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Absalon and Neff win BMC Cup in Lugano-Tesserete

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BMC Racing Team rider and French National Champion Julien Absalon will return to Pietermaritzburg with his eyes firmly set on putting behind the injury he suffered there in 2013 when the first leg of the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup season gets underway in Pietermaritzburg in mid-April

BMC Racing Team rider and French National Champion Julien Absalon will return to Pietermaritzburg with his eyes firmly set on putting behind the injury he suffered there in 2013 when the first leg of the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup season gets underway in Pietermaritzburg in mid-April (Image credit: Darren Goddard / Gameplan Media)
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Eventual winner Jolanda Neff

Eventual winner Jolanda Neff (Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück/Marius Maasewerd)

Top favorites Julien Absalon and Jolanda Neff prevailed in the second round of the BMC Racing Cup in Tesserete. In sunny weather and warm temperatures, Frenchman Absalon won the race ahead of German champion Moritz Milatz, Dutchman Michiel van der Heijden and Swiss Ralph Naef. In the women's race, Jolanda Neff outdistanced both Sabine Spitz and Adelheid Morath after a long solo ride. With 839 participants all in all, Tesserete set a new record.


One week prior to the World Cup opener in South Africa, Julien Absalon offered a convincing performance in Ticino. When BMC teammate Ralph Naef forced the pace for Absalon in the second lap, a hitherto eight-man lead group began to splinter. Then Absalon was slightly faster than Naef on the technical climb, creating a small gap between the two of them.

"I was sure to catch up to him again on the descent, but unfortunately I suffered a mechanical," said Naef. Given this situation, Absalon started his solo performance.

Quite soon another one of Absalon's BMC teammates, Moritz Milatz, rode up to second position, thus consolidating the final ranking up front.

"This is my favorite course in the BMC Cup. I really like this course, and I am very satisfied with my staying power. But it was not easy to keep Moritz at bay. Of course it's great to win a race one week before the World Cup starts," said Absalon. It was his first win in the Swiss series since 2011.

Milatz was very happy about second place, 51 seconds back. "This week I had already noticed that things were getting better every day. Today's race was great fun, but I was very careful not to get any mechanicals," said Milatz.

He was proven right in exercising this kind of cautiousness: Apart from Naef, Matthias Flueckiger (13th) and Fabian Giger (sixth) also sustained one mechanical each, whereas Thomas Litscher (fifth) had to cope with three mechanicals.

Thus Dutchman Michiel van der Heijden was offered the opportunity to move up from ninth to third position. "On the first lap, I wasn’t ready to suffer that much, but things were getting better on every additional lap," said van der Heijden.

Naef was "really happy" with fourth place. He was quite surprised. "I did not expect things to work out so well. I made the pace for Julien and then just had a puncture. After that I rode my rhythm. I feel very, very good, really,"

Multivan Merida biker Litscher said that he had "given away third place, but still won fifth place." He could not tell where he had sustained all the mechanicals. He had finally crossed the line on a flat tire.

Serial winner Jolanda Neff remained undeafeated in Tesserete. The 21-year-old from Thal took the lead in the first lap.

"I was compelled to do so," she said later and gave a stunning solo performance for an enthusiastic crowd. Finally she crossed the line 2:32 ahead of German champion Sabine Spitz.

Once again, Neff especially proved her skills in the technical sections. "Adelheid Morath took the hole shot after the start, but I overtook her at the highest point of the course because I knew that I would be faster on the downhill," siad Neff. "Somehow it always seems to come down to this move. Given all these treacherous roots it's certainly better to ride alone anyway."

Liv Giant team rider Neff got her fifth straight win in Tesserete.

Three-time Olympic medalist Spitz accepted defeat. "I tried not to overdo it, because on this kind of terrain you may quickly make a mistake. After all I am quite pleased with my performance today, and I really like this course," said Spitz.

Spitz's Haibike teammate Adelheid Morath was third, 3:02 back. She had traded attacks on two laps with Kathrin Stirnemann. "That was a cool test ride for the World Cup opener. Since I was a bit tired from training, I am very satisfied with my performance today," said Morath.

