Robert Mennen and Silke Schmidt won the German marathon national championships.
In the lead up to the race, Mennen had not hidden his belief that he was going to win, and that only a win would do.
"It was unbelievable the way that Robert managed to control the race," said Centurion-Vaude rider Hannes Genze who finished fourth.
Using a combination of attacks and changes in pace, the-28-year old was able to seemingly neutralize the rest of the field. This was even more remarkable because he was effectively riding by himself - all other riders had someone else riding from their team with them.
"I worked out that I had to ensure that nowhere in the 84km would the race be decided. Even if this means that I had to chase down attacks myself. I had to control it," said Mennen. The reckoning came in the two 9km loops at the end of the course, "during a technical singletrack uphill passage, I was able to pull away from the others, and stay away for 5km until the line."
So, with 103km in his legs, 2.500m climbed, and with a finishing in a time of 3:49:03, Mennen crossed the line with 14 seconds lead over second place. The race though had been anything but easy. Rain and cold had increased the challenge. Covered in mud, but visibly euphoric, Mennen knew what the win meant.
"It is amazing. When I began in this sport, it was my aim, to hopefully one day be the winner of a national champion's jersey. I have been close before." It was something that he didn't let out of his sight, but at times looked unlikely this season - especially after his crash at the Cape Epic.
"This does take the pain of that disappointment away," said Mennen, who is looking forward to next year's Cape Epic.
Markus Bauer and Stimon Stiebjahn rounded out the top three.
In the women's race, Schmidt beat Sabine Spitz by 28 seconds and Elisabeth Brandau by 52 seconds. Spitz was in her first race back after injuring her shoulder just prior to the MTB World Championships.
"Silke rode a very strong race and she deserved to win," said Spitz, who rode carefully after undergoing surgery on her shoulder just five weeks ago. "I am happy that I am here and could start and that I even got a medal. So for me it is still a year with a happy ending." It was the second time this year that Spitz had to come back from shoulder surgery.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Robert Mennen (Ger)||3:49:04|
|2||Markus Bauer (Ger)||0:00:13|
|3||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)||0:00:14|
|4||Hannes Genze (Ger)||0:00:38|
|5||Marcus Kaufmann (Ger)||0:01:29|
|6||Torsten Marx (Ger)||0:02:05|
|7||Matthias Leisling (Ger)||0:02:47|
|8||Matthias Bettinger (Ger)||0:03:21|
|9||Jochen Kass (Ger)||0:03:52|
|10||Stefan Sahm (Ger)||0:04:36|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Silke Schmidt (Ger)||3:24:29|
|2||Sabine Spitz (Ger)||0:00:28|
|3||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)||0:00:52|
|4||Esther Fennel (Ger)||0:01:14|
|5||Nadine Rieder (Ger)||0:02:22|
|6||Nina Wrobel (Ger)||0:03:57|
|7||Mailin Franke (Ger)||0:04:07|
|8||Gabriele Stanger (Ger)||0:04:08|
|9||Jana Zieschank (Ger)||0:06:13|
|10||Stephanie Dohrn (Ger)||0:10:30|
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