Cink powers to men's under 23 world championship title

Ondrej Cink won a gold medal for the Czech Republic in the under 23 men's race at the world championships in Saalfelden, Austria, on Friday afternoon. Cink, who is also the European champion, powered into the lead with just over one lap to go when he caught Michael van der Heijden (Netherlands), who had spent the middle part of the six-lap race off the front on his own.

"It's perfect, I hoped for victory today. I had concentrated on this date, and I'm happy to meet my goal," said Cink. "I didn't like the course in the beginning, but when it dried out, I was satisfied with it. The crowd was also fine, and there were a lot of Czech people who were very loud."

Daniele Braidot (Italy) raced to a bronze medal ahead of an unlucky Alexander Gehbauer (Austria) after the home crowd favorite flatted on lap four and required a wheel change. Daniele's twin brother Luca Braidot rounded out the top five.

By the start of lap 2, a lead group of four men was firmly established, including Cink, van der Heijden, Daniele Bradiot and Gehbauer. Behind them, several riders chased but could not make contact: Julian Schelb (Germany), Marek Konwa (Poland), Luca Braidot (Italy) and Jordan Sarrou (France).

Among the leaders, Cink was feeling good and biding his time while on lap three, van der Heijden was feeling good and decided to attack. He escaped alone off the front and seemed on track to take a second world championship after he first won the junior race in 2010 in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

"Before I felt strong, and I had quite a good gap," said van der Heijden. "But the last lap was too much. Maybe I went too early?"

"When Michael attacked, I thought the race is over," said Cink, "but when I saw him on the flats, I knew I could catch him and could win."

Behind van der Heijden, Gehbauer, who was with Cink chasing, was lagging on the descents. In one trip past the tech zone, the Austrian asked his crew to get a wheel ready so he could change a slowly leaking tire. Unfortunately, the wheel change which happened during the next pass through the tech zone went awry and took a relatively long time, ending his chances of a medal as he dropped back - to fourth place, where he would remain for the duration.

"I lost over a minute. I'm not happy with today," said a disappointed Gehbauer at the finish. He would not go on to win a medal in front of his home crowd although he appreciated the support. "It was amazing to race here. The people were awesome, but I did not have the best legs or the best luck. "

Van der Heijden's fatigue began to show in his body language while the chasing Cink only looked stronger and smoother as the race progressed. Toward the end of the penultimate lap, the Czech rider caught up to the Dutchman.

"When Ondrej caught me and got the gap on me on the long uphill, I couldn't hold his wheel," said van der Heijden. "I took some seconds back on the downhill, but it wasn't enough. I closed on him on the final downhill, but couldn't get back on it."

For a time, the two racers stayed together, but Cink was clearly stronger on the climbs. On the first climb of the final lap, he pulled away slightly, but van der Heijden reeled him back. However, on the second climb, Cink established enough of a lead that van der Heijden could not catch him on the final descent.

"I'm satisfied with second place, but my first reaction was a little bit of disappointment because I was so close," said van der Heijden. "I held back at first in the lead group, not doing too much work, and then attacked as I did early in other World Cups this year. Then the gaps only got bigger, and I thought maybe the same tactic would work today.

"But today, Ondrej was a bit stronger. This season he has had some very good races, and it is not too bad to lose to him, but I was so close and am a bit disappointed. Next year in Pietermaritzburg, I have another chance." In fact, he has two more years as a U23 while Cink will graduate to the elite ranks in 2013.

Daniele Braidot was delighted to get a bronze medal the day after his brother Luca helped Italy win the team relay gold.

Race note

Howard Grotts (United States) was the top North American in 16th place. "I wanted to start a little better than I did because I thought the start suited me, but it just bunched up," said Grotts. "Once I saw that, it was just picking off three or four people each lap. I'd lose a little on the descents, but I'd play it safe there so I wouldn't lose more time than I had to. I feel like I'm progressing with the categories, and I have three more years in the U23s."

