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UCI Mountain Bike World Championships 2012

Date range:
August 31 - September 9, 2012

September 07, U23 men cross country:

Cink powers to men's under 23 world championship title

Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
September 07, 2012, 14:40 BST,
September 07, 2012, 22:46 BST

Van der Heijden and Braidot collect silver and bronze medals

Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) wins the under 23 men's race at the 2012 MTB world championships

Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) wins the under 23 men's race at the 2012 MTB world championships

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Ondrej Cink won a gold medal for the Czech Republic in the under 23 men's race at the world championships in Saalfelden, Austria, on Friday afternoon. Cink, who is also the European champion, powered into the lead with just over one lap to go when he caught Michael van der Heijden (Netherlands), who had spent the middle part of the six-lap race off the front on his own.

"It's perfect, I hoped for victory today. I had concentrated on this date, and I'm happy to meet my goal," said Cink. "I didn't like the course in the beginning, but when it dried out, I was satisfied with it. The crowd was also fine, and there were a lot of Czech people who were very loud."

Daniele Braidot (Italy) raced to a bronze medal ahead of an unlucky Alexander Gehbauer (Austria) after the home crowd favorite flatted on lap four and required a wheel change. Daniele's twin brother Luca Braidot rounded out the top five.

By the start of lap 2, a lead group of four men was firmly established, including Cink, van der Heijden, Daniele Bradiot and Gehbauer. Behind them, several riders chased but could not make contact: Julian Schelb (Germany), Marek Konwa (Poland), Luca Braidot (Italy) and Jordan Sarrou (France).

Among the leaders, Cink was feeling good and biding his time while on lap three, van der Heijden was feeling good and decided to attack. He escaped alone off the front and seemed on track to take a second world championship after he first won the junior race in 2010 in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

"Before I felt strong, and I had quite a good gap," said van der Heijden. "But the last lap was too much. Maybe I went too early?"

"When Michael attacked, I thought the race is over," said Cink, "but when I saw him on the flats, I knew I could catch him and could win."

Behind van der Heijden, Gehbauer, who was with Cink chasing, was lagging on the descents. In one trip past the tech zone, the Austrian asked his crew to get a wheel ready so he could change a slowly leaking tire. Unfortunately, the wheel change which happened during the next pass through the tech zone went awry and took a relatively long time, ending his chances of a medal as he dropped back - to fourth place, where he would remain for the duration.

"I lost over a minute. I'm not happy with today," said a disappointed Gehbauer at the finish. He would not go on to win a medal in front of his home crowd although he appreciated the support. "It was amazing to race here. The people were awesome, but I did not have the best legs or the best luck. "

Van der Heijden's fatigue began to show in his body language while the chasing Cink only looked stronger and smoother as the race progressed. Toward the end of the penultimate lap, the Czech rider caught up to the Dutchman.

"When Ondrej caught me and got the gap on me on the long uphill, I couldn't hold his wheel," said van der Heijden. "I took some seconds back on the downhill, but it wasn't enough. I closed on him on the final downhill, but couldn't get back on it."

For a time, the two racers stayed together, but Cink was clearly stronger on the climbs. On the first climb of the final lap, he pulled away slightly, but van der Heijden reeled him back. However, on the second climb, Cink established enough of a lead that van der Heijden could not catch him on the final descent.

"I'm satisfied with second place, but my first reaction was a little bit of disappointment because I was so close," said van der Heijden. "I held back at first in the lead group, not doing too much work, and then attacked as I did early in other World Cups this year. Then the gaps only got bigger, and I thought maybe the same tactic would work today.

"But today, Ondrej was a bit stronger. This season he has had some very good races, and it is not too bad to lose to him, but I was so close and am a bit disappointed. Next year in Pietermaritzburg, I have another chance." In fact, he has two more years as a U23 while Cink will graduate to the elite ranks in 2013.

Daniele Braidot was delighted to get a bronze medal the day after his brother Luca helped Italy win the team relay gold.

Race note

Howard Grotts (United States) was the top North American in 16th place. "I wanted to start a little better than I did because I thought the start suited me, but it just bunched up," said Grotts. "Once I saw that, it was just picking off three or four people each lap. I'd lose a little on the descents, but I'd play it safe there so I wouldn't lose more time than I had to. I feel like I'm progressing with the categories, and I have three more years in the U23s."

