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Mels wins eliminator World Cup final in Meribel

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Men's Final overall: van der Ploeg, Gegenheimer, Mels, Federspiel, Soto

Men's Final overall: van der Ploeg, Gegenheimer, Mels, Federspiel, Soto
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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Men 1/8 Final action

Men 1/8 Final action
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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 Men 1/4 final action: Lindgren, Wildhaber, Pfaffle

Men 1/4 final action: Lindgren, Wildhaber, Pfaffle
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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Fabrice Mels wins the Final against Gegenheimer, Soto, Miquel

Fabrice Mels wins the Final against Gegenheimer, Soto, Miquel
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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Men's podium: Soto, Gegenheimer, Mels, Miquel, Federspiel

Men's podium: Soto, Gegenheimer, Mels, Miquel, Federspiel
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)

The sixth and final round of the eliminator series in the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup saw some of the most exciting racing of the season in Méribel, France. Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) took the men's win to lock up the overall title after a battle that came down to the final heat.

Unlike the women's series, where Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike) had wrapped up the title at the end of the previous round, the men's series was much tighter going into Méribel, with four riders still able to upset Mels - world champion van der Ploeg of Australia, defending World Cup champion Daniel Federspiel (Otztal Scott), Round 5 winner Andres Soto (MMR Bikes) and German rider Simon Gegenheimer, the winner of Round 4.

Van der Ploeg was the first to drop out of contention for the title after failing to make it through the quarterfinal round, then Federspiel, who didn't make it into the final. However, Gegenheimer could still have taken the title if he won the final and Mels finished fourth. The two contenders were joined in the final by local favourite and fastest qualifier Kevin Miquel of France and round 5 winner Catriel Andres Soto.

The final started poorly for Mels and an upset looked possible, as Miquel got the holeshot into the first corner with Gegenheimer on his wheel while Mels was fourth. But the Belgian champion and World Cup leader gradually worked his way to third, then second and finally the lead to outsprint Gegenheimer at the line for the title.

"It was a difficult night," said Mels. "The first heats did not go like I wanted because I did not have good starts and had to sprint at each finish. Only in the final was I the strongest. I'm so happy that I could take a victory here and the World Cup overall. I knew I had to go flat out all night because Gegenheimer, van der Ploeg, Federspiel and Soto were all so close [in points] that I had to push it all night. It's such a relief that it worked out for me."

Mels won the World Cup title with 217 points and two wins, with Gegenheimer jumping from fourth to second in the standings at 164. Federspiel and van der Ploeg are next, tied at 150 points, but Federspiel gets the nod for third place after winning the small final in Méribel to finish fifth, while van der Ploeg ended up ninth on the night and fourth overall.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya
2Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)
3Kevin Miquel (Fra)
4Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Mmr Bikes Pro Team
5Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
6Matthias Wengelin (Swe)
7Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team
8Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team
9Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)
10Martino Fruet (Ita)
11Christian Pfäffle* (Ger)
12Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls
13Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)
14Titouan Perrin Ganier (Fra) Focus Rotor Coaching-System
15Romain Bernier* (Fra)
16Martin Frey* (Ger)
17Gert Heyns* (RSA)
18Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm
19Martin Fanger (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
20Axel Lindh* (Swe)
21Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)
22Maximilian Vieider* (Ita)
23Fabian Rabensteiner (Ita) Focus XC Italy Team
24Krystof Bogar* (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team
25Kevin Berginc* (Slo) Unior Tools Team
26Andrea Righettini* (Ita) Focus XC Italy Team
27Ludek Seller* (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Specialized Junior MTB Team
28Roger Jenny* (Swi)
29Kjell Van Den Boogert* (Ned) Mpl Specialized MTB Team
30Ismael Ventura Sanchez (Spa)
31Beltain Schmid* (Ita) Focus XC Italy Team
32Kostiantyn ° Prykhodko (Ukr)

Elite men final World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya
2Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)
3Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
4Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)
5Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Mmr Bikes Pro Team
6Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team
7Samuel Gaze (NZl)
8Miha Halzer (Slo)
9Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team
10Kevin Miquel (Fra)
11Patrick Lüthi* (Swi)
12Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls
13Leandre Bouchard (Can)
14Matthias Wengelin (Swe)
15Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
16Marek Konwa (Pol) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team
17Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team
18Heiko Gutmann (Ger)
19Krystof Bogar* (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team
20Simon Scheiber (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
21Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)
22Jeroen Van Eck (Ned) Mpl Specialized MTB Team
23Samuel Tremblay* (Can)
24Elia Silvestri (Ita)
25Philip Buys (RSA)
26Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus XC Team
27Andri Frischknecht (Swi) Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team
28Roger Jenny* (Swi)
29Patricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (Chi)
30Martino Fruet (Ita)
31Andy Eyring (Ger)
32Shaun Lewis (Aus)
33Christian Pfäffle* (Ger)
34Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team
35Michal Lami (Svk)
36Nicolas Lüthi (Swi)
37Lehvi Braam* (Ned)
38Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team
39Christian Helmig (Lux)
40Tristan Ward (Aus)
41Titouan Perrin Ganier (Fra) Focus Rotor Coaching-System
42Ismael Ventura Sanchez (Spa)
43Antoine Caron (Can)
44Stefan Peter* (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team
45Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team
46Borys Goral (Pol)
47Romain Bernier* (Fra)
48Miguel Martinez (Fra) Tropix-Frm
49Steffen Thum (Ger)
50Martin Frey* (Ger)
51Payson Mcelveen (USA)

 

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