Absalon back to winning ways in Houffalize

Frenchman rides tactical race to beat Schurter

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) TeamResult
1Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing Team1:30:22 
2Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:00:38 
3Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:03 
4Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing0:01:20 
5Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:34 
6Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:02:17 
7Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi0:02:23 
8Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra)0:02:34 
9José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:02:38 
10Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:02:47 
11Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:03:05 
12Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:03:15 
13Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:03:32 
14Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry0:03:58 
15Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:04 
16Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:04:10 
17Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:04:20 
18Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:04:26 
19Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing0:04:28 
20Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:04:34 
21Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team0:05:03 
22Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:05:06 
23Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized0:05:16 
24Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:05:25 
25Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:05:32 
26Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:05:36 
27Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:05:38 
28Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:05:42 
29Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:05:44 
30Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing0:05:46 
31Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:05:53 
32Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:06:05 
33Sven Nys (Bel)0:06:20 
34Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team0:06:29 
35Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix0:06:34 
36Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:06:37 
37Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek  
38Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team0:06:45 
39Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:06:51 
40Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:06:57 
41Jiri Novak (Cze)0:06:58 
42Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec0:07:06 
43Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International0:07:16 
44Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:07:21 
45Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:07:22 
46Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:07:24 
47Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:07:44 
48Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team0:07:53 
49Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:08:10 
50Piotr Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team0:08:18 
51Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - Corratec0:08:23 
52Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:08:25 
53Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:08:37 
54Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:08:39 
55Cédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix0:08:42 
56Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.0:08:44 
57Martino Fruet (Ita)0:08:52 
58David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)  
59Max Plaxton (Can)0:08:58 
60Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized0:09:02 
61Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:09:10 
62Robby De Bock (Bel)0:09:17 
63Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)0:09:21 
64Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea Racing Team0:09:27 
65Christoph Soukup (Aut)0:09:28 
66Martin Loo (Est) Hard Rock Canossa Merida0:09:38 
67Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:09:43 
68Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus Mig Team  
69Hannes Metzler (Aut)0:09:44 
70Hans Becking (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team0:10:02 
71Kristian Hynek (Cze)0:10:08 
72Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team0:10:09 
73Marc Colom (Fra) Team Newcycling0:10:15 
74Klaus Nielsen (Den)0:10:18 
75Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:10:24 
76Michal Lami (Svk)0:10:35 
77Dariusz Batek (Pol)0:10:38 
78Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour0:10:51 
79Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team0:11:02 
80Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Lapierre International0:11:09 
81Giancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team0:11:19 
82Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet0:11:22 
83Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru - Trek0:11:33 
84Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:11:39 
85Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet0:11:43 
86Alexis Chenevier (Fra) Scott Les Saisies0:11:51 
87Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona0:11:57 
88Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour0:11:58 
89Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls0:12:00 
90Filip Eberl (Cze)0:12:04 
91Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:12:05 
92Andy Eyring (Ger)  
93Andras Parti (Hun)0:12:06 
94David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey-Cannondale0:12:21 
95Tim Wynants (Bel) Milka Brentjens MTB Racing Team0:12:22 
96Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team0:12:34 
97Oliver Beckingsale (GBr)0:12:45 
98Tiago Jorge Oliveira Ferreira (Por) Bi&Esse - Infotre Protek0:12:46 
99Daniel Eymann (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team  
100Frank Beemer (Ned)0:12:49 
101Bjorn Brems (Bel)0:12:50 
102Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:13:09 
103Markus Bauer (Ger)0:13:25 
104Irjan Luttenberg (Ned)0:13:41 
105Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Team Newcycling0:13:48 
106Periklis Ilias (Gre) Team Protek0:13:50 
107Pascal Meyer (Swi)0:14:13 
108Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita)0:14:15 
109Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)0:14:19 
110Fredrik Edin (Swe)0:14:20 
111Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team0:14:24 
112Lee Williams (GBr)0:14:34 
113Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team0:15:56 
114Robert Gehbauer (Aut)0:16:55 
-1lapOle Christian Fagerli (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet  
-1lapSang Hoon Na (Kor)  
-1lapFrank Schotman (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team  
-1lapTim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team  
-1lapSeverin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team  
-1lapDavy Huygens (Bel)  
-1lapSteffen Thum (Ger)  
-1lapPatrick Gaudy (Bel)  
-1lapJimmy Tielens (Bel)  
-1lapSeiya Hirano (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team  
-1lapBenjamin Sonntag (Ger)  
