Vos to open mountain bike race season in Cyprus

Olympic, road and 'cross world champion Marianne Vos will race round 2 of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, the SHC-categorized Afxentia mountain bike stage race, on March 1 to 3. The Dutch woman will participate in the race while doing a training camp on the island of Cyprus.

"This is a really big honor to have Marianne Vos at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup," said Mike Hadjioannou head of the race organizing group Bikin' Cyprus.

Vos used to race her mountain bike before switching her focus for much of her elite-level racing career to road, track and cyclo-cross. She won the 2012 London Olympic road race and the road world championships in 2006 and 2012. She is the reigning 'cross world champion as of earlier this month and also has previous world titles on the track.

The only cycling discipline where she lacks a world championship medal is mountain biking. She finished fourth at the Worlds in Livigno while racing there as a junior in the cross country race in 2005.

Vos will compete on the Giant Pro Cross Country team off-road this season while also racing for the Liv/Giant Team on the road.

She will come to race in Cyprus with her young teammate, Jolanda Neff. The 20-year-old is the current U23 cross country world champion.

The Afxentia stage race spans three days and is drawing a top notch field, including three-time Olympic medal winner Sabine Spitz (Haibike) and 2011 world championship bronze medallist Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol).

It will be Lechner's first time at the Sunshine Cup, and like many riders, she is using the first two rounds to prepare for the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa. Lechner will be joined by her teammate and 2012 junior world champion Andrea Waldis.

Other fast women on the start lists in Cyprus include Alexandra Engen, Katrin Leumann, Linda Indergand, Blaza Klemencic (Calcit Bike), Adelheid Morath (Haibike) and Elisabeth Brandau (EBE Racing).

Round 1 of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup gets under way this weekend in Voroklini on February 23. Some women are racing all three rounds while others are doing just one or two.

2013 Cyprus Sunshine Cup
February 23: Voroklini (C1)
March 1 to 3: Afxentia Macheras Mountains (SHC)
March 10: Amathous-Agios-Tychon (C1)

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