Van Der Heijden solos to U23 victory in Mont-Sainte-Anne

Michiel Van der Heijden (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) soloed to victory in the Under-23 men's cross country race at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup on Saturday morning. Gerhard Kerschbaumer (TX Active Bianchi) rode on his own into second place while Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus MIG Team) was third.

"I was so motivated today to win this race because two years ago, I won the junior world championships here, and I love the track," said Van Der Heijden. "Last year, I was not here and I was really looking forward to coming back. Today, I felt great and the course was super - it was a perfect day."

Four men started out in the lead including Julian Schelb, Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus MIG Team), Ondrej Cink (Merida Biking Team) and Gerhard Kerschbaumer (TX Active Bianchi). Van Der Heijden was not far behind and soon moved up.

Cink dropped out of the mix after he crashed on a downhill rock garden and had a related mechanical. He did not finish.

Schelb had string of misfortunes but managed to finish in 11th. "It was not so good. I was in second behind Kerschbaumer, and then I had chainsuck in a rock garden and crashed," said Schelb. "I banged up my knee. After that I lost some air in my tire and crashed again."

Van der Heijden moved up to the front with Kerschbaumer and the two battled for the lead until a decisive moment when the Italian crashed on the third lap.

"In a technical section, I crashed and he got by me and got a gap," said Kerschbaumer, who was named on the Italian Olympic team. "The race was very hard and very technical. I like this race." He is especially looking forward to next weekend's race in Windham, where he won last year.

Once Van der Heijden got the lead, he never looked back. "On the last lap just before the long downhill before the feedzone, I took over from Gerhard. I immediately got a gap and kept on pushing."

Third place finisher Schulte-Luenzum was happy to see his form coming on just as he had planned for this season. "I took a week off after La Bresse and have been building up ever since. You never know what you're form will be like after a break, but I got lucky and it worked. There were tough conditions today - slippery. You had to be very concentrated and not go over your limit. I think my tactic was good ... to find my rhythm and stick to that." He flatted in the last lap, but called it a "lucky flat" as he was just 1km from the finish and did not lose any placings.

Ruben Scheire (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) finished fourth ahead of James Reid in fifth.

"It was good. I haven't had much cross country racing lately. Coming from South Africa, it's hard to gauge where you are," said Reid in his second top-five World Cup finish of his career. "I felt good on the first lap - the start loop suited me. I just felt better from there. I was excited. I follow these guys and track them and to race with them is exciting."

Russell Finsterwald (Subaru - Trek) put in the top North American performance with a 10th place.

"I'm really stoked. Each lap, I'd pick off two or three people. After the first lap, I was 20th, and I just kept it together and kept moving up throughout the race."

"I felt good, and this is one of my favorite courses because there is more than just a fitness element. There is a lot of technical stuff out there. It's fun to have that in the mix. It's good for me." Finsterwald was eighth at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup last year.

Alexander Gehbauer continues to lead the World Cup standings with 310 points after five rounds while Cink remains in second with 270 points.  With his win today, Van der Heijden moved up to third spot, now with 265 points.