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic)1:19:40
2Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)0:00:14
3Daniele Braidot (Italy)0:00:48
4Alexander Gehbauer (Austria)0:01:34
5Luca Braidot (Italy)0:02:12
6Jens Schuermans (Belgium)0:02:39
7Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy)0:02:45
8Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Germany)0:02:57
9Julian Schelb (Germany)0:03:02
10Nicholas Pettina (Italy)0:03:11
11Simon Stiebjahn (Germany)0:03:40
12Reto Indergand (Switzerland)0:03:43
13Jordan Sarrou (France)0:04:05
14Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland)0:04:31
15Ruben Scheire (Belgium)0:04:37
16Howard Grotts (United States Of America)0:04:38
17Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands)0:04:42
18Rourke Croeser (South Africa)0:04:45
19Andrea Righettini (Italy)0:04:52
20Marek Konwa (Poland)0:04:58
21Timofei Ivanov (Russian Federation)0:05:11
22Dmytro Titarenko (Ukraine)0:05:43
23Zsolt Juhasz (Hungary)0:05:51
24Christian Pfäffle (Germany)0:06:18
25Marcel Fleschhut (Germany)0:06:26
26Olof Jonsson (Sweden)0:06:41
27Marek Rauchfuss (Czech Republic)0:06:55
28Dirk Peters (New-Zealand)0:07:09
29Leandre Bouchard (Canada)0:07:13
30James Reid (South Africa)0:07:27
31Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic)0:07:31
32Grant Ferguson (Great Britain)0:07:35
33Frederico Mariano (Brazil)0:07:42
34Gregor Raggl (Austria)0:07:43
35Markus Preiss (Austria)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Mirco Widmer (Switzerland)0:08:20
37Jonas Pedersen (Denmark)0:08:33
38Ole Hem (Norway)0:08:42
39Cristofer Bosque Ruano (Spain)0:08:58
40Jeff Luyten (Belgium)0:09:05
41Andrey Fonseca (Costa Rica)0:09:11
42Kerry Werner (United States Of America)0:09:32
43Sebastian Batchelor (Great Britain)0:09:37
44Marvin Gruget (France)0:09:45
45Didier Bats (Belgium)0:09:48
46Jaime Yesid Chia Amaya (Colombia)0:09:58
47Bartlomiej Wawak (Poland)0:10:03
48Emilien Barben (Switzerland)0:10:17
49Jeremy Martin (Canada)0:10:34
50Pavel Priadein (Russian Federation)0:10:41
51Mitchell Bailey (Canada)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Fabian Rabensteiner (Italy)0:10:55
53Mario Luis Miranda Costa (Portugal)0:11:04
54Antoine Caron (Canada)0:11:17
55Jack Haig (Australia)0:11:21
56Ivan Smirnov (Russian Federation)0:11:29
57Jhonnatan Botero Villegas (Colombia)0:12:30
58Martin Gluth (Germany)0:12:31
59Kenta Gallagher (Great Britain)0:13:17
-1lapRussell Finsterwald (United States Of America)Row 59 - Cell 2
-1lapTruls Engen Korsaeth (Norway)Row 60 - Cell 2
-1lapEvan Guthrie (Canada)Row 61 - Cell 2
-1lapFrantisek Lami (Slovakia)Row 62 - Cell 2
-1lapFranco Molina (Argentina)Row 63 - Cell 2
-1lapRok Korosec (Slovenia)Row 64 - Cell 2
-1lapLouis Wolf (Germany)Row 65 - Cell 2
-1lapManfred Zöger (Austria)Row 66 - Cell 2
-1lapLuke Roberts (South Africa)Row 67 - Cell 2
