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April 15, Elite men cross country:

Absalon back to winning ways in Houffalize

By:
Rob Jones
Published:
April 15, 2012, 14:36 BST,
Updated:
April 16, 2012, 16:38 BST

Frenchman rides tactical race to beat Schurter

Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) wins in Houffalize

Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) wins in Houffalize

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Julien Absalon (Orbea) scored a decisive victory at the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium, letting all his rivals know that the two-time defending Olympic champion is on track for his title defence later this summer in London. Absalon's victory was his third at Houffalize.

"Houffalize is incredible, all the spectators, lots of fans from France and Belgium behind me, so maybe that is why I push like this," said Absalon. "I am really happy because it is always special to win in Houffalize."

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower), the winner of round one last month in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, jumped out in front on the opening start lap, but Absalon bridged up to him on the first of five laps and then set the pace on all the remaining climbs as the duo distanced themselves from the rest of the field.

Initially, Schurter and Absalon were joined by Manuel Fumic (Cannondale), Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) and Burry Stander (Specialized), but the others could not match the pace of the two top riders and fell back. 

Schurter was clearly riding the descents better, opening gaps every time, but Absalon would always close them. For Absalon, this was a problem - the final tricky descent before the paved finish straight was less than 200 metres from the line. Clearly, he had to drop Schurter before that last downhill.

"Nino was so fast on that last downhill," said Absalon. "I saw his line that he kept on taking, and after that I did the same (line). I knew there was no chance to win the sprint, because on that downhill he took maybe 20 metres each lap, so that is why I attacked before."

"I was feeling good, but I was thinking: 'Okay, I need to attack Nino before the last lap, because I know he is always strong on the last lap'. I knew there was no chance to win because I knew he is faster than me on the last downhill. So my tactic was to go before that, so I attacked on the climbs of the fifth lap."

Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory) took third, just ahead of Burry Stander (Specialized).  Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) completed the podium in fifth place.

World champion Kulhavy had a tough day and fell back mid-race.  He started to feel better near the end and move back up, but a flat tire brought those efforts to a halt.

