Julien Absalon took his 30th World Cup XC win while Jolanda Neff kept her 100% record for the season intact with wins in Round 2 of the XCO World Cup in Albstadt,Germany overnight. The Frenchman took advantage of Nino Schurter’s last corner crash while first round winner Jaroslav Kulhavy completed the podium.
Neff rode away from the rest of the women to keep Gunn-Rita Dahle off the top step for the second week running ahead of World Champ Catherine Pendrel. Kate Fluker cracked the Top 20 with a great ride.
In Men’s U23 Sam Gaze kept up his good form with a 7th, while Anton Cooper bounced back from his bad day last week with 10th.
Jenny Risveds continued her domination of the Women’s U23 class.
New Zealand mountain bike stars Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper enjoyed top-10 finishes in the second round of the UCI World Cup in Germany overnight.
It was also a much improved effort from National Champion Kate Fluker who finished in the top-20 in the elite women’s race after an aggressive start in Albstadt, a demanding course noted for its testing climbs along with narrow and technical descents.
Gaze, who was fifth in the opening round in the Czech Republic last week, finished seventh just over two minutes behind winner Pablo Rodriguez (ESP). The Cambridge rider was pushed back to ninth early on but forged his way forward to a respectable seventh placing.
Cooper, the Commonwealth Games champion, was looking to bounce back from his 20th placing last weekend. The North Canterbury rider started aggressively from further back on the grid, forcing his eighth on the first lap before settling in 10th place and finishing strongly to be just under a minute behind Gaze.
“It was a much much better ride. I am very happy to be on the rebound. It’s onwards and upwards from here,” Cooper said.
Wellington’s Jack Compton finished in 50th and North Canterbury’s Ben Oliver in 54th, while Rotorua’s Amber Johnston was 45th in the junior women’s race.
Fluker from Queenstown faced a tough assignment at Albstadt, starting back in 48th on the grid after failing to finish in the opening round.
The National Champion impressed with an aggressive start, jumping six spots in the first lap, nine in the second and 10 in the third lap to push up to 23rd placing. She managed to hold her pace from there to finish 20th, five minutes down on winner Jolanda Neff (SUI).
Superstar Julien Absalon (FRA) won his record 30th World Cup title in the elite men.
The cross-country World Cup takes a break until the third round in Switzerland on 4 July, giving way to the gravity riders to compete in the second round of the downhill world cup at Fort William, Scotland this weekend, following by Leogang, Austria next week.