By Luke Webber in Offenburg, Germany
Irina Kalentieva, World Champion showed she is back on top of the UCI's World Cup following an emphatic victory Sunday in Offenburg, Germany, for round two. In the men's race, Julien Absalon rode away from the field without effort - underlying his class and dominance when it comes to men's cross country racing.
In the women's race, America's Georgia Gould led out from the start. Soon a group of four emerged, containing Marga Fullana, Kalentieva, Marie Helene Premont and Ying Liu. Gould would pay the price for her early effort followed by Liu then Fullana coming off the leaders' pace.
That left Premont and Kalentieva to do battle and the World Champion got a slight gap from which she attacked to open a lead through the fifth and final lap. She won by 33 seconds over Premont who was pleasantly surprised with her form. With her win, Kalentieva took over the series lead from Chenguyan, who crashed hard, but still finished the race.
In the men's race, a long queue of riders formed before the first singletrack. An additional start loop was not enough to spread the 230-strong field and for the first lap at least a group of twenty riders headed the race, including all of the favourites.
The start was not Absalon's strongest, but by halfway through the first full 5km lap he was back taking control of the race. Here the main challengers emerged, along with a few less familiar faces that soon paid for their early exertions. After three laps it was easy to see what sort of race was shaping up.
A lead group containing Absalon, Hermida, Nino Schurter, Florian Vogel and Christoph Sauser controlled the race while behind Adam Craig was flying just moments away from the top spots. Just as he was about to bridge however, Absalon put his plans forward and such was his pace, nobody could give any more. In less than two hours Absalon had managed to put a minute into the chasers as he went onto a solo victory with a margin of 51 seconds.
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