Full Results

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U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team1:26:57
2Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:00:34
3Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus MIG Team0:01:49
4Ruben Scheire (Bel) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry0:02:10
5James Reid (RSA)0:03:01
6Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)0:03:32
7Mirco Widmer (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour0:03:39
8Kenta Gallagher (GBr)0:03:54
9Reto Indergand (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:04:17
10Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru - Trek0:04:44
11Julian Schelb (Ger)0:05:06
12Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Evan Guthrie (Can)0:05:27
14Gregor Raggl (Aut)0:05:48
15Olof Jonsson (Swe) Team Fujibikes Rockets0:05:51
16Emilien Barben (Swi)0:05:58
17Mitchell Bailey (Can)0:06:14
18Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Factory Team0:07:02
19Andrey Fonseca (CRc)0:07:21
20Jack Haig (Aus)0:07:29
21Kerry Werner (USA)0:07:37
22Leandre Bouchard (Can)0:07:46
23Zsolt Juhasz (Hun)0:08:13
24Antoine Caron (Can)0:08:26
25Hilvar Yamid Malaver (Col)0:08:59
26Andrew L'esperance (Can)0:09:13
27Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing0:09:22
28Lukas Loretz (Swi) Giant Swiss Sr - Suntour0:10:03
29Patrick Chartrand (Can)0:10:25
30Luke Roberts (RSA)0:10:27
31Steven Noble (Can)0:10:59
32Evan Mcneely (Can)0:11:10
33Diyer Rincon (Col)0:11:47
34Brad Hudson (NZl)0:12:22
35Skyler Trujillo (USA)0:14:17
36Sebastian Batchelor (GBr)0:14:31
37Tom Bradshaw (NZl)0:15:50
38Roger Walder (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:16:29
39Varga Daniel (Can)0:16:56
40Samuel Tremblay (Can)0:17:50
41Alex Lavertu (Can)0:18:04
42Cole Oberman (USA)Row 41 - Cell 2
DNFJeremy Martin (Can)Row 42 - Cell 2
DNFSeamus Powell (USA)Row 43 - Cell 2
DNFMathew Waghorn (NZl)Row 44 - Cell 2
DNFRourke Croeser (RSA) Orange Monkey-CannondaleRow 45 - Cell 2
DNFFelix Wilberg (Can)Row 46 - Cell 2
DNFOndrej Cink (Cze) Merida Biking TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
DNFPhilippe Depault (Can)Row 48 - Cell 2
DNSLuis Rojas (Arg)Row 49 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
U23 men World Cup standings after five rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexander Gehbauer (Aut)310pts
2Ondrej Cink (Cze)270Row 1 - Cell 3
3Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned)265Row 2 - Cell 3
4Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger)257Row 3 - Cell 3
5Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita)247Row 4 - Cell 3
6Matthias Stirnemann (Swi)127Row 5 - Cell 3
7Ruben Scheire (Bel)126Row 6 - Cell 3
8Daniele Braidot (Ita)114Row 7 - Cell 3
9Julian Schelb (Ger)110Row 8 - Cell 3
10James Reid (RSA)90Row 9 - Cell 3
11Nicholas Pettina (Ita)77Row 10 - Cell 3
12Christian Pfäffle (Ger)57Row 11 - Cell 3
13Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)55Row 12 - Cell 3
14Mirco Widmer (Swi)52Row 13 - Cell 3
15Jeff Luyten (Bel)51Row 14 - Cell 3
16Olof Jonsson (Swe)43Row 15 - Cell 3
17Kenta Gallagher (GBr)39Row 16 - Cell 3
18Hugo Drechou (Fra)39Row 17 - Cell 3
19Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa)37Row 18 - Cell 3
20Reto Indergand (Swi)36Row 19 - Cell 3
21Didier Bats (Bel)34Row 20 - Cell 3
22Marek Rauchfuss (Cze)33Row 21 - Cell 3
23Gregor Raggl (Aut)32Row 22 - Cell 3
24Jonas De Backer (Bel)31Row 23 - Cell 3
25Jordan Sarrou (Fra)29Row 24 - Cell 3
26Bart De Vocht (Bel)27Row 25 - Cell 3
27Russell Finsterwald (USA)26Row 26 - Cell 3
28Zsolt Juhasz (Hun)25Row 27 - Cell 3
29Maxime Urruty (Fra)24Row 28 - Cell 3
30Marvin Gruget (Fra)23Row 29 - Cell 3
31Rourke Croeser (RSA)21Row 30 - Cell 3
32Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (Col)20Row 31 - Cell 3
33Jan Nesvadba (Cze)18Row 32 - Cell 3
34Evan Guthrie (Can)16Row 33 - Cell 3
35Martin Gluth (Ger)15Row 34 - Cell 3
36Dirk Peters (NZl)14Row 35 - Cell 3
37Roger Walder (Swi)12Row 36 - Cell 3
38Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr)11Row 37 - Cell 3
39Emilien Barben (Swi)10Row 38 - Cell 3
40Mitchell Bailey (Can)9Row 39 - Cell 3
41Fabrice Mels (Bel)8Row 40 - Cell 3
42Ivan Smirnov (Rus)8Row 41 - Cell 3
43Andrey Fonseca (CRc)7Row 42 - Cell 3
44Truls Engen Korsaeth (Nor)7Row 43 - Cell 3
45Grant Ferguson (GBr)7Row 44 - Cell 3
46Jack Haig (Aus)6Row 45 - Cell 3
47Kerry Werner (USA)5Row 46 - Cell 3
48Tomas Paprstka (Cze)5Row 47 - Cell 3
49Sebastian Batchelor (GBr)5Row 48 - Cell 3
50Leandre Bouchard (Can)4Row 49 - Cell 3
51Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)4Row 50 - Cell 3
52Luke Roberts (RSA)4Row 51 - Cell 3
53Lukas Loretz (Swi)3Row 52 - Cell 3
54Luca Braidot (Ita)3Row 53 - Cell 3
55Antoine Caron (Can)2Row 54 - Cell 3
56Pavel Priadein (Rus)2Row 55 - Cell 3
57Julien Trarieux (Fra)2Row 56 - Cell 3
58Hilvar Yamid Malaver (Col)1Row 57 - Cell 3


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