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Engen wins first women's eliminator world championship

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World Champion Alexandra Engen (Sweden)

World Champion Alexandra Engen (Sweden)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Start of the Big Final

Start of the Big Final
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Eva Lechner (Italy) in the women's eliminator world championships

Eva Lechner (Italy) in the women's eliminator world championships
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
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A round during the elite women's eliminator finals featuring Lea Davison (United States) and other riders

A round during the elite women's eliminator finals featuring Lea Davison (United States) and other riders
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
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Alexandra Engen (Sweden) and Ralph Naef (Switzerland), first eliminator world champions

Alexandra Engen (Sweden) and Ralph Naef (Switzerland), first eliminator world champions
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Alexandra Engen (Sweden) and Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) fight for the inside line at the start of the last lap

Alexandra Engen (Sweden) and Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) fight for the inside line at the start of the last lap
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thousands watched the racing

Thousands watched the racing
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Alexandra Engen dominated every heat she was in until the finals

Alexandra Engen dominated every heat she was in until the finals
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)

Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) made it through Round 1

Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) made it through Round 1
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Alexandra Engen (Sweden) wins the first women's eliminator world championship

Alexandra Engen (Sweden) wins the first women's eliminator world championship
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The women's eliminator podium Jolanda Neff, Alexandra Engen, Aleksandra Dawidowicz

The women's eliminator podium Jolanda Neff, Alexandra Engen, Aleksandra Dawidowicz
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Alexandra Engen (Sweden) won the first-ever elite women's eliminator world championship in downtown Saalfelden, Austria on Sunday afternoon. U23 cross country world champion Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) finished in second place ahead of Alexandra Dawidowicz (Poland) in third.

The beaming Swede said after the race that her victory had not yet sunk in. "It's been an awesome day. I'm always really nervous before the qualifying because you never know if you have the legs," she said. "After qualifying, I knew I had good legs. My German team Ghost was here helping me, and I could totally focus on the race."

Engen qualified fastest earlier in the afternoon and seemed to move easily through each of her rounds. However, she met her toughest match upon reaching the finals with Neff. Engen led out the two-lap finale, but Neff was glued to her back wheel. At the sharp corner just after one lap to go, Neff jumped around Engen to the wild cheers of the crowd.

But it wasn't over. On the last lap, Engen came back around Neff and seemed like she might take it for good this time. However, the unrelenting Neff put on the gas and got around Engen again. Then Engen turned on the afterburners and put it in drag race mode to power around Neff just in time for the finish.

"You never know the outcome in a sprint because it's so tight and short, and Jolanda gave me a hard time," said Engen, who described her final lap with its constant lead changes. "It was like heart attack, euphoria, heart attack, euphoria... I searched the opportunities and took them when I could."

Neff was pleased with her silver. "It's been a great time here, and I enjoyed the race," she said. "It was a great atmosphere. Everything I had today, I gave, but Alexandra was faster. I was happy with my finish."

Because the women's race was run before the men's race, Engen became the first-ever eliminator world champion.

Bronze medallist Dawidowicz surprised herself by making the podium and winning a medal. "I'm happy with bronze. I never expected to win a medal," she Dawidowicz.

Second place qualifier Jenny Rissveds (Sweden), who has had success in the World Cup eliminator, was eliminated in the second round upon crashing.

Four cross world champion Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) and and third placed qualifier Lea Davison (United States) also didn't advance to to the third round. Beerten wasn't fast enough while Davison seemed fast enough but after leading, got passed and then caught behind two Swiss riders who shut the door on all passing opportunities.

Huge crowds came out on a beautiful sunny day to watch the racing, drink beer, eat at outdoor cafes and hang out. The booming music of the PA system contributed to the party-like atmosphere.

Full Results

Big Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Alexandra Engen (Sweden)
2Jolanda Neff* (Switzerland)
3Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland)
4Ramona Forchini° (Switzerland)

Small Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
5Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland)
6Eva Lechner (Italy)
7Cécile Ravanel (France)
8Anna Oberparleiter* (Italy)

1/4 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
9Lea Davison (United States Of America)
10Linda Indergand* (Switzerland)
11Laura Turpijn (Netherlands)
12Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)
13Anneke Beerten (Netherlands)
14Anne Terpstra* (Netherlands)
15Serena Calvetti* (Italy)
16Michelle Hediger* (Switzerland)

1/8 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
17Katrin Leumann (Switzerland)
18Maaris Meier (Estonia)
19Kajsa Snihs* (Sweden)
20Ingrid Sofie Jacobsen* (Norway)
21Ana Zupan (Slovenia)
22Rosara Joseph (New-Zealand)
23Barbara Benko* (Hungary)
24Rowena Fry (Australia)
25Andrea Waldis° (Switzerland)
26Mary Mcconneloug (United States Of America)
27Alessia Bulleri* (Italy)
28Georgia Gould (United States Of America)
29Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic)
30Heidi Rosasen Sandsto (Norway)
31Noelia Rodriguez (Argentina)
DNFJenny Rissveds° (Sweden)

Rankings by Nation
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Switzerland88pts
2Italy70
3Netherlands61
4Sweden47
5United States Of America36
6Poland30
7France26
8Germany21
9Norway16
10Estonia15
11Slovenia12
12New-Zealand11
13Hungary10
14Australia9
15Czech Republic4
16Argentina2

 

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