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Lopes wins eliminator cross country

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Brian Lopes (Ibis) leading in the Big Final

Brian Lopes (Ibis) leading in the Big Final
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Kenta Gallagher (Team Great Britain)

Kenta Gallagher (Team Great Britain)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Brian Lopes (Ibis) won every heat

Brian Lopes (Ibis) won every heat
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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1/16 Final: Marcel Wildhaber (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team) out front

1/16 Final: Marcel Wildhaber (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team) out front
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elite men's eliminator podium: Severin Disch, Daniel Federspiel, Brian Lopes, Simon Gegenheimer, Paul van der Ploeg

Elite men's eliminator podium: Severin Disch, Daniel Federspiel, Brian Lopes, Simon Gegenheimer, Paul van der Ploeg
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The start ramp for the eliminator heats

The start ramp for the eliminator heats
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Brian Lopes (Ibis) qualified first

Brian Lopes (Ibis) qualified first
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Paul van der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team)

Paul van der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) did not qualify after crashing on the descent

Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) did not qualify after crashing on the descent
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) unclipped on the first climb, and did not qualify

Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) unclipped on the first climb, and did not qualify
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Semi-Final: Paul van der Ploeg crashes, but Brian Lopes is long gone off the front already

Semi-Final: Paul van der Ploeg crashes, but Brian Lopes is long gone off the front already
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

American Brian Lopes took a convincing win at the first mountain bike eliminator UCI World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium, giving him World Cup victories in three disciplines - dual slalom, four cross and now eliminator.

Lopes was untouchable in the men's competition, bursting down the start ramp and opening bike lengths before the riders even hit the climb. He qualified first and then won every heat. He would lose ground a bit on the climb, but then open it back up on the descent.

Two favourites that did not make through qualifying were the Cannondale Factory team duo of Manuel Fumic and Marco Fontana. Fumic crashed on the descent, while Fontana slipped out of his pedal early on the climb, landing on his top tube.

For the final, Lopes was joined by three relatively unknown riders - Daniel Federspiel (Notebooksbilliger.de), Simon Gegenheimer (Ultra Sports Rose) and Severin Disch (Thoemus Racing). Again Lopes got a strong start, however, he lost some ground on the first corner of the climb when he had to put his foot down. It made no difference, as he soon opened up a gap again to cruise to the win, followed by Federspiel, Gegenheimer and Disch.

"Oh, I am just happy," said Lopes. "I have been training a few months for these things and it is nice when you put in a lot of hard work and it pays off. I didn't think at 40 years old I'd be racing World Cups again, but I'm back. It's nice to get a victory.

"I've been racing BMX, four cross and so on since I was four years old and my specialty has always been getting a good start, getting out in front. I gotta be honest, I was a little worried with this course, a lot of climbing, a lot more climbing in it than I was training for and a lot different than the previous test events. So when I got a little tweet message from [cross country rider] Todd Wells a few days ago, he was like 'I hope you lost some weight, cuz your gonna have to do a lotta climbing on this course', and I was like 'Whooo, we'll see. Hope I lost enough weight for yah buddy!'"

Big Final
1Brian Lopes (USA)
2Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Notebooksbilliger.de Team
3Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) Ultra Sports Rose
4Severin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team

Small Final
5Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
6Kenta Gallagher (GBr)
7Lukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets
8Tim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team

1/4 Finals
9Miha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.com
10Lars Forster (Swi)
11Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)
12Emil Linde (Swe)
13Stefan Peter (Swi) MTB Kader Zentralschweiz
14Markus Bauer (Ger)
DNFMarcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team
DNFNicola Rohrbach (Swi)

1/8 Finals
17Martin Gluth (Ger)
18Mirco Widmer (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour
19Julian Schelb (Ger)
20Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
21Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team
22Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
23Hans Becking (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
24Klaus Nielsen (Den)
25Dennis Ebert (Ned)
26Giancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
27Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet
28Timofei Ivanov (Rus)
29Fredrik Fang Liland (Nor) Merida NTG
30Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour
31Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
32Sondre Kristiansen (Nor) Merida NTG

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