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Attacking raid nets Freiburghaus the eliminator victory

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Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing Team ) wins

Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing Team ) wins
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Paul Van Der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team) out of the start house

Paul Van Der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team) out of the start house
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Podium: Wildhaber, van der Ploeg, Freiburghaus, Widmer, Konwa

Podium: Wildhaber, van der Ploeg, Freiburghaus, Widmer, Konwa
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Eventual winner Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing Team ) qualified 9th

Eventual winner Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing Team ) qualified 9th
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Brian Lopes (Ibis) did not get past then First Round

Brian Lopes (Ibis) did not get past then First Round
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Simon Gegenheimer leading in SemiFinal heat

Simon Gegenheimer leading in SemiFinal heat
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup put a new face on the top step of the podium of the eliminator at Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic on Friday. A brillant mid-race attack by Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing) caught all of his rivals off guard, allowing the Swiss rider to take the win.

Australian Paul van der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) was considered the favourite for the men, after qualifying first and finishing second here last year. His powerful sprint afforded him the ability to come from behind on the long finishing straight.

In the final, Freiburghaus and van der Ploeg were joined by Mirco Widmer (Giant Swiss SR Suntour), Germany's Martin Gluth, Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Swisspower) and Marek Konwa (Milka-Superior).

Significantly, round one winner Brian Lopes and cross country stars Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and Marco Fontana (Cannondale) did not make the final.

In the final, at the far side of the course on the only climb, Freiburghaus attacked, immediately gaining 10 metres on his rivals, who all looked at each other, with none willing to take the initiative and lead the chase. Coming into the final straightaway, Freiburghaus was still well in front and cruised across the line while van der Ploeg led the rest of the group in, shaking his head. Widmer took third.

"It was pretty tactical in the climb," said Freiburghaus, "and so I changed my tactic for the final. I tried with an attack on the climb, and then got a gap. On this eliminator it was very important to have a good tactic. If you were in the lead for the whole round, you had a problem when you came with four or five guys onto this straight finish. I am very happy to bring it to the line."

"It was a brilliant move by Sepp [Freiburghaus]," said van der Ploeg. "I was thinking 'oh damn' when he attacked, but that was it, that was the move. I would have liked to have won, of course, but I'm happy to be on the podium again."

Full Results

Big final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
2Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
3Mirco Widmer (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour
4Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team
5Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
6Martin Gluth (Ger)

Small final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
7Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team
8Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team
9Jochen Kass (Ger) S&H Superior MTB Team
10Milan Spesny (Cze) Cannondale Factory Racing
11Martin Gujan (Swi) Notebooksbilliger.De Team
12Daniel Federspiel (Aut)

Round 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team
13Jan Fojtik (Cze)
14Lukas Loretz (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour
15Philip Buys (RSA)
16Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)
17Lukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets
18Marco Schätzing (Ger)
19Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
20Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
21Kenta Gallagher (GBr)
22Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
23Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Factory Team
24Matthias Wengelin (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet
25Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing
26Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team
27Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour
28Miha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.Com
29Brian Lopes (USA)
30Michal Lami (Svk)
31Markus Bauer (Ger)
32Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet
33Jan Nesvadba (Cze)
34Marek Rauchfuss (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team
35Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing
36Davy Huygens (Bel)

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