Eliminator world champion Alexandra Engen and German national champion Manuel Fumic are among the racers who will compete at the opening round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup in Voroklini on February 23.
Engen is a Cyprus Sunshine Cup regular. The 25-year-old Swede has previously kicked off her season on Cyprus as she gets her legs back into racing mode. However, last year, Engen had some bad luck, injuring her wrist in a crash that put her chances of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games at risk.
The injury didn't hold back Engen for long, and in London, she finished in sixth place. Four weeks later, the Ghost Factory Racing rider celebrated her biggest career win to date by taking victory in the first-ever eliminator world championship in Saalfelden, Austria.
Engen will race all three rounds of the Sunshine Cup in 2013. She'll be joined by two of her teammates, Katrin Leumann of Switzerland and Elisabeth Osl of Austria, at round 2, the Afxentia stage race, and at round 3 at Amathous. Leumann is a former European champion and Osl has previously won a World Cup.
Fumic takes on Kulhavy
Last year, Fumic raced Jaroslav Kulhavy, maintaining contact with him for awhile at the Voroklini round before he crashed and ended up finishing fourth.
This year, Fumic will again race the opener in Voroklini, and like Kulhavy, the German is also using the event to prepare for his first-ever Cape Epic mountain bike stage race participation in March.
Fumic will arrive in Cyprus with his two U23 Cannondale Factory Racing teammates, Anton Cooper of New Zealand and Keegan Swenson of the United States. 2012 junior world champ Cooper has already been busy racing at home in New Zealand, where this weekend in Hunua, he beat all the elite men.
2013 Sunshine Cup
February 23: Voroklini (C1)
March 1 to 3: Afxentia Macheras Mountains (SHC)
March 10: Amathous-Agios-Tychon (C1)