Schurter continues to lead the World Cup with 450 points, followed by Absalon at 400 points. Stander sits in third place with 350 points.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing Team 1:30:22  
2 Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 0:00:38  
3 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:01:03  
4 Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing 0:01:20  
5 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:01:34  
6 Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 0:02:17  
7 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi 0:02:23  
8 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) 0:02:34  
9 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:02:38  
10 Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 0:02:47  
11 Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing 0:03:05  
12 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing 0:03:15  
13 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing 0:03:32  
14 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry 0:03:58  
15 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:04:04  
16 Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 0:04:10  
17 Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:04:20  
18 Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:04:26  
19 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing 0:04:28  
20 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 0:04:34  
21 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team 0:05:03  
22 Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 0:05:06  
23 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 0:05:16  
24 Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing 0:05:25  
25 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 0:05:32  
26 Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:05:36  
27 Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi 0:05:38  
28 Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 0:05:42  
29 Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:05:44  
30 Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing 0:05:46  
31 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:05:53  
32 Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 0:06:05  
33 Sven Nys (Bel) 0:06:20  
34 Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team 0:06:29  
35 Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix 0:06:34  
36 Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:06:37  
37 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek    
38 Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team 0:06:45  
39 Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team 0:06:51  
40 Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Roxracing 0:06:57  
41 Jiri Novak (Cze) 0:06:58  
42 Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec 0:07:06  
43 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International 0:07:16  
44 Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team 0:07:21  
45 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing 0:07:22  
46 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:07:24  
47 Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team 0:07:44  
48 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team 0:07:53  
49 Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:08:10  
50 Piotr Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team 0:08:18  
51 Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - Corratec 0:08:23  
52 Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 0:08:25  
53 Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:08:37  
54 Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:08:39  
55 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix 0:08:42  
56 Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D. 0:08:44  
57 Martino Fruet (Ita) 0:08:52  
58 David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)    
59 Max Plaxton (Can) 0:08:58  
60 Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 0:09:02  
61 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing 0:09:10  
62 Robby De Bock (Bel) 0:09:17  
63 Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 0:09:21  
64 Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea Racing Team 0:09:27  
65 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 0:09:28  
66 Martin Loo (Est) Hard Rock Canossa Merida 0:09:38  
67 Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 0:09:43  
68 Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus Mig Team    
69 Hannes Metzler (Aut) 0:09:44  
70 Hans Becking (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team 0:10:02  
71 Kristian Hynek (Cze) 0:10:08  
72 Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team 0:10:09  
73 Marc Colom (Fra) Team Newcycling 0:10:15  
74 Klaus Nielsen (Den) 0:10:18  
75 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 0:10:24  
76 Michal Lami (Svk) 0:10:35  
77 Dariusz Batek (Pol) 0:10:38  
78 Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour 0:10:51  
79 Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team 0:11:02  
80 Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Lapierre International 0:11:09  
81 Giancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team 0:11:19  
82 Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet 0:11:22  
83 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru - Trek 0:11:33  
84 Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop 0:11:39  
85 Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet 0:11:43  
86 Alexis Chenevier (Fra) Scott Les Saisies 0:11:51  
87 Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona 0:11:57  
88 Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour 0:11:58  
89 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 0:12:00  
90 Filip Eberl (Cze) 0:12:04  
91 Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3Roxracing 0:12:05  
92 Andy Eyring (Ger)    
93 Andras Parti (Hun) 0:12:06  
94 David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey-Cannondale 0:12:21  
95 Tim Wynants (Bel) Milka Brentjens MTB Racing Team 0:12:22  
96 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team 0:12:34  
97 Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) 0:12:45  
98 Tiago Jorge Oliveira Ferreira (Por) Bi&Esse - Infotre Protek 0:12:46  
99 Daniel Eymann (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team    
100 Frank Beemer (Ned) 0:12:49  
101 Bjorn Brems (Bel) 0:12:50  
102 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 0:13:09  
103 Markus Bauer (Ger) 0:13:25  
104 Irjan Luttenberg (Ned) 0:13:41  
105 Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Team Newcycling 0:13:48  
106 Periklis Ilias (Gre) Team Protek 0:13:50  
107 Pascal Meyer (Swi) 0:14:13  
108 Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita) 0:14:15  
109 Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) 0:14:19  
110 Fredrik Edin (Swe) 0:14:20  
111 Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team 0:14:24  
112 Lee Williams (GBr) 0:14:34  
113 Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team 0:15:56  
114 Robert Gehbauer (Aut) 0:16:55  
-1lap Ole Christian Fagerli (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet    
-1lap Sang Hoon Na (Kor)    
-1lap Frank Schotman (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team    
-1lap Tim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team    
-1lap Severin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team    
-1lap Davy Huygens (Bel)    
-1lap Steffen Thum (Ger)    
-1lap Patrick Gaudy (Bel)    
-1lap Jimmy Tielens (Bel)    
-1lap Seiya Hirano (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team    
-1lap Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)    
-1lap Pascal Hossay (Bel) Merida Wallonie Mountain Bike Team    
-1lap Michael Broderick (USA)    
-1lap Paul Oldham (GBr)    
-1lap Kazuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn)    
-1lap Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team    
-1lap Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team    
-1lap Rafal Alchimowiz (Pol)    
-2laps Marios Athanasiadis (Cyp)    
-2laps Christopher Maletz (Ger)    
-2laps Abdulkadir Kelleci (Tur)    
-2laps Jonas Baumann (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team    
-2laps John Whittington (GBr)    
-2laps Mariusz Gil (Pol)    
-2laps Vitalii Zubchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team    
-2laps Marco Schätzing (Ger)    
-3laps Ruben Almeida (Por)    
-3laps Dennis Ebert (Ned)    
-3laps Marc Metzler (Swi)    
-3laps Matthias Waldhart (Aut)    
-3laps Bostjan Hribovsek (Slo)    
-3laps Giorgos Fattas (Cyp)    
DNF Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)    
DNF Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team    
DNF Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team    
DNF Tomasz Drozdz (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team    
DNF Weisong Tong (Chn)    
DNF Rafal Hebisz (Pol)    
DNF Lukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets    
DNF David Collins (GBr)    
DNF Miha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.Com    
DNF Matthias Wengelin (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet    
DNF Jorgen Flion (Bel)    
DNF Przemyslaw Ebertowski (Pol)    
DNS Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Notebooksbilliger.De Team    
DNS Brian Lopes (USA)    
Teams
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Cannondale Factory Racing 74  pts
2 Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 61  
3 Specialized Racing 61  
4 Orbea Racing Team 50  
5 Multivan Merida Biking Team 43  
6 Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 35  
7 TX Active Bianchi 28  
8 Trek World Racing 25  
9 Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 24  
10 Scott-3Roxracing 20  
11 BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry 17  
12 BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 13  
13 Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 8  
14 Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 6  
15 Giant Factory Off-Road Team 2  
Elite men World Cup standings after two rounds
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 450  pts
2 Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing Team 400  
3 Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing 350  
4 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing 300  
5 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing 260  
6 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi 230  
7 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing 225  
8 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 220  
9 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing 210  
10 Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 180  
11 Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 160  
12 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry 158  
13 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing 144  
14 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team 142  
15 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) 139  
16 Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team 136  
17 Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 130  
18 Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 130  
19 Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing 128  
20 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 128  
21 Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 124  
22 Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing 124  
23 Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing 122  
24 Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 120  
25 Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 118  
26 Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing 106  
27 Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec 100  
28 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 98  
29 Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team 95  
30 Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi 88  
31 Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team 83  
32 Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 82  
33 Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Roxracing 76  
34 Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix 74  
35 Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team 68  
36 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 65  
37 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 60  
38 Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 58  
39 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek 58  
40 Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team 57  
41 Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 56  
42 Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 56  
43 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix 53  
44 Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 50  
45 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International 49  
46 Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team 48  
47 Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour 46  
48 Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - Corratec 45  
49 Piotr Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team 41  
50 Sven Nys (Bel) 40  
51 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 40  
52 Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team 38  
53 Max Plaxton (Can) 34  
54 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team 30  
55 Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 30  
56 Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 29  
57 Jiri Novak (Cze) 27  
58 Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 24  
59 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing 23  
60 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team 20  
61 Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team 20  
62 Philip Buys (RSA) 17  
63 Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team 16  
64 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 16  
65 Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop 14  
66 Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 13  
67 Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D. 12  
68 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) 12  
69 Martino Fruet (Ita) 11  
70 David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por) 10  
71 Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team 10  
72 Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 8  
Team World Cup standings after two rounds
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Specialized Racing 140  pts
2 Cannondale Factory Racing 132  
3 Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 101  
4 Multivan Merida Biking Team 99  
5 Orbea Racing Team 94  
6 Trek World Racing 64  
7 Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 63  
8 TX Active Bianchi 51  
9 Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team 39  
10 BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry 35  
11 BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 33  
12 Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing 29  
13 Scott-3Roxracing 22  
14 Elettroveneta - Corratec 15  
15 Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized 8  
16 S&H Superior MTB Team 5  
17 Giant Factory Off-Road Team 2  
18 Giant Swiss SR - Suntour 1