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Kalentieva wins the elite women's cross country at Hafjell World Cup

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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida) with Norwegian family and friends who came out to support her.

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida) with Norwegian family and friends who came out to support her.
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
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Elite women's cross country podium at the Hafjell World Cup

Elite women's cross country podium at the Hafjell World Cup
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
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Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) wins the elite women's cross country World Cup in Hafjell, Norway

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) wins the elite women's cross country World Cup in Hafjell, Norway
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida)

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida)
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
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Hanna Klein, Nadine Rieder (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)

Hanna Klein, Nadine Rieder (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing Team)

Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team)

Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC) and Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC) and Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The start

The start
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Tanja Zakelj fan club

Tanja Zakelj fan club
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC)

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC Team)

Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Lea Davison (Specialized Racing XC)

Lea Davison (Specialized Racing XC)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC) and Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC) and Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) celebrates winning the overall World Cup standings.

Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) celebrates winning the overall World Cup standings.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elite women's cross country World Cup podium in Hafjell, Norway

Elite women's cross country World Cup podium in Hafjell, Norway
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elite women's final World Cup overall cross country podium

Elite women's final World Cup overall cross country podium
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) won the eighth cross country World Cup of her career in Hafjell, Norway on Saturday. Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) narrowly beat Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour-KMC) for the second spot while Lea Davison (Specialized) put in a top five finish for fourth and home crowd favorite Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) was fifth.

"It's unbelievable," said Kalentieva after winning. "This year I had a lot of bad luck. I was fourth in the Worlds, like at the Olympics. I know this feeling from earlier, when I won many times in the World Cup and Worlds. I'm so happy."

"I knew that in this race, I'd have to be at the front in the beginning. It was so fast and today I did it - I was near the front. When I was in third and fourth, I was thinking, today I can win, so I tried and gave everything."

The short 4.1-kilometre course proved to be very tough, with many riders underestimating the constant climbing and rough, rocky descents. Four riders went to the front on the first lap of the six lap women's race, and attrition gradually whittled their numbers down. Kalentieva was joined at the front by round one winner Lechner, world champion Bresset and Davison.

Behind, local favourite Dahle Flesjaa rode her own pace for the entire race to stay in fifth, while the lead was constantly shuffled at the front.

Davison was the first to get dropped, on lap three, while Kalentieva, Lechner and Bresset took turns pushing each other. Lechner made a strong attack with a lap and a half to go, dropping Bresset for good, but Kalentieva clawed her way back up and then broke clear on the one of the final climbs, to solo in by 20 seconds ahead of Lechner.

The race came down to the last lap. With one and a half laps to go, Bresset made her attack and distanced Lechner and Kalentieva while Davison chased alone in fourth. However, after a flat tire, Bresset was reeled back in and passed. She was not near a tech zone and lost substantial time on her way to getting a wheel change, dropping back to fourth.

The French woman put in an impressive comeback to catch and pass Davison. She also caught up to Lechner on the final lap, but the Italian held her off.

Kalentieva, alone at the front after Bresset's flat, had plenty of time to celebrate her win while Lechner held off the chase from Bresset.

Behind, Zakelj rode back in eighth place for the first half of the race before starting to move forward to eventually finish sixth, cementing her overall World Cup title, and becoming the first Slovenian to win both an individual World Cup (rounds two and three), as well as an overall title. Lechner's second place moved her into second overall from fourth, leapfrogging Katerina Nash (Luna), who dropped from second to third.

"It's so amazing. I never expected it at the beginning of this season," said the new World Cup champion Zakelj. "I never expected before this season that something this awesome would happen to me. This race was so tough - the toughest in my whole career. I felt a lot of pressure and wanted to keep focused. What I achieved is so important and simply amazing, I haven't been able to think about it yet."

