Hungary)1:23:53 
43Andrea Kirsic (Croatia)1:24:46 
44Nina Kunz (Germany)1:25:42 
45Justyna Fraczek (Poland)1:30:24 
46Eszter Dosa (Hungary)1:34:46 
47Nora Hacker (Austria)1:44:20 
48Julia Jurcova (Slovakia)1:53:18 
49Agnieszka Krok (Poland)3:07:10 
DNFBlaza Klemencic (Slovenia)  
DNFRuth Hagen (Austria)  
DNFAntonia Wipfli (Switzerland)  
DNFAnna Bickei (Romania)  
DNFBarbora Radova (Czech Republic)  

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