Lukas Flückiger wins South Africa World Cup preview race

Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing) and Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon Racing Team) won the cross country race on the UCI World Cup course in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday. Lukas Flückiger beat Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing) and his brother Mathias Flückiger (Trek World Racing) for the top three spots in the men's race while World Champion Kalentieva finished ahead of Willow Koerber (Trek World Racing) and Esther Süss.

Conditions were extremely difficult. Temperatures were lower than they've been all week, the rain bucketed down and the track was very muddy, providing a real test for the World Cup riders that took to the course.

In the women's race, Koerber took to the lead from the start and remained there for most of the first two laps. In the middle of the race, she rang out of energy after a difficult week fighting a stomach bug, but she pulled it together by the end of the race to finish second behind Kalentieva.

"That was probably the muddiest race I have ever done!" said Koerber. "It was 98 percent ride-able, but towards the end it was really hard to see. Eyewear was fogging up and it was almost a guessing game choosing lines. But I'm so happy to have done that."

After a fast start in the men's race, Lukas Flückiger crossed the line at the end of lap one of five in first place, just ahead of last year's big World Cup champion Kulhavy, with brother Mathias not far behind in third. The race soon became a battle between Luk and Kulhavy, and on lap 3, Luk punctured a rear tire and took the opportunity to swap tires. He caught back up to Kulhavy, and then began to make a break. His lead went out to 40 seconds by the end of the race.

"Good race for me today, and I enjoyed the conditions," said Lukas. "I learned a lot and I'm happy to be on the top step. Bike worked great... overall I am really happy."

"It was a little bit quiet for me with no riders around," said Mathias, "but I used the day as a good exercise in technical improvement. If it's wet next week for the World Cup, this was an important race today."

Tomorrow it's the downhillers' turn on the course, and the weather is looking mixed.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing2:01:41
2Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:01:09
3Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:09:08
4Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:10:11
5Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team0:10:15
6Chris Jongewaard (Aus)0:12:30
7Jiri Novak (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:14:03
8Hannes Metzler (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:16:01
9Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:17:15
10Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:21:11
11Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:23:05
12Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team0:26:38
13Matthys Beukes (RSA)0:28:05
14Michael Broderick (USA)0:28:42
15Oliver Munnik (RSA)0:33:51
16Marc Beaumont (GBr)
17Bjorn Brems (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team
Marc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)
DNFRenay Groustra (RSA)
DNFBen Henderson (Aus)
DNFSergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing
DNFChristoph Soukup (Aut)
DNFAdrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Qhubeka
DNSMoritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team
DNSLiam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team
DNSPatrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team
DNSHannes Metzler (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team
DNSJelmer Pietersma (Ned) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team
DNSJustin Porteous (RSA)
DNSUwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team
DNSMartinus Esmeyer (RSA)
DNSChristoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing
DNSPhilip Buys (RSA)
DNSDaniel Mcconnell (Aus)
DNSChristopher Wolhuter (RSA)
DNSBurry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing
DNSWolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team1:42:06
2Willow Koerber (USA) Trek World Racing0:01:56
3Esther Süss (Swi)0:02:36
4Mary Mcconneloug (USA)0:09:12
5Katherine O'shea (Aus)0:22:49
6Inbar Ronen (Isr)0:23:14
7Rie Katayama (Jpn)0:26:51
8Samantha Sanders (RSA)
DNFLene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Racing
DNSAmy-Jane Mundy (RSA)
DNSEszter Erdelyi (Hun) MTN Qhubeka
DNSPetru Prinsloo (RSA)
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Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andy Eyring (Ger)1:50:22
2Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)0:03:13
3Rourke Croeser (RSA) Orange Monkey / Cannondale (RSA)0:04:11
4David Fletcher (GBr)0:04:57
5Louis-Bresler Knipe (RSA)0:05:39
6James Reid (RSA)0:08:47
7Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team (Bel)0:10:02
8Travis Walker (RSA)0:16:11
9Lourens Luus (RSA)0:18:37
10Shaun Craig Silver (RSA)0:27:44
11Jedson Tooms (RSA)
12Luc Desvaux De Marigny (RSA)
13Jason Meaton (RSA)
DNFRyan Ellis (RSA)
DNFBryce Munro (RSA)
DNFDominic Calitz (RSA) Team Protek
DNFDarryn Purtell (RSA)
DNFFabian Strecker (Ger)
DNFMarcel Fleschhut (Ger)
DNSAdriaan Louw (RSA)
DNSHilton Frost (RSA)
DNSRuan Du Toit (RSA)
DNSXander Botha (RSA)
DNSJeff Luyten (Bel) MPL Specialized MTB Team
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Under 23 women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Mariske Strauss (RSA)
2Candice Neethling (RSA)
3Rebecca Henderson (Aus)
4Angela Egeland (RSA)
5Amy Mcdougall (RSA)
DNFCaitlin De Wet (RSA)

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