Absalon takes World Cup career win number 21

Julien Absalon (Orbea) claimed victory on a rain-slicked course in the fifth round of the Mountain World Cup at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec. This was the fourth consecutive World Cup victory of this season for him.

Absalon has always performed well at Mont Ste Anne, going back to his World title in the Junior category in 1998. "I was concerned at the start of the race," said Absalon. "Through the first two turns at the start I wasn't in a good position. Through the first lap I tried to work my way up. Näf was very strong at the beginning of the race but he started to drop back and I took the lead.

"I had to work hard not to make mistakes," he added. "It was really, really slippery out there. It was a very technical track, but I like that. To win here under these conditions is very satisfying."

A large men's field of 104 riders took the line for a total of six laps. The off-and-on rain that had plagued the women had fortunately stopped by the time the men started. The clouds remained low all afternoon and it looked like the heavens would open at any moment but they never did, much to the relief of the riders. However, it did remain windy and cool for the duration, and the track was still wet from the morning's downpour.

Without a start loop, the whole key for many was to try and get to the front from the gun. The start was done at very high speed by the field. Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking Team) took the early lead, followed at 15 seconds by Martin Gujan (Cannondale Factory Racing) at the front of a large chase group.

Näf was still holding the lead at the end of lap one, with Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) in second at 32 seconds and Absalon 41 seconds back in third. Just behind Absalon was a small group with Gujan, Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) and José Hermida (Multivan Merida).

Absalon had become comfortable with the conditions by the second lap and had caught and passed Kabush. He continued to gain time on the lead as Näf started to tire. Meanwhile, Hermida was slowly reeling in the leaders. By lap three, Näf had only one second on Absalon, with Kabush at 20 seconds and about to be caught by Hermida. It didn't take long for Absalon to take the lead and once he was at the front he started to open a gap on the chasers. Meanwhile Näf continued to go backward, dropping to fourth by the end of the lap.

Absalon was riding comfortably in the second half of the race, followed by Hermida at 29 seconds, Kabush at 32 seconds, and Näf at 58 seconds. In fifth was a surprising U23 rider - Alexis Vuillermoz (LaPierre International). Jean-Christophe Peraud (Massi), Todd Wells (Specialized), and Burry Stander (Specialized) were chasing just behind Vuillermoz.

With the top four firmly in place, the battle for the final podium spot was all that was left. The first to put on a charge was Stander, who by the fifth lap had moved up after his U23 opponent Vuillermoz hit the wall after a strong start and rapidly dropped out of the top 10 to finish 19th. Also blowing up was Wells, who fell to 15th by the finish after ridng as high as fifth.

Creating even more excitement was a last lap flat by Näf, who lost some time to Stander initially but then charged back to maintain his fourth place. Course conditions hadn't improved much, with even the lead motorbike crashing on the top of the rocky descent.

Absalon cruised in with a winning time of 2:06:05, 32 seconds up on Hermida and 2:48 up on Kabush. A tired Näf had enough left in the tank to retain fourth, 4:50 back. Stander claimed fifth (and the U23 win) 5:42 behind.

Two years ago Hermida also placed second to Absalon, with Kabush also third. Last year it was Absalon winning, with Kabush in second. Clearly this venue favours Absalon, Hermida and Kabush.

Hermida, one of the most congenial racers on the circuit, also liked his result. "I lost some time at the beginning of the race," said Hermida. "It was quite complicated and it was important without a start loop. I should have been more focused on the start. Julian and I both lost time. Overall, I thought I could catch him.

"In the beginning he had a gap of 30 seconds and it didn't change during the race so I thought I could attack and get him on the final lap, but it didn't happen,” he added.

Kabush was pleased by his result. His season hasn't been up the standards he has set in recent years. “I have a history of doing really well here. I started on the third row so I was really focused on the start,” said Kabush. “I got a really good start and I was climbing really well. This is a course that really suits me. The World Cup has been up and down this year and I'm happy to have a good result for my team.

“It's been a while," added Kabush. "It felt good to be back in the action. Being back in North America has been good for me. I feel grounded again. I'm 100-percent healthy now."

