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Absalon wins La Bresse cross country in front of home crowd

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A jubilant Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) wins the La Bresse World Cup on home soil

A jubilant Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) wins the La Bresse World Cup on home soil (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing)

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The crowds came for Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team)

The crowds came for Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale)

Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing)

Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Lukas Fluckiger (Trek World Racing)

Lukas Fluckiger (Trek World Racing) (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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Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team)

Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Florian Vogel (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team)

Florian Vogel (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Fabian Giger (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) leading at the end of the start loop

Fabian Giger (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) leading at the end of the start loop (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized)

Max Plaxton (Specialized) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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La Bresse World Cup elite men's podium: Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower), Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), Julien Absalon (Orbea), Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida), Fabian Giger (Rabobank)

La Bresse World Cup elite men's podium: Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower), Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), Julien Absalon (Orbea), Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida), Fabian Giger (Rabobank) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Julien Absalon (Orbea) won the elite men's cross country World Cup in front of a home crowd in La Bresse, France. The course had been described repeatedly as "old school", and Absalon clearly liked it, taking his 25th World Cup before his home crowd.

Absalon, who lives about 10km away, rode a smart race tactically and managed to escape the bad luck that affected some of the other favorites. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) steadily worked his way up throughout the race and made a late bid to overtake Absalon, but finished second. Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida) was third, putting in a strong performance in his quest to make the Swiss Olympic team.

"It is maybe one of my best races. It's been in mind forever - the first World Cup at home is a lot of pressure, and I'm happy," said Absalon after winning on the course, which was designed by his brother Remi.

It was a dramatic finish with Absalon crashing on the final technical descent. A surging Kulhavy nearly caught the Frenchman, who quickly got back up and into action.

"It was hard. I was in good shape, but I was suffering a lot. When I saw Jaroslav in the last half lap, I was dead," said Absalon to "I was thinking I needed to go slow and not crash on that last descent, but then I lost my concentration and I crashed."

While the women's race was influenced by crashes among the favorites, the elite men's race was influenced more by mechanicals and flats. Burry Stander (Specialized) was crashed into by another rider and burped a tire not long after the start, and Marco Fontana (Cannondale) flatted while leading the race, unfortunately immediately after passing the tech zone which meant he had a long way to go for help. Moritz Milatz (BMC) also had a mechanical just after the tech zone and Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) required a wheel change. World Cup leader Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) sat out the race due to "stomach problems".

Swiss riders Näf and Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower), each vying for an Olympic spot on the Swiss team, set the early fast pace, joined by Fontana until his flat. With so far to go until the next tech zone, Fontana dropped out.

Absalon bridged up on lap two of the six-lap race. Näf dropped back first, and then Vogel, as they struggled to match the searing pace of the French champion.

Milatz, Giger and Lukas Flueckiger chased together until Milatz's mechanical. That left Giger, Vogel and Naef to form the primary chase group.

At the end of lap 4, Naef made an impressive bid for victory by attacking, then catching and passing Absalon. But Absalon wasn't about to give up a win on home turf and he surged past Naef on the climb on lap 5.

World champion and 2011 World Cup champion Kulhavy, who had been steadily working his way up through the field after a poor start, overtook a fried Naef and went in hot pursuit of Absalon. He got to within 20 seconds and almost caught Absalon on the final descent of the final lap, when the fatigued Frenchman crashed by going over the bars. Absalon almost lost the race, but recovered in time to ride across the line, celebrating in front of thousands of hometown fans. It meant Kulhavy finished just seven seconds back in second place, and Näf soloed in for third.

The absent Schurter, the only Swiss man already guaranteed a spot on the nation's Olympic team, remains the World Cup leader, with 700 points, followed by Absalon with 650 and Kulhavy at 625.


Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing Team1:37:33
2Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:00:07
3Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:00:40
4Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:01:24
5Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:01:41
6Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing0:02:08
7Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra)0:02:20
8Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry0:02:35
9Max Plaxton (Can)0:02:51
10Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:03:20
11José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:03:24
12Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:03:45
13Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:03:46
14Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:04:15
15Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:04:42
16Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:05:32
17Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi0:05:43
18Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:05:46
19Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:05:47
20Martino Fruet (Ita)0:05:51
21Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)0:06:05
22Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss SR -Suntour0:06:08
23Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:06:10
24Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing0:06:21
25Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:06:26
26Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:06:52
27Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:06:54
28Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team0:06:59
29Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing0:07:05
30Andras Parti (Hun) Euroone-Waberer's-Cube MTB Team0:07:24
31Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team0:07:37
32Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec0:07:44
33Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:07:59
34Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek0:08:06
35Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team0:08:28
36Stephen Ettinger (USA) Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team0:08:55
37Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - Corratec0:09:33
38Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team0:09:50
39Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix0:09:59
40Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:10:02
41Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:10:07
42Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:10:16
43Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team
44David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey-Cannondale0:10:18
45Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team0:10:24
46Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)0:10:38
47Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru - Trek0:10:44
48Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:10:59
49Alexis Chenevier (Fra) Scott Les Saisies0:11:10
50Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:11:11
51Marek Galinski (Pol) JGB - 2 Professional MTB Team0:11:29
52Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:11:37
53Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) Isd MTB Team0:12:01
54Umberto Corti (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.0:12:22
55Ruben Almeida (Por)0:12:28
56Hannes Metzler (Aut)0:12:32
57Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss SR -Suntour0:12:34
58Piotr Brzozka (Pol) JGB - 2 Professional MTB Team0:12:44
59Marc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)0:12:52
60Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:12:58
61Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus MIG Team0:13:35
62Kevin Pauwels (Bel)0:14:42
-1lapMartin Loo (Est) Hard Rock Canossa Merida
-1lapSpencer Paxson (USA) Kona
-1lapSebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team
-1lapHans Becking (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
-1lapPatrik Gallati (Swi) Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team
-1lapKazuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn)
-1lapSimon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
-1lapPascal Schmutz (Swi)
-1lapPaolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)
-1lapPierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Lapierre International
-1lapDavid Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)
-2lapsTiago Jorge Oliveira Ferreira (Por) Bi&Esse - Infotre Protek
-2lapsPascal Hossay (Bel) Merida Wallonie Mountain Bike Team
-2lapsBenjamin Wittrup Justesen (Den)
-2lapsJavier Eduardo Puschel (Chi)
-2lapsLukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes Rockets
-2lapsDaniel Eymann (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
-2lapsSeverin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
-2lapsMarcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team
-2lapsLudovic Dubau (Fra) Team Newcycling
-2lapsDerek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Roxracing
-2lapsGiuseppe Lamastra (Ita)
-2lapsCristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)
-2lapsMichael Broderick (USA)
-2lapsSeiya Hirano (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team
-2lapsLukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized
-2lapsVitalii Zubchenko (Ukr) Isd MTB Team
-2lapsDariusz Batek (Pol)
-2lapsJonas Baumann (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team
-2lapsSimon Gegenheimer (Ger)
-3lapsDavy Huygens (Bel)
-3lapsPaul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team
-3lapsSid Taberlay (Aus)
-3lapsSimon Seehofer (Aut)
-3lapsMarco Schätzing (Ger)
-3lapsBrice Scholtes (Bel) Merida Wallonie Mountain Bike Team
-3lapsTim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team
-3lapsSandro Soncin (Swi)
-3lapsBojan Djurdjic (Srb) Salcano Factory Team
-3lapsSteffen Thum (Ger)
-3lapsAdrien Niyonshuti (Rwa)
-3lapsWeisong Tong (Chn)
-3lapsPascal Meyer (Swi)
-3lapsArtyom Golovaschenko (Kaz)
-3lapsKlaus Nielsen (Den)
-3lapsDennis Ebert (Ned)
-3lapsPhilip Buys (RSA)
-4lapsRobby De Bock (Bel)
-4lapsBesik Gavasheli (Geo)
DNFGeoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing
DNFJan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized
DNFMoritz Milatz (Ger) Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team
DNFAlexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International
DNFJiri Novak (Cze)
DNFInaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team
DNFDaniel Geismayr (Aut)
DNFAndy Eyring (Ger)
DNFJulien Taramarcaz (Swi) Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team
DNFMarco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing
DNFChristoph Soukup (Aut)
DNFOleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) Isd MTB Team
DNFGiancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
DNFAdam Morka (Can)
DNFJohn Whittington (GBr)
DNFKirill Kazantsev (Kaz)
DNFOliver Beckingsale (GBr)
DNFRobert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team
DNFSven Nys (Bel)
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel)
DNSNino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team
DNSCédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix
DNSAlban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team
DNSBrian Lopes (USA)
DNSHeiko Gutmann (Ger)
DNSMiha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.Com
DNSFlorian Thie (Swi)
DNSArnould Jeremy (Fra)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Specialized Racing68pts
2Multivan Merida Biking Team64
3Cannondale Factory Racing41
4Orbea Racing Team40
5Trek World Racing37
6Rabobank Giant Offroad Team36
7Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing32
8Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team30
9BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry23
10TX Active Bianchi14
11Topeak Ergon Racing Team13
12Giant Swiss SR -Suntour9
13Giant Factory Off-Road Team6
14Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team3
15Euroone-Waberer's-Cube MTB Team1

