Wloszczowska and Näf win elite races

Switzerland's Ralph Näf and Poland's Maja Wloszczowska were crowned European cross country champions on Sunday in Zoetermeer.

In the men's race, Näf and Jose Antonio Hermida (Spain) set the pace at the start. Hermida realized it wasn't his day for a solo effort, but that approach worked for Näf, who took off on a circuit that was muddy after two days of heavy rain.

Hermida stayed behind in a chase group that include Sven Nys (Belgium), Martin Gujan (Switzerland) and Moritz Milatz (Germany). Halfway through the race, Hermida was able to establish a small but important gap over the others.

With two laps (of eight) to go, Nys nearly bridged back up to almost get on Hermida's wheel, but that was part of Hermida's strategy. He had intentionally slowed a bit and then attacked Nys just as he almost caught on and before putting in a strong final lap to re-open the gap.

Näf won in 2:13:09, and Hermida held on for second at 1:39. Nys was third at 3:12. Gujan and Lukas Flückiger rounded out the top five.

Hermida was happy with his second place. "Ralph was unbeatable today and after getting away from the rest, I decided to fight for a medal and
forget about the title."

"This has been a tough battle. From the first lap, nothing worked on my bike due to the mud; but all riders were in the same situation," said Hermida.

"If I couldn't join Näf in the front, I preferred that he, a teammate, win instead of any other non-Spanish rider." Hermida and Näf are teammates on the Multivan Merida team when not racing for their national teams at races like the European Championships.

Roel Paulissen, who finished 31st, commented on the conditions. "At the end of the second lap, I had no more brakes left. It was a terrible way to go into a descent. It was perilous on the slimy course." Paulissen also suffered a flat tire and lamented that he hadn't gone to race the Dolomiti Superbike instead. "That was the course where I became World Marathon Champion!" he remembered.

In the women's race, Maja Wloszczowska won ahead of Irina Kalentieva (Russia) and Sabine Spitz (Germany).

The curvy and in places, brutally steep course, invited many attacks and Kalentieva found herself in seventh place early in the race, although she moved up steadily into second place behind leader Wloszczowska on the second to last lap. Just beofre the last lap, Wloszczowska attacked what was a group of five women and got away for good.

"I was able to push forward from there, it was a good place to be," said the former World Champion Kalentieva. Wloszczowska was clearly the stronger rider, but the Polish rider helped push Kalentieva to a few seconds' advantage over her top competition Spitz. In the end, Kalentieva was second at 18 seconds behind the winner.

Spitz had a slow start and was nowhere to be found in the top five for the first two laps. It wasn't until lap three of the 5.2km course, that the 37-year-old German made contact with the four top women, who had had a 20-second lead on her.

"I knew that the conditions would worsen with the rain," said Spitz, who explained her conservative start. But she also thinks she could have gotten a silver medal if she had responded more quickly to Wloszczowska's final attack and not gotten behind Kalentieva before a section of the course with no opportunity to pass.

"Silver would have been possible without this error, but in the long run, bronze is also ok," said Spitz, who was third at 38 seconds.

Anna Szafraniec (Poland) was fourth at 1:31 and Cecile Ravanel (France) completed the top five at 1:53.

Pre-race favorite Marga Fullana (Spain) abandoned the race after a fast start.