Full Results

Under 23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) 1:19:40  
2 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands) 0:00:14  
3 Daniele Braidot (Italy) 0:00:48  
4 Alexander Gehbauer (Austria) 0:01:34  
5 Luca Braidot (Italy) 0:02:12  
6 Jens Schuermans (Belgium) 0:02:39  
7 Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy) 0:02:45  
8 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Germany) 0:02:57  
9 Julian Schelb (Germany) 0:03:02  
10 Nicholas Pettina (Italy) 0:03:11  
11 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 0:03:40  
12 Reto Indergand (Switzerland) 0:03:43  
13 Jordan Sarrou (France) 0:04:05  
14 Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland) 0:04:31  
15 Ruben Scheire (Belgium) 0:04:37  
16 Howard Grotts (United States Of America) 0:04:38  
17 Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands) 0:04:42  
18 Rourke Croeser (South Africa) 0:04:45  
19 Andrea Righettini (Italy) 0:04:52  
20 Marek Konwa (Poland) 0:04:58  
21 Timofei Ivanov (Russian Federation) 0:05:11  
22 Dmytro Titarenko (Ukraine) 0:05:43  
23 Zsolt Juhasz (Hungary) 0:05:51  
24 Christian Pfäffle (Germany) 0:06:18  
25 Marcel Fleschhut (Germany) 0:06:26  
26 Olof Jonsson (Sweden) 0:06:41  
27 Marek Rauchfuss (Czech Republic) 0:06:55  
28 Dirk Peters (New-Zealand) 0:07:09  
29 Leandre Bouchard (Canada) 0:07:13  
30 James Reid (South Africa) 0:07:27  
31 Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic) 0:07:31  
32 Grant Ferguson (Great Britain) 0:07:35  
33 Frederico Mariano (Brazil) 0:07:42  
34 Gregor Raggl (Austria) 0:07:43  
35 Markus Preiss (Austria)    
36 Mirco Widmer (Switzerland) 0:08:20  
37 Jonas Pedersen (Denmark) 0:08:33  
38 Ole Hem (Norway) 0:08:42  
39 Cristofer Bosque Ruano (Spain) 0:08:58  
40 Jeff Luyten (Belgium) 0:09:05  
41 Andrey Fonseca (Costa Rica) 0:09:11  
42 Kerry Werner (United States Of America) 0:09:32  
43 Sebastian Batchelor (Great Britain) 0:09:37  
44 Marvin Gruget (France) 0:09:45  
45 Didier Bats (Belgium) 0:09:48  
46 Jaime Yesid Chia Amaya (Colombia) 0:09:58  
47 Bartlomiej Wawak (Poland) 0:10:03  
48 Emilien Barben (Switzerland) 0:10:17  
49 Jeremy Martin (Canada) 0:10:34  
50 Pavel Priadein (Russian Federation) 0:10:41  
51 Mitchell Bailey (Canada)    
52 Fabian Rabensteiner (Italy) 0:10:55  
53 Mario Luis Miranda Costa (Portugal) 0:11:04  
54 Antoine Caron (Canada) 0:11:17  
55 Jack Haig (Australia) 0:11:21  
56 Ivan Smirnov (Russian Federation) 0:11:29  
57 Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (Colombia) 0:12:30  
58 Martin Gluth (Germany) 0:12:31  
59 Kenta Gallagher (Great Britain) 0:13:17  
-1lap Russell Finsterwald (United States Of America)    
-1lap Truls Engen Korsaeth (Norway)    
-1lap Evan Guthrie (Canada)    
-1lap Frantisek Lami (Slovakia)    
-1lap Franco Molina (Argentina)    
-1lap Rok Korosec (Slovenia)    
-1lap Louis Wolf (Germany)    
-1lap Manfred Zöger (Austria)    
-1lap Luke Roberts (South Africa)    
-2laps Steven James (Great Britain)    
-2laps Luiz Cocuzzi (Brazil)    
-2laps Jozef Bebcak (Slovakia)    
-2laps Michael Crosbie (Australia)    
-2laps Skyler Trujillo (United States Of America)    
-2laps German Dorhmann (Argentina)    
-2laps Hermann Pernsteiner (Austria)    
-2laps Christoph Mick (Austria)    
-2laps Dimitrios Antoniadis (Greece)    
-2laps Luis Rojas (Argentina)    
-3laps Mark Kuyan (Russian Federation)    
-3laps Gergo Meggyesi (Hungary)    
-3laps Urban Ferencak (Slovenia)    
-3laps Yoshitaka Nakahara (Japan)    
-3laps Marko Popovic (Serbia)    
-4laps Soon Woo Kwon (Republic Of Korea)    
-4laps Aleksa Maric (Serbia)    
-4laps Juan Busso (Argentina)    
-4laps Marco Francioni (San Marino)    
-4laps Daniel Hula (Slovakia)    
-5laps Filip Turk (Croatia)    
DNF Jonas De Backer (Belgium)    
DNF Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)    
DNF Lorenzo Samparisi (Italy)    
DNF Bart De Vocht (Belgium)    
DNF Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)    
DNF Mykhaylo Batsutsa (Ukraine)    
DNF Patricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (Chile)    
DNF Sturla Aune (Norway)    
DNF Tom Bradshaw (New-Zealand)    
DNF Titouan Perrin Ganier (France)    
DNF Matis Preimanis (Latvia)    
DNF Fabrice Mels (Belgium)    
DNF Andras Szatmary (Hungary)    
Rankings by nation
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Italy 294  pts
2 Germany 281  
3 Czech Republic 250  
4 Belgium 248  
5 Switzerland 247  
6 Austria 236  
7 South Africa 193  
8 United States Of America 191  
9 Netherlands 187  
10 Russian Federation 182  
11 Canada 180  
12 Great Britain 175  
13 France 149  
14 Poland 139  
15 Norway 107  
16 Hungary 103  
17 Brazil 103  
18 Colombia 103  
19 Argentina 93  
20 Slovakia 87  
21 Ukraine 81  
22 Australia 79  
23 Sweden 77  
24 New-Zealand 75  
25 Denmark 66  
26 Spain 64  
27 Costa Rica 62  
28 Slovenia 60  
29 Portugal 50  
30 Serbia 38  
31 Greece 26  
32 Japan 21  
33 Republic Of Korea 19  
34 San Marino 16  
35 Croatia 14