European mountain bike marathon champions crowned

Moritz Milatz (Germany) after the race.

Moritz Milatz (Germany) after the race. (Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)

In one of the final major races of the 2007 mountain bike season, Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) and Sabine Spitz (Germany) added European marathon championship titles to their already successful 2007 seasons. Both the men and the women tackled wet and muddy conditions over a 118km course.

Reigning marathon world champion Sauser finished a sloppy race in a time of 4:57:15 ahead of second place Christoph Soukup (Austria) by 13 seconds and ahead of Moritz Milatz (Germany) by 50 seconds.

Milatz and Sauser drove the action at the front together for much of the race while Soukoup chased. Sauser's late-race attack on a hill was too much for Milatz, who commented on the muddy course. "Conditions were everything but pleasant," said Moritz on his website. With the starting gun came rain which, after several recent days or rain, only made the already muddy conditions more so." It was the same rain that threatened the UCI Road World Championships all last week.

In the women's race, Spitz, who recently finished second in the World Mountain Bike Championship cross country race in Fort William, showed she can carry her short race fitness through over longer distances. She finished nearly seven minutes ahead of second placed Dutchwoman Arielle van Meurs. Esther Süss of Switzerland came in third.

"It is great to win the second European Championship title this year," said Spitz, who also won the European cross country championship this summer. "That is a nice end to the season and this evening I can have a drink."

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