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Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)1:47:30
2Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation)0:00:18
3Sabine Spitz (Germany)0:00:38
4Anna Szafraniec (Poland)0:01:31
5Cecile Ravanel (France)0:01:53
6Katrin Leumann (Switzerland)0:02:40
7Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland)0:03:23
8Eva Lechner (Italy)0:04:09
9Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland)0:04:29
10Elisabeth Osl (Austria)0:04:59
11Marielle Saner Guinchard (Switzerland)0:05:14
12Adelheid Morath (Germany)0:06:59
13Laura Turpijn (Netherlands)0:07:57
14Annika Langvad (Denmark)0:08:35
15Anna Villar Argente (Spain)0:08:40
16Anja Gradl (Germany)0:09:16
17Carina Ketonen (Finland)0:09:37
18Laura Metzler (France)0:11:50
19Janka Stevková (Slovakia)0:13:30
20Githa Michiels (Belgium)0:14:20
21Pavla Havlíková (Czech Republic)0:14:43
22Sue Clarke-Thomas (Great Britain)0:14:53
23Helene Marcouyre (France)0:15:47
24Monique Zeldenrust (Netherlands)0:16:31
25Maris Meier (Estonia)0:17:39
26Blaža Klemencic (Slovenia)0:17:50
27Sabrina Enaux (France)0:17:56
28Elena Gogoleva (Russian Federation)0:18:06
29Oxana Rybakova (Russian Federation)0:18:26
30Sharon Laws (Great Britain)0:20:49
31Nicoletta De Jager (Netherlands)0:21:23
32Kristien Nelen (Belgium)0:23:38
-2lapsKarin Groen (Netherlands)Row 32 - Cell 2
-2lapsFabienne Niederberger (Switzerland)Row 33 - Cell 2
-2lapsArielle Boek-Van Meurs (Netherlands)Row 34 - Cell 2
-2lapsFiona Mcdermid (Great Britain)Row 35 - Cell 2
-2lapsMaria Osl (Austria)Row 36 - Cell 2
-2lapsRiikka Kelja (Finland)Row 37 - Cell 2
-2lapsAndrea Kirsic (Croatia)Row 38 - Cell 2
-3lapsIdit Shub (Israel)Row 39 - Cell 2
-3lapsInbar Ronen (Israel)Row 40 - Cell 2
DNFPetra Henzi (Switzerland)Row 41 - Cell 2
DNFMargarita Fullana Riera (Spain)Row 42 - Cell 2
DNFJoyce Vanderbeken (Belgium)Row 43 - Cell 2
DNFEvelyn Staffler (Italy)Row 44 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ralph Näf (Switzerland)2:13:09
2José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain)0:01:39
3Sven Nys (Belgium)0:03:12
4Martin Gujan (Switzerland)0:04:01
5Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)0:04:59
6Milan Spešný (Czech Republic)0:05:10
7Florian Vogel (Switzerland)0:05:24
8Sergio Mantecon Gutiérrez (Spain)0:05:29
9Cedric Ravanel (France)0:05:47
10Liam Killeen (Great Britain)0:05:58
11Jaroslav Kulhavý (Czech Republic)0:07:11
12Jirí Friedl (Czech Republic)0:07:32
13Emil Lindgren (Sweden)0:07:37
14Oliver Beckingsale (Great Britain)0:08:23
15Rudi Van Houts (Netherlands)0:08:43
16Maxim Gogolev (Russian Federation)0:09:12
17Ivan Álvarez Gutiérrez (Spain)0:09:38
18Iñaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spain)0:09:41
19Jelmer Pietersma (Netherlands)0:09:44
20Klaus Nielsen (Denmark)0:10:16
21Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spain)0:11:06
22Jimmy Tielens (Belgium)0:11:45
23Christoph Sauser (Switzerland)0:11:56
24Christof Bischof (Switzerland)0:12:01
25Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands)0:12:41
26Johnny Cattaneo (Italy)0:13:19
27Sven Vanthourenhout (Belgium)0:14:50