-1lapPascal Hossay (Bel) Merida Wallonie Mountain Bike Team  
-1lapMichael Broderick (USA)  
-1lapPaul Oldham (GBr)  
-1lapKazuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn)  
-1lapAdam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team  
-1lapSepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team  
-1lapRafal Alchimowiz (Pol)  
-2lapsMarios Athanasiadis (Cyp)  
-2lapsChristopher Maletz (Ger)  
-2lapsAbdulkadir Kelleci (Tur)  
-2lapsJonas Baumann (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team  
-2lapsJohn Whittington (GBr)  
-2lapsMariusz Gil (Pol)  
-2lapsVitalii Zubchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team  
-2lapsMarco Schätzing (Ger)  
-3lapsRuben Almeida (Por)  
-3lapsDennis Ebert (Ned)  
-3lapsMarc Metzler (Swi)  
-3lapsMatthias Waldhart (Aut)  
-3lapsBostjan Hribovsek (Slo)  
-3lapsGiorgos Fattas (Cyp)  
DNFNicola Rohrbach (Swi)  
DNFSimon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team  
DNFRalph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team  
DNFTomasz Drozdz (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team  
DNFWeisong Tong (Chn)  
DNFRafal Hebisz (Pol)  
DNFLukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets  
DNFDavid Collins (GBr)  
DNFMiha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.Com  
DNFMatthias Wengelin (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet  
DNFJorgen Flion (Bel)  
DNFPrzemyslaw Ebertowski (Pol)  
DNSDaniel Federspiel (Aut) Notebooksbilliger.De Team  
DNSBrian Lopes (USA)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cannondale Factory Racing74 pts
2Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team61 
3Specialized Racing61 
4Orbea Racing Team50 
5Multivan Merida Biking Team43 
6Rabobank Giant Offroad Team35 
7TX Active Bianchi28 
8Trek World Racing25 
9Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team24 
11BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry17 
12BMC Mountainbike Racing Team13 
13Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized8 
14Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing6 
15Giant Factory Off-Road Team2 
Elite men World Cup standings after two rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team450 pts
2Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing Team400 
3Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing350 
4Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing300 
5Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing260 
6Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi230 
7Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing225 
8José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team220 
9Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing210 
10Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team180 
11Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team160 
12Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry158 
13Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing144 
14Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team142 
15Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra)139 
16Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team136 
17Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team130 
18Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team130 
19Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing128 
20Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team128 
21Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team124 
22Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing124 
23Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing122 
24Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing120 
25Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team118 
26Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing106 
27Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec100 
28Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing98 
29Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team95 
30Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi88 
31Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team83 
32Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team82 
33Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Roxracing76 
34Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix74 
35Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team68 
36Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team65 
37Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized60 
38Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)58 
39Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek58 
40Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team57 
41Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing56 
42Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team56 
43Cédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix53 
44Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team50 
45Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International49 
46Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team48 
47Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour46 
48Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - Corratec45 
49Piotr Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team41 
50Sven Nys (Bel)40 
51Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team40 
52Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team38 
53Max Plaxton (Can)34 
54Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team30 
55Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team30 
56Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team29 
57Jiri Novak (Cze)27 
58Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team24 
59Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing23 
60Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team20 
61Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB Team20 
62Philip Buys (RSA)17 
63Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team16 
64Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team16 
65Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop14 
66Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team13 
67Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.12 
68Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)12 
69Martino Fruet (Ita)11 
70David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)10 
71Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team10 
72Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized8 
Team World Cup standings after two rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Specialized Racing140 pts
2Cannondale Factory Racing132 
3Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team101 
4Multivan Merida Biking Team99 
5Orbea Racing Team94 
6Trek World Racing64 
7Rabobank Giant Offroad Team63 
8TX Active Bianchi51 
9Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team39 
10BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry35 
11BMC Mountainbike Racing Team33 
12Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing29 
14Elettroveneta - Corratec15 
15Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized8 
16S&H Superior MTB Team5 
17Giant Factory Off-Road Team2 
18Giant Swiss SR - Suntour1 


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