Van Der Heijden solos to U23 victory in Mont-Sainte-Anne

Kerschbaumer rides to second place ahead of Schulte-Luenzum

Michiel Van der Heijden (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) soloed to victory in the Under-23 men's cross country race at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup on Saturday morning. Gerhard Kerschbaumer (TX Active Bianchi) rode on his own into second place while Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus MIG Team) was third.

"I was so motivated today to win this race because two years ago, I won the junior world championships here, and I love the track," said Van Der Heijden. "Last year, I was not here and I was really looking forward to coming back. Today, I felt great and the course was super - it was a perfect day."

Four men started out in the lead including Julian Schelb, Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus MIG Team), Ondrej Cink (Merida Biking Team) and Gerhard Kerschbaumer (TX Active Bianchi). Van Der Heijden was not far behind and soon moved up.

Cink dropped out of the mix after he crashed on a downhill rock garden and had a related mechanical. He did not finish.

Schelb had string of misfortunes but managed to finish in 11th. "It was not so good. I was in second behind Kerschbaumer, and then I had chainsuck in a rock garden and crashed," said Schelb. "I banged up my knee. After that I lost some air in my tire and crashed again."

Van der Heijden moved up to the front with Kerschbaumer and the two battled for the lead until a decisive moment when the Italian crashed on the third lap.

"In a technical section, I crashed and he got by me and got a gap," said Kerschbaumer, who was named on the Italian Olympic team. "The race was very hard and very technical. I like this race." He is especially looking forward to next weekend's race in Windham, where he won last year.

Once Van der Heijden got the lead, he never looked back. "On the last lap just before the long downhill before the feedzone, I took over from Gerhard. I immediately got a gap and kept on pushing."

Third place finisher Schulte-Luenzum was happy to see his form coming on just as he had planned for this season. "I took a week off after La Bresse and have been building up ever since. You never know what you're form will be like after a break, but I got lucky and it worked. There were tough conditions today - slippery. You had to be very concentrated and not go over your limit. I think my tactic was good ... to find my rhythm and stick to that." He flatted in the last lap, but called it a "lucky flat" as he was just 1km from the finish and did not lose any placings.

Ruben Scheire (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) finished fourth ahead of James Reid in fifth.

"It was good. I haven't had much cross country racing lately. Coming from South Africa, it's hard to gauge where you are," said Reid in his second top-five World Cup finish of his career. "I felt good on the first lap - the start loop suited me. I just felt better from there. I was excited. I follow these guys and track them and to race with them is exciting."

Russell Finsterwald (Subaru - Trek) put in the top North American performance with a 10th place.

"I'm really stoked. Each lap, I'd pick off two or three people. After the first lap, I was 20th, and I just kept it together and kept moving up throughout the race."

"I felt good, and this is one of my favorite courses because there is more than just a fitness element. There is a lot of technical stuff out there. It's fun to have that in the mix. It's good for me." Finsterwald was eighth at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup last year.

Alexander Gehbauer continues to lead the World Cup standings with 310 points after five rounds while Cink remains in second with 270 points.  With his win today, Van der Heijden moved up to third spot, now with 265 points.

