Litscher wins Offenburg eliminator

After a successful introduction at the Dalby Forest World Cup in England last week, the eliminator short track event returned today for the third round of the World Cup in Offenburg, Germany. Czech cyclo-crosser Pavla Havlikova beat Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol) in a sprint for the women's title, while Thomas Litscher (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) rode away from the rest of the field to win the men's race.

Unlike in England, where the event took place in the centre of the town of Pickering on an urban course, Offenburg offered a grass course that made the race closer to a short track race. Rain earlier in the afternoon made the corners slippery, and riders had to take care not to enter them too fast, or risk sliding out.

Organizers changed the format slightly from the previous event, running six at a time rather than four. This reduced the number of heats and made the races more tactical with the bigger fields.

Havlikova was the fastest in qualifying, and won both of her heats on the way to the final. Lechner, on the other hand just squeaked into the final after finishing third in her semi. The final was just about these two riders, with Havlikova taking an early lead, Lechner then passing the Czech rider to lead for the majority of the race before Havlikova came back on the final grass sprint to the finish. Both riders threw their bikes on the line, and it took a photo finish to determine the winner. Annie Last of Great Britain took third.

In qualifying, Litscher was only third, behind Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and Brian Lopes (US National). Litscher won both his first and second rounds to move on to the final. He was joined by Lopes, Severin Disch (Thoemus), Simon Gegenheimer, Martin Gujan (Cannondale) and Daniel Federspiel.

Lopes had ridden strong tactically in the first two rounds, recognizing that while he had superior speed, his endurance didn't match the cross country riders. He took the holeshot in both of the opening rounds, then backed off to conserve energy in second place before sprinting at the finish. In the final he slipped his left pedal coming out of the start and was out of the running before the first corner.

Litscher left nothing to chance, grabbing the lead immediately and riding away from the others, to the point that he could coast across the line with his arms in the air, while Disch outsprinted Gegenheimer for third.

"I like the event," said Lopes, "but I think they need to add more technical stuff, so it is more mountain biking. In the final, I got my first pedal stroke, but I didn't get my foot in, so it was over for me. I needed to get the holeshot because I knew I was already tired after the first two rounds and couldn't come from behind."

Elite men Full Results

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Big Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
2Severin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
3Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)
4Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing
5Daniel Federspiel (Aut)
6Brian Lopes (USA)
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Small Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
7Balz Weber (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
8Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team
9Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys - Evenza Team
10Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing
11Lukas Kaufmann (Swi)
12Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing
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Round 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team
13Mattias Wengelin (Swe)
14Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team
15Philip Buys (RSA)
16Fabrice Mels (Bel) Rocky Roads - Orbea
17Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
18Frantisek Lami (Svk)
19Klaus Nielsen (Den)
20Lukas Sablik (Cze)
21Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)
22Jan Nesvadba (Cze)
23Nicolas Jeantet (Ita) ISD Cycling Team
24Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour
25Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing
26Magnus Darvell (Swe)
27Kenta Gallagher (GBr)
28José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team
29Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team
30Michal Lami (Svk)
31Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team
32Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing
33Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
34Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team
35Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Elettroveneta - Corratec
36Heiko Gutmann (Ger)

Elite women full results

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Big Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Pavla Havlikova (Cze)
2Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol
3Annie Last (GBr)
4Oksana Rybakova (Rus)
5Katherine O'shea (Aus)
6Lisa Mitterbauer (Aut) Bikepark.Ch Scott
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Small Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
7Lea Davison (USA) Specialized Racing
8Alexandra Engen (Swe)
9Elisabeth Sveum (Nor) Team Merida Smart Safety
10Anneke Beerten (Ned) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team
11Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
12Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team
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Round 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team
13Pavlina Sulcova (Cze) Merida Biking Team
14Nicoletta De Jager (Ned)
15Janka Stevkova (Svk)
16Vera Andreeva (Rus)
17Ekaterina Anoshina (Rus)
18Lucie Vesela (Cze) GT Czech Team
19Virginie Pointet (Swi)
20Amy Dombroski (USA)
21Kseniya Kirillova (Rus)
22Nataliya Krompets (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team
23Elvira Khayrullina (Rus)


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