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Klemencic, Markt lead Sunshine Cup with one round remaining

The start of the men's cross country race in Amathous

The start of the men's cross country race in Amathous (Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)

The final round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup is set for the ancient village of Amathous on Sunday, March 6. That's when and where Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz will open her mountain bike season. She'll race Lene Byberg, Annika Langvad and Blaza Klemencic. In the men's race, Emil Lindgren will try again to go for his first victory over top picks Jaroslav Kulhavy and Karl Markt.

Spitz just arrived in Cyprus to kick off her competitive season. For years, she's been coming to the Mediterranean island. After taking part in the cyclo-cross world championships, Spitz took a break and is back to racing on a mountain bike.

Spitz's Central Haibike teammates Elisabeth Brandau, Terezea Hurikova and Kathrin Stirnemann will also be racing. Hurikova is fresh off two months of training in Arizona in the United States.

Langvad, Byberg and Sunshine Cup overall standings leader Klemencic are the favorites heading into Sunday. Langvad was the strongest woman in the first two stages of the Afxentia race last weekend, but due to an unfortunate organizational mistake, she missed the start and the chance for the overall win.

Emil Lindgren had his share of bad luck in the men's Sunshine Cup. The Swede lost his chance at round one in Voroklini on the last lap due to a mistake while riding in the lead together with eventual winner Karl Markt. At the Afxentia time trial, he missed the win only by 1.5 seconds and then on the second stage, he was leading by about 30 seconds with six kilometers to go when he punctured and the had to finish the race on the rim of his front wheel (in 12th position). He came close to success in the final stage of Afxentia when he finished second behind Kulhavy by a mere 10 seconds.

"I will go full gas again," said Lindgren, giving notice that he would rather not leave Cyprus without what would be his first win of the season.

Some of the other favorites in the men's race include Kulhavy and Markt, who is leading the Sunshine Cup overall standings. Fabian Giger and Henk-Jaap Moorlag are other podium contenders along Thomas Litscher, who will be starting his first mountain bike race of the year.

Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall standings after 2 of 3 rounds

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Felt Ötztal X-Bionic180pts
2Rie Katayama (Jpn) Specialized145
3Anne Terpstra (Ned) MPL Specialized145
4Laura Turpjin (Ned) Dutch National Team136
5Iana Belomoyna (Ukr) Info Tre BI ESSE122

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Ötztal X-Bionic200pts
2Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank-Giant165
3Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant165
4Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized150
5Periklis Ilias (Gre) Protek142
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