Full Results

U23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 1:26:57  
2 Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) TX Active Bianchi 0:00:34  
3 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus MIG Team 0:01:49  
4 Ruben Scheire (Bel) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry 0:02:10  
5 James Reid (RSA) 0:03:01  
6 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) 0:03:32  
7 Mirco Widmer (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour 0:03:39  
8 Kenta Gallagher (GBr) 0:03:54  
9 Reto Indergand (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:04:17  
10 Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru - Trek 0:04:44  
11 Julian Schelb (Ger) 0:05:06  
12 Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team    
13 Evan Guthrie (Can) 0:05:27  
14 Gregor Raggl (Aut) 0:05:48  
15 Olof Jonsson (Swe) Team Fujibikes Rockets 0:05:51  
16 Emilien Barben (Swi) 0:05:58  
17 Mitchell Bailey (Can) 0:06:14  
18 Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Factory Team 0:07:02  
19 Andrey Fonseca (CRc) 0:07:21  
20 Jack Haig (Aus) 0:07:29  
21 Kerry Werner (USA) 0:07:37  
22 Leandre Bouchard (Can) 0:07:46  
23 Zsolt Juhasz (Hun) 0:08:13  
24 Antoine Caron (Can) 0:08:26  
25 Hilvar Yamid Malaver (Col) 0:08:59  
26 Andrew L'esperance (Can) 0:09:13  
27 Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing 0:09:22  
28 Lukas Loretz (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour 0:10:03  
29 Patrick Chartrand (Can) 0:10:25  
30 Luke Roberts (RSA) 0:10:27  
31 Steven Noble (Can) 0:10:59  
32 Evan Mcneely (Can) 0:11:10  
33 Diyer Rincon (Col) 0:11:47  
34 Brad Hudson (NZl) 0:12:22  
35 Skyler Trujillo (USA) 0:14:17  
36 Sebastian Batchelor (GBr) 0:14:31  
37 Tom Bradshaw (NZl) 0:15:50  
38 Roger Walder (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team 0:16:29  
39 Varga Daniel (Can) 0:16:56  
40 Samuel Tremblay (Can) 0:17:50  
41 Alex Lavertu (Can) 0:18:04  
42 Cole Oberman (USA)    
DNF Jeremy Martin (Can)    
DNF Seamus Powell (USA)    
DNF Mathew Waghorn (NZl)    
DNF Rourke Croeser (RSA) Orange Monkey-Cannondale    
DNF Felix Wilberg (Can)    
DNF Ondrej Cink (Cze) Merida Biking Team    
DNF Philippe Depault (Can)    
DNS Luis Rojas (Arg)    
U23 men World Cup standings after five rounds
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alexander Gehbauer (Aut) 310  pts
2 Ondrej Cink (Cze) 270  
3 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) 265  
4 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) 257  
5 Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) 247  
6 Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) 127  
7 Ruben Scheire (Bel) 126  
8 Daniele Braidot (Ita) 114  
9 Julian Schelb (Ger) 110  
10 James Reid (RSA) 90  
11 Nicholas Pettina (Ita) 77  
12 Christian Pfäffle (Ger) 57  
13 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) 55  
14 Mirco Widmer (Swi) 52  
15 Jeff Luyten (Bel) 51  
16 Olof Jonsson (Swe) 43  
17 Kenta Gallagher (GBr) 39  
18 Hugo Drechou (Fra) 39  
19 Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa) 37  
20 Reto Indergand (Swi) 36  
21 Didier Bats (Bel) 34  
22 Marek Rauchfuss (Cze) 33  
23 Gregor Raggl (Aut) 32  
24 Jonas De Backer (Bel) 31  
25 Jordan Sarrou (Fra) 29  
26 Bart De Vocht (Bel) 27  
27 Russell Finsterwald (USA) 26  
28 Zsolt Juhasz (Hun) 25  
29 Maxime Urruty (Fra) 24  
30 Marvin Gruget (Fra) 23  
31 Rourke Croeser (RSA) 21  
32 Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (Col) 20  
33 Jan Nesvadba (Cze) 18  
34 Evan Guthrie (Can) 16  
35 Martin Gluth (Ger) 15  
36 Dirk Peters (NZl) 14  
37 Roger Walder (Swi) 12  
38 Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr) 11  
39 Emilien Barben (Swi) 10  
40 Mitchell Bailey (Can) 9  
41 Fabrice Mels (Bel) 8  
42 Ivan Smirnov (Rus) 8  
43 Andrey Fonseca (CRc) 7  
44 Truls Engen Korsaeth (Nor) 7  
45 Grant Ferguson (GBr) 7  
46 Jack Haig (Aus) 6  
47 Kerry Werner (USA) 5  
48 Tomas Paprstka (Cze) 5  
49 Sebastian Batchelor (GBr) 5  
50 Leandre Bouchard (Can) 4  
51 Marcel Fleschhut (Ger) 4  
52 Luke Roberts (RSA) 4  
53 Lukas Loretz (Swi) 3  
54 Luca Braidot (Ita) 3  
55 Antoine Caron (Can) 2  
56 Pavel Priadein (Rus) 2  
57 Julien Trarieux (Fra) 2  
58 Hilvar Yamid Malaver (Col) 1  


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