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Mels wins eliminator World Cup in Albstadt

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Paul Van Der Ploeg leading Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)

Paul Van Der Ploeg leading Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elite men's Eliminator Podium: Leandre Bouchard, Paul Van Der Ploeg, Fabrice Mels, Patrick Luthi, Simon Stiebjahn

Elite men's Eliminator Podium: Leandre Bouchard, Paul Van Der Ploeg, Fabrice Mels, Patrick Luthi, Simon Stiebjahn
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Fabrice Mels fans celebrate

Fabrice Mels fans celebrate
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Big Final sprint between Fabrice Mels and Paul van der Ploeg

Big Final sprint between Fabrice Mels and Paul van der Ploeg
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)

Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)

Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)

Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)

Heiko Gutmann (Team Germany) leading Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elia Silvestri leading Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)

Elia Silvestri leading Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Paul Van Der Ploeg

Paul Van Der Ploeg
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Miguel Martinez (Tropix-FRM)

Miguel Martinez (Tropix-FRM)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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This 1/8 final had three Canadians

This 1/8 final had three Canadians
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)

Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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World Cup leader Paul Van Der Ploeg

World Cup leader Paul Van Der Ploeg
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The men's eliminator World Cup series was bound to get a new leader at round 3 in Albstadt, Germany, when Daniel Federspiel (Oetztal-Scott), the leader after round 2, broke his chain in qualifying, and round 1 winner Samuel Gaze of New Zealand did not start. Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) earned the win, the second his career, while Australia's Paul van der Ploeg, the world champion, took the overall lead in the men's series after finishing second in Albstadt.

Mels and van der Ploeg were seeded into the same heat from the first round, and took turns finishing first and second on their way through the heats to the final. They were joined in the final by first time podium attendee Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada) and Swiss rider Patrick Luthi. Bouchard was very strong on the latter half of the course, winning all three of his preliminary heats.

The race stayed close right to the finish line, with Canadian champion Bouchard leading out the slightly downhill sprint, with van der Ploeg coming by to take the lead, only to be caught and passed in the final metres by Mels, who threw his bike over the line to win the second World Cup of his career. Luthi just passed Bouchard for third.

"It's amazing, really amazing," said Mels. "I was feeling strong but there were strong riders today. It was really a long sprint so I was a little bit nervous about it. It is so nice to win a second World Cup. I am really happy."

"I hoped it would come down to a sprint.. I am really good at it. I was trying in the heats not to burn too much energy; just to pass through with a good pace. I knew for the final I would have to be strong. I watched the others sprint and knew how strong they were. I am so relieved that my tactic worked."

"It's crazy that I was able to get into the final," said van der Ploeg, "because I was coming down a bit sick this week, so I wasn't super confident. My tactic was to go out hard and try to control the race from the front. It was all going to plan, but Fabrice was just too strong in the final straight."

Van der Ploeg takes the lead in the World Cup series with 100 points, followed by Mels only three points.

Results

Elite men eliminator finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya
2Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)
3Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)
4Leandre Bouchard* (Can)
5Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls
6Heiko Gutmann (Ger)
7Elia Silvestri (Ita)
8Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) MMR Bikes Pro Team
9Roger Jenny* (Swi)
10Andy Eyring (Ger)
11Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team
12Lehvi Braam* (Ned)
13Kevin Miquel (Fra)
14Miha Halzer (Slo)
15Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm
16Borys Goral (Pol)
17Ludek Seller* (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Specialized Junior Mtb Team
18Jan Nesvadba (Cze)
19Maxime Herold* (Fra) Calvisson VTT
20Andrew L'esperance (Can)
21Peter Disera* (Can)
22Titouan Perrin Ganier (Fra) Focus Rotor Coaching-System
23Marco Schätzing (Ger)
24Stefan Peter* (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team
25Luiz Cocuzzi* (Bra)
26Evgenii Pechenin (Rus) Format-Udmurtia
27Martino Fruet (Ita)
28Fabian Costa* (Aut)
29Patryk Adamkiewicz* (Pol) Sante-Bsa Whistle Team
30Kevin Berginc* (Slo) Unior Tools Team
31Sébastien Cadieux-Duval (Can)
32Adria Noguera Soldevila* (Spa)

Elite men World Cup standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)100pts
2Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya97
3Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team80
4Samuel Gaze (NZl)64
5Miha Halzer (Slo)63
6Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team33
7Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)30
8Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls28
9Leandre Bouchard* (Can)25
10Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)24
11Marek Konwa (Pol) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens Mtb Racing Team20
12Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team20
13Heiko Gutmann (Ger)18
14Krystof Bogar* (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens Mtb Racing Team18
15Elia Silvestri (Ita)16
16Philip Buys (RSA)16
17Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team16
18Kevin Miquel (Fra)16
19Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) MMR Bikes Pro Team14
20Matthias Wengelin (Swe)14
21Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus XC Team14
22Roger Jenny* (Swi)12
23Andy Eyring (Ger)10
24Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team10
25Shaun Lewis (Aus)10
26Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team8
27Lehvi Braam* (Ned)6
28Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team6
29Tristan Ward (Aus)4
30Stefan Peter* (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team3
31Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team3
32Borys Goral (Pol)3
33Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm2
34Steffen Thum (Ger)2
35Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)1

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