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Kalentieva and Absalon take home Mont Sainte Anne victories

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak)

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak) (Image credit: Frank Bodenmuller)

Russian mountain bike star Irina Kalentieva took her second World Cup victory of the season and assumed the lead in the overall World Cup standings in a last lap sprint last weekend in Mont Sainte Anne in Canada.

"The course here is one of my favorites," said Kalentieva, who battled the whole race with Sabine Spitz of Germany, and new star and Chinese Olympic favorite Ren Chengyuan. On the last lap, Kalentieva put the hammer down to build a 10-second gap by the finish line, winning her second career World Cup race.

"The next race is also in Canada," continued Kalentieva, referring to the World Cup happening this Sunday, July 1 in Saint Félicien. "I'm planning on not only defending, but extending my lead so that I can become the 2007 World Cup Champion." Kalentieva has won the Russian Championships six times, and has been second and third at the World Championships.

Frenchman Julien Absalon showed his dominance again over the rest of the men's field by taking another World Cup win, but he was challenged along the way by Spain's José Hermida, who was the lone leader for almost the entire race in an attempt to add another World Cup victory to the one he already had earlier this year in Houffalize. However, Hermida could not withstand Absalon's late attack. Canada's Geoff Kabush finished third.

"I've tried my best and rode with full risk. But different than in Houffalize, it was not enough to take the victory," said Hermida afterward.

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