Elite men individual World Cup standings after four rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi)700pts
2Julien Absalon (Fra)650
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)625
4Burry Stander (RSA)568
5Manuel Fumic (Ger)470
6Fabian Giger (Swi)440
7Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita)410
8José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)405
9Ralph Naef (Swi)395
10Florian Vogel (Swi)390
11Lukas Flückiger (Swi)385
12Christoph Sauser (Swi)364
13Stéphane Tempier (Fra)364
14Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra)331
15Maxime Marotte (Fra)314
16Moritz Milatz (Ger)290
17Rudi Van Houts (Ned)284
18Martin Gujan (Swi)280
19Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa)272
20Emil Lindgren (Swe)242
21Mathias Flückiger (Swi)236
22Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa)227
23Max Plaxton (Can)212
24Jochen Kass (Ger)212
25Liam Killeen (GBr)206
26Geoff Kabush (Can)192
27Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa)190
28Karl Markt (Aut)189
29Wolfram Kurschat (Ger)187
30Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn)166
31Samuel Schultz (USA)162
32Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa)160
33Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)152
34Thomas Litscher (Swi)148
35Marek Konwa* (Pol)143
36Michele Casagrande (Ita)135
37Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned)127
38Milan Spesny (Cze)124
39Catriel Andres Soto (Arg)114
40Tony Longo (Ita)111
41Martin Fanger (Swi)108
42Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra)105
43Jan Skarnitzl (Cze)104
44Fabien Canal (Fra)103
45Sven Nys (Bel)100
46Martino Fruet (Ita)98
47Jürg Graf (Swi)98
48Jiri Novak (Cze)91
49Stephen Ettinger (USA)90
50Todd Wells (USA)83
51Chris Jongewaard (Aus)82
52Derek Zandstra (Can)76
53Andrea Tiberi (Ita)70
54Matous Ulman (Cze)68
55Andras Parti (Hun)63
56Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut)56
57Cédric Ravanel (Fra)53
58Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel)53
59Jeremiah Bishop (USA)52
60Piotr Brzozka (Pol)51
61Umberto Corti (Ita)48
62Lukas Sablik (Cze)42
63Lachlan Norris (Aus)41
64Julien Taramarcaz (Swi)40
65Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA)40
66Marek Galinski (Pol)37
67Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)34
68Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)30
69Robert Mennen (Ger)30
70Philip Buys (RSA)30
71Adam Craig (USA)29
72Alban Lakata (Aut)29
73Periklis Ilias (Gre)27
74David Fletcher (GBr)24
75Patrik Gallati (Swi)24
76Kristian Hynek (Cze)20
77Jérémy Huguenin (Swi)20
78Alexis Chenevier (Fra)19
79Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)16
80Sergji Rysenko (Ukr)15
81Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)14
82Ruben Almeida (Por)13
83Hannes Metzler (Aut)12
84Kevin Pauwels (Bel)11
85Michal Lami (Svk)10
86David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)10
87Sebastien Carabin (Bel)10
88Marc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)9
89Martin Loo (Est)8

Team World Cup standings after four rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Specialized Racing295pts
2Cannondale Factory Racing238
4Multivan Merida Biking Team227
3Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team194
6Orbea Racing Team134
5Rabobank Giant Offroad Team131
7Trek World Racing119
10Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing83
8TX Active Bianchi74
9BMC Mountainbike Racing Team59
12BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry59
11Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team39
14Elettroveneta - Corratec24
15Giant Factory Off-Road Team20
20Topeak Ergon Racing Team17
16Subaru - Trek11
21Giant Swiss SR -Suntour10
17Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized8
18Lapierre International6
19S&H Superior MTB Team5
Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
Euroone-Waberer's-Cube MTB Team


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