Paulissen to meet Kessiakoff at Sunshine Cup opener

Fredrik Kessiakoff leads Roel Paulissen

Fredrik Kessiakoff leads Roel Paulissen (Image credit: Bikin' Cyprus)

Quartet of favourites in women's competition

Anticipation of the beginning of the international European race season comes to end Saturday when Tochni starters fire the gun to kick off the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2008. In the first of five cross-country races, former team-mates Fredrik Kessiakoff (Full Dynamix) and Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein) will go head to head while in the women's race Elisabeth Osl, Ivonne Kraft, Petra Henzi and Heather Irmiger will fight for victory.

The Mediterranean Island draws annually an interesting, high-level field for some early season training and racing in good weather. Adding to the talent in the men's race will be American Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and two German Cape Epic winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. Swiss rider Andreas Kugler, who last year grabbed one victory Sunshine Cup victory, could also help mix it up along with Swede Emil Lindgren, Ukrainian Sergey Rysenko, and Austrian Karl Markt. Local Team Bikin' Cyprus rider Christof Bischof of Switzerland wants to be present in the front group, too.

"We are ready for take off. The weather forecast says dry and warm conditions," said chief organizer Mike Hadjioannou. For more info, visit

On Saturday at the same time and on the same course, the Kärcher German Bike Masters series will open its season with a sort of away game. The marathon riders have to go one more small lap before reaching the finish line. For more info, visit

Sunshine Cup 2008
February 23: Tochni Village (XCM)
February 29: Mantra-Kionia-Mantra (XCM) (also Afxentia stage #1)
March 2: Mantra tou kampiou (XC) (also Afxentia stage #3)
March 9: Voroklini (XCM)
March 16: Limassol-Yermasogia (XC)

German Bike Masters 2008
February 23: Sunshine Cup
May 25: Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Then follows
June 29: Frammersbach
July 13: Bad Wildbad
August 17: Neustadt a.d.W.
October 5: Münsingen

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