"All the pressure that I felt (made the race hard) and the conditions were not perfect for me. I like it more warm and more sunny, but the conditions were the same for everybody. And I think it was normal that the other girls to be at the front that were not so strong at the beginning of the season, because it is very tough to keep so high every race,. This day I still managed to be very close to the podium and I am very happy about it."

"I hope I will continue to do races like that in my future. I am still young, and I have many opportunities in front of me, I am looking forward to next season," said Zakelj.

Race note

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) sat out the race after injuring herself in a crash during training at the world championships two weeks ago. She has since undergone surgery on her shoulder.

Full Results

Elite women cross country
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team1:25:34
2Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol0:00:20
3Julie Bresset (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC0:00:22
4Lea Davison (USA) Specialized Racing XC0:00:54
5Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:01:17
6Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:02:48
7Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team0:03:23
8Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Giant Pro XC Team0:04:17
9Jolanda Neff* (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team0:04:46
10Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:05:15
11Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team0:05:41
12Esther Süss (Swi) Wheeler - iXS Team0:05:56
13Katarzyna Solus-Miskowicz (Pol)0:06:07
14Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:06:47
15Adelheid Morath (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team0:07:01
16Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Team Colnago Sudtirol0:07:03
17Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:07:13
18Mikaela Kofman (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:07:58
19Hanna Klein (Ger)0:08:48
20Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team0:09:24
21Lene Byberg (Nor)0:09:56
22Githa Michiels (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team0:10:17
23Nadine Rieder (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:10:33
24Mary Mcconneloug (USA)0:10:36
25Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team0:10:44
26Nina Wrobel (Ger)0:10:49
27Kajsa Snihs (Swe)0:11:00
28Vera Andreeva (Rus) Team Protek0:11:08
29Heidi Rosasen Sandsto (Nor) Team Giant/United Bakeries0:11:13
30Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Calcit Bike Team0:12:05
31Elisabeth Sveum (Nor)0:12:33
32Paula Gorycka (Pol) 4F Racing Team0:13:12
33Lee Craigie (GBr)0:13:20
34Kate Fluker (NZl)0:14:06
35Erin Huck (USA)0:14:38
-1lapLucie Vesela (Cze)
-1lapAngelica Edvardsson (Swe)
-1lapElisabeth Brandau (Ger)
-1lapJitka Skarnitzlova (Cze)
-2lapsCindy Montambault (Can)
-4lapsRuth Owen-Evans (GBr)
DNFOksana Rybakova (Rus)
DNFBarbara Benko (Hun) Focus XC Team
DNFTereza Hurikova (Cze) Specialized Racing XC
DNSCorina Gantenbein (Swi) Fischer-BMC
DNSJane Nussli (GBr) Fischer-BMC

Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luna Pro Team55pts
2Ghost Factory Racing Team52
3Team Colnago Sudtirol50
4Topeak Ergon Racing Team48
5Giant Pro XC Team45
6BH - SR Suntour - KMC32
7Specialized Racing XC30
8Multivan Merida Biking Team28
9Unior Tools Team26
10Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team22
11Wheeler - iXS Team19
12Scott-3Roxracing13
13Toka Print MTB Team9
14Team Protek3
15Team Giant/United Bakeries2
16Calcit Bike Team1

