Wloszczowska pleased with start to her season

After two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, former cross country world champion Maja Wloszczowska (CCC Polkowice) is tied on points in the standings with Catharine Pendrel (Luna), although Pendrel is officially ranked first due to her more recent win.

Wloszczowska was content with her third place finish in the cross country at the Houffalize round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday. It came one month after she won the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.

"I am definitely satisfied. Before the start I had assumed that it would be perfect if I managed to end up among the best five riders. The course in Houffalize did not suit me, and my legs felt poorly during recent training. That is why the third place is an excellent result. I have never had such a beginning of the season."

Wloszczowska got off to a rough start in Houffalize after a minor collision with Eva Lechner. The Polish rider had to dismount and walk the first uphill. "Around 20 riders passed me. I must admit that it clipped my wings, the more so because I had started not too badly. Well, it happens... Unfortunately, in the first kilometre of the race, such a situation is normal in cross country."

As the race progressed, Wloszczowska rode steadily and looked strong. She briefly got away from rival Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank), but after the French woman caught her, Wloszczowska decided to save her strength for the final lap.

"During the race, I saw that I had some advantage in long uphill stretches and on such a one, I attacked, in the last lap. So in the final part of the race, I just tried to make a use of the advantage that I had noticed before. In South Africa, my advantage was on the downhill stretches; here it was on the long uphills."

Wloszczowska was especially encouraged with her results because it meant she'd overcome a sore throat and some problems with her feet.

To prepare for the next World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech in mid-May, Wloszczowska will head to Spain for a training camp. The Czech World Cup will be relative close to home, and she is hoping her fans from back home in Poland will come out to cheer.

However, the World Cup is not her priority; she is focusing on the 2012 London Olympic Games as her top objective this season.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.