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Wloszczowska and Näf win elite races

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Silver medallist Jose Hermida (Spain) and gold medallist Ralf Naef (Switzerland)

Silver medallist Jose Hermida (Spain) and gold medallist Ralf Naef (Switzerland) (Image credit: Multivan Merida Biking Team)
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Silver medallist Irina Kalentieva (Russia), gold medallist Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) and bronze medallist Sabine Spitz (Germany)

Silver medallist Irina Kalentieva (Russia), gold medallist Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) and bronze medallist Sabine Spitz (Germany) (Image credit: Ralf Schäuble)
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Irina Kalentieva rode to a silver medal for Russia

Irina Kalentieva rode to a silver medal for Russia (Image credit: Team Topeak-Ergon)
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Irina Kalentieva on a muddy course in the Netherlands

Irina Kalentieva on a muddy course in the Netherlands (Image credit: Team Topeak-Ergon)
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Marga Fullana (Spain) abandoned the race.

Marga Fullana (Spain) abandoned the race. (Image credit: Sergio Suarez)
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Anna Villar (Spain)

Anna Villar (Spain) (Image credit: Sergio Suarez)
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Silver medallist Irina Kalentieva (Russia), gold medallist Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) and bronze medallist Sabine Spitz (Germany)

Silver medallist Irina Kalentieva (Russia), gold medallist Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) and bronze medallist Sabine Spitz (Germany) (Image credit: Ralf Schäuble)
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Champagne on the men's podium

Champagne on the men's podium (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) rides to the gold medal.

Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) rides to the gold medal. (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Irina Kalentieva (Russia) ended up second in the women's race.

Irina Kalentieva (Russia) ended up second in the women's race. (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Elisabeth Osl (Austria) had a very hard day.

Elisabeth Osl (Austria) had a very hard day. (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Sabine Spitz (Germany) after her third place finish

Sabine Spitz (Germany) after her third place finish (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Jose Antonio Hermida (Spain) on his way to the silver.

Jose Antonio Hermida (Spain) on his way to the silver. (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Winner Ralph Naf of Switzerland

Winner Ralph Naf of Switzerland (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) fights his way through the mud.

Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) fights his way through the mud. (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)
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Sven Nys (Belgian), cyclo-cross star, in what are well-known conditions for him!

Sven Nys (Belgian), cyclo-cross star, in what are well-known conditions for him! (Image credit: Joris Beverloo)

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.

Results

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)
-2lapsFabienne Niederberger (Switzerland)
-2lapsArielle Boek-Van Meurs (Netherlands)
-2lapsFiona Mcdermid (Great Britain)
-2lapsMaria Osl (Austria)
-2lapsRiikka Kelja (Finland)
-2lapsAndrea Kirsic (Croatia)
-3lapsIdit Shub (Israel)
-3lapsInbar Ronen (Israel)
DNFPetra Henzi (Switzerland)
DNFMargarita Fullana Riera (Spain)
DNFJoyce Vanderbeken (Belgium)
DNFEvelyn Staffler (Italy)

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)
-2lapsHannes Metzler (Austria)
-2lapsBjorn Brems (Belgium)
-2lapsJirí Novák (Czech Republic)
-2lapsUmberto Carlo Corti (Italy)
-2lapsAnton Gogolev (Russian Federation)
-2lapsYader Zoli (Italy)
-3lapsRobert Mennen (Germany)
-3lapsFilip Eberl (Czech Republic)
-3lapsAndrea Tiberi (Italy)
-3lapsIvan Seledkov (Russian Federation)
-3lapsStephane Tempier (France)
-3lapsKarl Markt (Austria)
-3lapsIgor Bogdan (Ukraine)
-3lapsNicolas Vermeulen (Belgium)
-3lapsDavid Rosa (Portugal)
-3lapsDariusz Batek (Poland)
-3lapsJody Crawford (Great Britain)
-3lapsAndras Parti (Hungary)
-3lapsOla Kjoren (Norway)
-3lapsNicolas Rohrbach (Switzerland)
-3lapsPeriklis Ilias (Greece)
-3lapsAlexander Wetterhall (Sweden)
-3lapsFrank Schotman (Netherlands)
-4lapsUwe Hochenwarter (Austria)
-4lapsGiuseppe Lamastra (Italy)
-4lapsSergiy Rysenko (Ukraine)
-4lapsCarlos Coloma Nicolas (Spain)
-4lapsAlexey Medvedev (Russian Federation)
-4lapsRotem Ishai (Israel)
-4lapsRamses Bekkenk (Netherlands)
-4lapsMatej Lovše (Slovenia)
-4lapsMatej Mugerli (Slovenia)
-4lapsDani Simcic (Croatia)
-4lapsKevin Van Hoovels (Belgium)
-5lapsLuka Kodra (Slovenia)
-5lapsBojan Djurdjic SRB19840613
-5lapsTaavi Selder (Estonia)
-5lapsIan Bibby (Great Britain)
-5lapsMatjaž Budin (Slovenia)
-5lapsZsolt Szlobodnyik (Hungary)
-6lapsBoris Popovic (Serbia)
-6lapsDror Pekatch (Israel)
DNFJean Christophe Peraud (France)
DNFNino Schurter (Switzerland)
DNFMoritz Milatz (Germany)
DNFPavel Boudný (Czech Republic)
DNFZdenek Štybar (Czech Republic)
DNFBas Peters (Netherlands)
DNFManuel Fumic (Germany)
DNFMarc Colom (France)
DNFJochen Kass (Germany)
DNFMarco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)
DNFJukka Vastaranta (Finland)
DNFLuís Pinto (Portugal)
DNFGeorgios Pattes - Toumanis (Greece)
DNFChristoph Soukup (Austria)
DNSMarcin Karczynski (Poland)

 

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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.

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