Elite women cross country World Cup final standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tanja Zakelj (Slo)1080pts
2Eva Lechner (Ita)960
3Katerina Nash (Cze)955
4Maja Wloszczowska (Pol)890
5Alexandra Engen (Swe)680
6Jolanda Neff* (Swi)606
7Catharine Pendrel (Can)605
8Katrin Leumann (Swi)600
9Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor)589
10Lea Davison (USA)582
11Irina Kalentieva (Rus)578
12Emily Batty (Can)485
13Adelheid Morath (Ger)482
14Esther Süss (Swi)450
15Julie Bresset (Fra)434
16Elisabeth Osl (Aut)394
17Georgia Gould (USA)386
18Annika Langvad (Den)350
19Blaza Klemencic (Slo)344
20Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)323
21Nathalie Schneitter (Swi)316
22Mary Mcconneloug (USA)311
23Hanna Klein (Ger)286
24Sabrina Enaux (Fra)264
25Sabine Spitz (Ger)250
26Tereza Hurikova (Cze)244
27Corina Gantenbein (Swi)242
28Githa Michiels (Bel)242
29Vera Andreeva (Rus)232
30Lene Byberg (Nor)226
31Mikaela Kofman (Can)222
32Daniela Campuzano (Mex)220
33Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol)194
34Katarzyna Solus-Miskowicz (Pol)168
35Pauline Ferrand Prevot* (Fra)164
36Nadine Rieder (Ger)155
37Nina Wrobel (Ger)153
38Marianne Vos (Ned)150
39Annie Last (GBr)141
40Judy Freeman (USA)135
41Amanda Sin (Can)130
42Erin Huck (USA)130
43Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)126
44Anna Villar Argente (Spa)123
45Lee Craigie (GBr)119
46Elisabeth Sveum (Nor)118
47Jacquelina Alvarez (Arg)117
48Paula Gorycka (Pol)117
49Kate Fluker (NZl)116
50Jitka Skarnitzlova (Cze)108
51Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)107
52Fanny Bourdon (Fra)104
53Agustina Maria Apaza (Arg)88
54Andréanne Pichette (Can)86
55Cindy Montambault (Can)80
56Nataliya Krompets (Ukr)79
57Anja Gradl (Ger)79
58Barbara Benko (Hun)79
59Sandra Walter (Can)74
60Chengyuan Ren (Chn)74
61Lucie Vesela (Cze)73
62Anna Szafraniec (Pol)70
63Serena Calvetti (Ita)70
64Samara Sheppard (NZl)64
65Elvira Khayrullina (Rus)57
66Amy Dombroski (USA)56
67Kajsa Snihs (Swe)52
68Isabella Moreira Lacerda (Bra)50
69Kateryna Naberezhna (Ukr)49
70Heidi Rosasen Sandsto (Nor)48
71Teal Stetson-Lee (USA)48
72Judith Pollinger (Ita)48
73Chloe Woodruff (USA)46
74Franziska Brun (Swi)45
75Mandy Dreyer (Can)44
76Katherine O'neill (NZl)44
77Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex)42
78Lucia Vazquez Crespo (Spa)41
79Rebecca Beaumont (Can)40
80Ruth Owen-Evans (GBr)39
81Jamie Busch (USA)38
82Sarah Kaufmann (USA)36
83Annick Chretien (Can)34
84Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spa)34
85Angelica Edvardsson (Swe)32
86Erica Tingey (USA)32
87Nikki Harris (GBr)32
88Ann Berglund (Swe)30
89Sarah Koba (Swi)29
90Oksana Rybakova (Rus)28
91Irina Slobodyan (Ukr)28
92Joana Barbosa (Por)26
93Anna Oberparleiter (Ita)
94Laura Metzler (Fra)
95Helle Qvortrup Bachmann (Den)
96Hielke Elferink (Ned)
97Lenka Bulisova (Cze)
98Asuman Bura Balci (Tur)
99Laura Turpijn (Ned)

Team World Cup final standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luna Pro Team360pts
2Giant Pro XC Team330
3Ghost Factory Racing Team330
4Team Colnago Sudtirol227
5Unior Tools Team196
6Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team192
7Specialized Racing XC153
8Trek Factory Racing126
9Multivan Merida Biking Team117
10Topeak Ergon Racing Team116
11Wheeler - iXS Team98
12BH - SR Suntour - KMC94
13Team Davinci - Specialized59
14Calcit Bike Team56
15Scott-3Roxracing37
16Fischer-BMC33
17Bi&Esse Carrera31
18Team Protek28
19Toka Print MTB Team23
20Isd MTB Team8
21Team Giant/United Bakeries2
224F Racing Team1

 

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