In the World Cup Points Series, Absalon has a 480-point lead over second place Stander. Hermida moved up to third from sixth with his placing here, while Kabush jumped 10 spots to 14th.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea2:06:05
2José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:00:32
3Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles0:02:48
4Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:50
5Burry Stander* (RSA) Specialized Factory Racing0:05:42
6Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:07:11
7Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:07:16
8Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Giant Italia Team0:07:21
9Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:07:45
10Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi0:07:48
11Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Cemelorca-Trek-Lorca Taller Del Tiempo0:08:16
12Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team0:08:20
13Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:08:43
14Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Lapierre International0:08:47
15Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing0:08:53
16Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)0:09:05
17Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:09:20
18Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team0:09:36
19Alexis Vuillermoz* (Fra) Lapierre International0:09:43
20Martin Fanger* (Swi) Giant Mountain Bike Team0:10:16
21Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing0:10:45
22Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:10:49
23Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:11:19
24Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary FisherRow 23 - Cell 2
25Seamus Mcgrath (Can)0:12:13
26Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:12:44
27Lukas Kaufmann* (Swi)0:12:53
28Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Lapierre International0:13:13
29Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Giant Mountain Bike Team0:13:31
30Derek Zandstra (Can)0:13:39
31François Bailly Maitre (Fra) Team Scott Valloire Galibier0:14:05
32Ludovic Dubau (Fra)0:14:20
33Raphael Gagne* (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles0:14:26
34Christof Bischof (Swi) ISD Cycling Team0:14:53
35Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale Factory Racing0:15:06
36Guillaume Vinit* (Fra) Team Scott Valloire Galibier0:15:17
37Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:15:42
38Irjan Luttenberg* (Ned)0:15:56
39Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-Suntour0:16:25
40Bjorn Brems (Bel) Team Saeco0:17:12
41Christoph Soukup (Aut) Merida Biking Team0:17:34
42Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita)0:17:50
43Michael Broderick (USA)0:17:59
44Bas Peters (Ned)Row 43 - Cell 2
45Matous Ulman (Cze) Scott & Hagget MTB Team0:18:31
46Stefan Widmer (Can)0:19:17
47Marc Colom (Fra)0:19:59
48Milan Spesny (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB0:20:20
49Josef Kamler* (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB0:20:35
50Fabien Canal* (Fra) Lapierre International0:22:06
-1lapRenay Groustra (RSA)Row 50 - Cell 2
-1lapKris Sneddon (Can) KonaRow 51 - Cell 2
-1lapCarl Decker (USA) Giant Mountain Bike TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
-1lapRobert Mennen (Ger)Row 53 - Cell 2
-1lapRobbie Squire* (USA)Row 54 - Cell 2
-1lapMatthew Hadley (Can)Row 55 - Cell 2
-1lapRotem Ishai (Isr)Row 56 - Cell 2
-1lapBarry Wicks (USA) KonaRow 57 - Cell 2
-1lapLachlan Norris* (Aus) Discovertasmania.comRow 58 - Cell 2
-1lapColin Cares* (USA)Row 59 - Cell 2
-1lapMartin Lazarski (Can)Row 60 - Cell 2
-1lapJulien Fillion (Can)Row 61 - Cell 2
-1lapAdam Snyder (USA)Row 62 - Cell 2
-1lapCristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)Row 63 - Cell 2
-1lapAndrew Watson (Can)Row 64 - Cell 2
-2lapsManuel Prado Gutierrez (CRc)Row 65 - Cell 2
-2lapsPierre Lebreton (Fra) BH-SuntourRow 66 - Cell 2
-2lapsJiri Hudecek (Cze) Scott & Hagget MTB TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
-2lapsAndrew Blair (Aus)Row 68 - Cell 2
-2lapsLeni Trudel* (Can)Row 69 - Cell 2
-2lapsCraig Richey (Can)Row 70 - Cell 2
-2lapsEric Batty (Can)Row 71 - Cell 2
-2lapsPatxi Cia Apezteguia (Spa) Conor - Camping La SiestaRow 72 - Cell 2
-2lapsCal Britten* (Aus) Torq Performance NutritionRow 73 - Cell 2
-2lapsCharlton Durie* (Aus) Discovertasmania.comRow 74 - Cell 2
-2lapsAndrew Freye (USA)Row 75 - Cell 2
-2lapsMark Leishman (NZl)Row 76 - Cell 2
-2lapsPaul Van Der Ploeg* (Aus) Discovertasmania.comRow 77 - Cell 2
-2lapsJuan Pedro Trujillo Hernandez (Spa) Cemelorca-Trek-Lorca Taller Del TiempoRow 78 - Cell 2
-2lapsRyan Atkins* (Can)Row 79 - Cell 2
-2lapsTravis Livermon* (USA)Row 80 - Cell 2
-2lapsNiels Wubben* (Ned)Row 81 - Cell 2
-2lapsNick Both (Aus)Row 82 - Cell 2
-2lapsMike Garrigan (Can)Row 83 - Cell 2
-2lapsEthan Gilmour* (USA)Row 84 - Cell 2
-2lapsCameron Jette* (Can)Row 85 - Cell 2
-2lapsStephen Ettinger* (USA)Row 86 - Cell 2
-2lapsPeter Glassford (Can)Row 87 - Cell 2
-3lapsDaniel Sessford (Can)Row 88 - Cell 2
-3lapsVictor Galvez Perez (Chi)Row 89 - Cell 2
-3lapsAaron Snyder* (USA)Row 90 - Cell 2
DNFJean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) MassiRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFUmberto Corti (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.Row 92 - Cell 2
DNFMarco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory RacingRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFOliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant Mountain Bike Team GmtRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFMax Plaxton (Can)Row 95 - Cell 2
DNFBenoit Simard (Can)Row 96 - Cell 2
DNFConnor Mcconvey* (Irl) De Brink-Ten TusscherRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFNathan Haas* (Aus) Discovertasmania.ComRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Mcconnell (Aus) Torq Performance NutritionRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFCarlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) MSC BikesRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFLiam Killeen (GBr) Trek World RacingRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFTroy Wells (USA)Row 102 - Cell 2
DNFBrian Bain (Can)Row 103 - Cell 2
DNSJochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Multivan Merida Biking Team87pts
2Specialized Factory Racing54Row 1 - Cell 3
3Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing44Row 2 - Cell 3
4Orbea40Row 3 - Cell 3
5Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles32Row 4 - Cell 3
6Giant Mountain Bike Team32Row 5 - Cell 3
7Lapierre International32Row 6 - Cell 3
8Trek World Racing24Row 7 - Cell 3
9Giant Italia Team23Row 8 - Cell 3
10Cannondale Factory Racing22Row 9 - Cell 3
11TX Active Bianchi21Row 10 - Cell 3
12Cemelorca-Trek-Lorca Taller Del Tiempo20Row 11 - Cell 3
13Merida Biking Team13Row 12 - Cell 3
14Subaru-Gary Fisher12Row 13 - Cell 3
15Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team9Row 14 - Cell 3
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