Six of the top 10 ranked women in the world will line up for the start of the first round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, the Afxentia mountain bike stage race, starting on February 27. Former Olympic cross country champion Sabine Spitz (Haibike), two-time marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Specialized), former cross country world champion Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC) and eliminator world champion Alexandra Engen (Ghost) are among those who will take to the start.
Spitz, who won the 2013 World Cup round in Andorra is coming with her teammates Adelheid Morath and Kathrin Stirnemann. Last year, Morath was third at Afxentia while Stirnemann went on to win a round of the eliminator World Cup.
2010 cross country world champion Maja Wloszczwoska (Giant Pro XC) regularly made the podium last year. She'll be joined by teammate Jolanda Neff, a two-time U23 world champion.
Ghost is sending Engen, who has traditionally used the race as early season training with success. Katrin Leumann, Elisabeth Osl will also be there for the Ghost team. Leumann won the Sunshine Cup overall in 2013.
Another former Sunshine Cup overall winner, Langvad, is using the race to prepare for the upcoming Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. Her teammate Tereza Hurikova will return to Cyprus, too.
Other top riders include nine-time world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), Linda Indergand (Strüby-BiXS), Nathalie Schneitter (Sui, Colnago-Südtirol), Blaza Klemencic (Feenstra Felt) and Yana Belomoyna (Betch.nl Superior Brentjens).