28Marek Galinski (Poland)0:15:29
29Tony Longo (Italy)0:15:34
30Evgeny Pechenin (Russian Federation)0:15:49
31Roel Paulissen (Belgium)0:16:21
32Jan Škarnitzl (Czech Republic)0:16:37
33Pierre Geoffrey Plantet (France)0:17:19
34Thjis Al (Netherlands)0:18:19
35Jan Verstraeten (Belgium)0:19:08
-2lapsOleksandr Geraschenko (Ukraine)Row 35 - Cell 2
-2lapsHannes Metzler (Austria)Row 36 - Cell 2
-2lapsBjorn Brems (Belgium)Row 37 - Cell 2
-2lapsJirí Novák (Czech Republic)Row 38 - Cell 2
-2lapsUmberto Carlo Corti (Italy)Row 39 - Cell 2
-2lapsAnton Gogolev (Russian Federation)Row 40 - Cell 2
-2lapsYader Zoli (Italy)Row 41 - Cell 2
-3lapsRobert Mennen (Germany)Row 42 - Cell 2
-3lapsFilip Eberl (Czech Republic)Row 43 - Cell 2
-3lapsAndrea Tiberi (Italy)Row 44 - Cell 2
-3lapsIvan Seledkov (Russian Federation)Row 45 - Cell 2
-3lapsStephane Tempier (France)Row 46 - Cell 2
-3lapsKarl Markt (Austria)Row 47 - Cell 2
-3lapsIgor Bogdan (Ukraine)Row 48 - Cell 2
-3lapsNicolas Vermeulen (Belgium)Row 49 - Cell 2
-3lapsDavid Rosa (Portugal)Row 50 - Cell 2
-3lapsDariusz Batek (Poland)Row 51 - Cell 2
-3lapsJody Crawford (Great Britain)Row 52 - Cell 2
-3lapsAndras Parti (Hungary)Row 53 - Cell 2
-3lapsOla Kjoren (Norway)Row 54 - Cell 2
-3lapsNicolas Rohrbach (Switzerland)Row 55 - Cell 2
-3lapsPeriklis Ilias (Greece)Row 56 - Cell 2
-3lapsAlexander Wetterhall (Sweden)Row 57 - Cell 2
-3lapsFrank Schotman (Netherlands)Row 58 - Cell 2
-4lapsUwe Hochenwarter (Austria)Row 59 - Cell 2
-4lapsGiuseppe Lamastra (Italy)Row 60 - Cell 2
-4lapsSergiy Rysenko (Ukraine)Row 61 - Cell 2
-4lapsCarlos Coloma Nicolas (Spain)Row 62 - Cell 2
-4lapsAlexey Medvedev (Russian Federation)Row 63 - Cell 2
-4lapsRotem Ishai (Israel)Row 64 - Cell 2
-4lapsRamses Bekkenk (Netherlands)Row 65 - Cell 2
-4lapsMatej Lovše (Slovenia)Row 66 - Cell 2
-4lapsMatej Mugerli (Slovenia)Row 67 - Cell 2
-4lapsDani Simcic (Croatia)Row 68 - Cell 2
-4lapsKevin Van Hoovels (Belgium)Row 69 - Cell 2
-5lapsLuka Kodra (Slovenia)Row 70 - Cell 2
-5lapsBojan Djurdjic SRB19840613Row 71 - Cell 2
-5lapsTaavi Selder (Estonia)Row 72 - Cell 2
-5lapsIan Bibby (Great Britain)Row 73 - Cell 2
-5lapsMatjaž Budin (Slovenia)Row 74 - Cell 2
-5lapsZsolt Szlobodnyik (Hungary)Row 75 - Cell 2
-6lapsBoris Popovic (Serbia)Row 76 - Cell 2
-6lapsDror Pekatch (Israel)Row 77 - Cell 2
DNFJean Christophe Peraud (France)Row 78 - Cell 2
DNFNino Schurter (Switzerland)Row 79 - Cell 2
DNFMoritz Milatz (Germany)Row 80 - Cell 2
DNFPavel Boudný (Czech Republic)Row 81 - Cell 2
DNFZdenek Štybar (Czech Republic)Row 82 - Cell 2
DNFBas Peters (Netherlands)Row 83 - Cell 2
DNFManuel Fumic (Germany)Row 84 - Cell 2
DNFMarc Colom (France)Row 85 - Cell 2
DNFJochen Kass (Germany)Row 86 - Cell 2
DNFMarco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)Row 87 - Cell 2
DNFJukka Vastaranta (Finland)Row 88 - Cell 2
DNFLuís Pinto (Portugal)Row 89 - Cell 2
DNFGeorgios Pattes - Toumanis (Greece)Row 90 - Cell 2
DNFChristoph Soukup (Austria)Row 91 - Cell 2
DNSMarcin Karczynski (Poland)Row 92 - Cell 2


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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.