World champion Kulhavy confirms return to Cyprus Sunshine Cup

Cross country world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) confirmed that he will race the 2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup next month. For the past five years, Kulhavy has commenced his international racing season in Cyprus, and he sees no reason to change a winning formula.

"The races give us the chance to test my form and the bike," he said a year ago at the start to what became both a World Cup winning and world championship winning season. He also claimed the European championship title in 2011.

Kulhavy will be joined by other top male talent including U23 world champion Thomas Litscher (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic), Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak-Ergon), former marathon world champion Alban Lakata (Topeak-Ergon), Trans Zollernalb winner Robert Mennen (Topeak-Ergon) and Karl Markt (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic).

Marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Fuji-Bikes Rockets), Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing), Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon), Adelheid Morath (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) and Blaza Klemencic (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) are committed for the women's contest. Klemencic won the Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall in 2011.

Some of the riders, like Engen and Langvad, will be at the series to scoop up valuable UCI points with the goal of qualifying their nations and themselves for the Olympic teams.

Bresset cancels her registration

Meanwhile World Cup overall winner Julie Bresset cancelled her expected first visit to Cyprus. After having been registered by her team manager Pierre Lebreton, she decided to stay at home instead. Lebreton said "sorry" to the organizer for Bresset's change of plans, but confirmed the participation of the other BH SR Suntour top rider Maxime Marotte.

"It's a pity. We would have appreciated having Julie here on Cyprus for the first time. But I understand, at the beginning of an Olympic season, athletes are very careful with new experiences. Despite of her cancellation, we are proud to have a lot of pretty good riders on the list. Alone there are three reigning world champions," said organizer Mike Hadjioannou.

Financial problems challenge organizers

Hadjioannou noted that the quality of the race's field was especially important in light of recent financial problems.

"It is important for us that we keep this high level of competition despite the financial problems that we face at the moment due to the international crisis," he said. Recently our main sponsors have reduced their sponsorship of the Sunshine Cup. This will not affect the quality of the races and we will strive to get the best results out of it."

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