-2lapsSteven James (Great Britain)Row 68 - Cell 2
-2lapsLuiz Cocuzzi (Brazil)Row 69 - Cell 2
-2lapsJozef Bebcak (Slovakia)Row 70 - Cell 2
-2lapsMichael Crosbie (Australia)Row 71 - Cell 2
-2lapsSkyler Trujillo (United States Of America)Row 72 - Cell 2
-2lapsGerman Dorhmann (Argentina)Row 73 - Cell 2
-2lapsHermann Pernsteiner (Austria)Row 74 - Cell 2
-2lapsChristoph Mick (Austria)Row 75 - Cell 2
-2lapsDimitrios Antoniadis (Greece)Row 76 - Cell 2
-2lapsLuis Rojas (Argentina)Row 77 - Cell 2
-3lapsMark Kuyan (Russian Federation)Row 78 - Cell 2
-3lapsGergo Meggyesi (Hungary)Row 79 - Cell 2
-3lapsUrban Ferencak (Slovenia)Row 80 - Cell 2
-3lapsYoshitaka Nakahara (Japan)Row 81 - Cell 2
-3lapsMarko Popovic (Serbia)Row 82 - Cell 2
-4lapsSoon Woo Kwon (Republic Of Korea)Row 83 - Cell 2
-4lapsAleksa Maric (Serbia)Row 84 - Cell 2
-4lapsJuan Busso (Argentina)Row 85 - Cell 2
-4lapsMarco Francioni (San Marino)Row 86 - Cell 2
-4lapsDaniel Hula (Slovakia)Row 87 - Cell 2
-5lapsFilip Turk (Croatia)Row 88 - Cell 2
DNFJonas De Backer (Belgium)Row 89 - Cell 2
DNFTomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)Row 90 - Cell 2
DNFLorenzo Samparisi (Italy)Row 91 - Cell 2
DNFBart De Vocht (Belgium)Row 92 - Cell 2
DNFPablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)Row 93 - Cell 2
DNFMykhaylo Batsutsa (Ukraine)Row 94 - Cell 2
DNFPatricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (Chile)Row 95 - Cell 2
DNFSturla Aune (Norway)Row 96 - Cell 2
DNFTom Bradshaw (New-Zealand)Row 97 - Cell 2
DNFTitouan Perrin Ganier (France)Row 98 - Cell 2
DNFMatis Preimanis (Latvia)Row 99 - Cell 2
DNFFabrice Mels (Belgium)Row 100 - Cell 2
DNFAndras Szatmary (Hungary)Row 101 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Rankings by nation
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
2Germany281Row 1 - Cell 3
3Czech Republic250Row 2 - Cell 3
4Belgium248Row 3 - Cell 3
5Switzerland247Row 4 - Cell 3
6Austria236Row 5 - Cell 3
7South Africa193Row 6 - Cell 3
8United States Of America191Row 7 - Cell 3
9Netherlands187Row 8 - Cell 3
10Russian Federation182Row 9 - Cell 3
11Canada180Row 10 - Cell 3
12Great Britain175Row 11 - Cell 3
13France149Row 12 - Cell 3
14Poland139Row 13 - Cell 3
15Norway107Row 14 - Cell 3
16Hungary103Row 15 - Cell 3
17Brazil103Row 16 - Cell 3
18Colombia103Row 17 - Cell 3
19Argentina93Row 18 - Cell 3
20Slovakia87Row 19 - Cell 3
21Ukraine81Row 20 - Cell 3
22Australia79Row 21 - Cell 3
23Sweden77Row 22 - Cell 3
24New-Zealand75Row 23 - Cell 3
25Denmark66Row 24 - Cell 3
26Spain64Row 25 - Cell 3
27Costa Rica62Row 26 - Cell 3
28Slovenia60Row 27 - Cell 3
29Portugal50Row 28 - Cell 3
30Serbia38Row 29 - Cell 3
31Greece26Row 30 - Cell 3
32Japan21Row 31 - Cell 3
33Republic Of Korea19Row 32 - Cell 3
34San Marino16Row 33 - Cell 3
35Croatia14Row 34 - Cell 3


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