Stirnemann, however, had to surrender fourth place to two-time world champion Irina Kalentieva,who began to gain ground in the second half of the race.


Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julien Absalon (Fra)1:36:45
2Moritz Milatz (Ger)0:00:51
3Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned)0:01:22
4Ralph Naef (Swi)0:01:35
5Thomas Litscher (Swi)0:02:10
6Fabian Giger (Swi)0:03:44
7Reto Indergand (Swi)0:03:59
8Frank Beemer (Ned)0:04:08
9Kevin Panhuyzen (Bel)0:04:26
10Marc Stutzmann (Swi)0:04:52
11Daniel Eymann (Swi)0:05:06
12Matthias Stirnemann (Swi)0:05:23
13Mathias Flückiger (Swi)0:05:26
14Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)0:05:34
15Emilien Barben (Swi)0:06:22
16Fabian Paumann (Swi)0:06:35
17Jérémy Huguenin (Swi)
18Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)0:07:27
19Julian Schelb (Ger)0:07:30
20Marcel Guerrini (Swi)0:07:33
21Michael Hutter (Swi)0:07:49
22Michael Stünzi (Swi)
23Lars Forster (Swi)0:08:00
24Florian Chenaux (Swi)0:08:02
25Claude Koster (Swi)0:08:16
26Patrik Gallati (Swi)0:09:03
27Pascal Meyer (Swi)0:09:04
28Matthias Allenspach (Swi)0:09:37
29Andreas Moser (Swi)0:10:25
30Lukas Winterberg (Swi)0:10:49
31Nicolas Lüthi (Swi)0:10:58
32Jonas Baumann (Swi)0:11:04
33Dylan Page (Swi)0:11:45
34Sandro Soncin (Swi)0:11:59
35Ulisse Fieschi (Swi)0:13:33
36Florian Thie (Swi)
37Valentin Berset (Swi)0:14:15
38Severin Saegesser (Swi)0:15:38
39Romain Bannwart (Swi)0:16:32
40Sylvain Engelmann (Swi)
41Patrick Lüthi (Swi)
42Sebastian Ostertag (Swi)
43Silvio Busser (Swi)
44Ronny Koller (Swi)
45Roger Jenny (Swi)
46Stefan Peter (Swi)
47Anastasios Tsakalos (Gre)
48Giancarlo Sax (Swi)

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jolanda Neff (Swi)1:34:48
2Sabine Spitz (Ger)0:02:32
3Adelheid Morath (Ger)0:03:02
4Irina Kalentieva (Rus)0:03:54
5Corina Gantenbein (Swi)0:05:34
6Linda Indergand (Swi)0:06:43
7Michelle Hediger (Swi)0:07:52
8Annemarie Worst (Ned)0:07:58
9Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)0:08:19
10Ekateryna Anoshina (Rus)0:08:44
11Andrea Waldis (Swi)0:09:30
12Marine Groccia (Swi)0:09:55
13Hanna Klein (Ger)0:10:01
14Ramona Forchini (Swi)0:10:37
15Vera Andreeva (Rus)0:12:17
16Nadezhda Antonova (Rus)0:13:21
17Nina Wrobel (Ger)0:13:24
18Sofia Pezzatti (Swi)
19Marta Pastore (Ita)0:13:30
20Kristina Kirillova (Rus)0:15:41
21Franziska Ebinger (Swi)0:16:52
22Romaine Wenger (Swi)0:16:56
23Jennifer Kupferschmied (Swi)0:20:01
24Eliane Mueggler (Swi)0:21:00
25Chantal Eheim (Swi)0:21:22
26Chrystelle Baumann (Swi)0:21:44
27Sabrina Baumgartner (Swi)0:22:22
28Janina Wust (Swi)0:22:25
29Veronika Brüchle (Ger)0:25:32
30Cornelia Hug (Swi)
31Antonia Rödel (Ger)
32Alessia Nay (Swi)
33Katja Montani (Swi)
34Mallory Barth (Swi)
35Franziska Brun (Swi)

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