American Brian Lopes took a convincing win at the first mountain bike eliminator UCI World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium, giving him World Cup victories in three disciplines - dual slalom, four cross and now eliminator.
Lopes was untouchable in the men's competition, bursting down the start ramp and opening bike lengths before the riders even hit the climb. He qualified first and then won every heat. He would lose ground a bit on the climb, but then open it back up on the descent.
Two favourites that did not make through qualifying were the Cannondale Factory team duo of Manuel Fumic and Marco Fontana. Fumic crashed on the descent, while Fontana slipped out of his pedal early on the climb, landing on his top tube.
For the final, Lopes was joined by three relatively unknown riders - Daniel Federspiel (Notebooksbilliger.de), Simon Gegenheimer (Ultra Sports Rose) and Severin Disch (Thoemus Racing). Again Lopes got a strong start, however, he lost some ground on the first corner of the climb when he had to put his foot down. It made no difference, as he soon opened up a gap again to cruise to the win, followed by Federspiel, Gegenheimer and Disch.
"Oh, I am just happy," said Lopes. "I have been training a few months for these things and it is nice when you put in a lot of hard work and it pays off. I didn't think at 40 years old I'd be racing World Cups again, but I'm back. It's nice to get a victory.
"I've been racing BMX, four cross and so on since I was four years old and my specialty has always been getting a good start, getting out in front. I gotta be honest, I was a little worried with this course, a lot of climbing, a lot more climbing in it than I was training for and a lot different than the previous test events. So when I got a little tweet message from [cross country rider] Todd Wells a few days ago, he was like 'I hope you lost some weight, cuz your gonna have to do a lotta climbing on this course', and I was like 'Whooo, we'll see. Hope I lost enough weight for yah buddy!'"
|1||Brian Lopes (USA)|
|2||Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Notebooksbilliger.de Team|
|3||Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose|
|4||Severin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team|
|5||Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team|
|6||Kenta Gallagher (GBr)|
|7||Lukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets|
|8||Tim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team|
|9||Miha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.com|
|10||Lars Forster (Swi)|
|11||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)|
|12||Emil Linde (Swe)|
|13||Stefan Peter (Swi) MTB Kader Zentralschweiz|
|14||Markus Bauer (Ger)|
|DNF||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team|
|DNF||Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)|
|17||Martin Gluth (Ger)|
|18||Mirco Widmer (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour|
|19||Julian Schelb (Ger)|
|20||Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team|
|21||Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team|
|22||Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team|
|23||Hans Becking (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team|
|24||Klaus Nielsen (Den)|
|25||Dennis Ebert (Ned)|
|26||Giancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team|
|27||Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet|
|28||Timofei Ivanov (Rus)|
|29||Fredrik Fang Liland (Nor) Merida NTG|
|30||Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour|
|31||Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team|
|32||Sondre Kristiansen (Nor) Merida NTG|