Absalon wins 4th XC title

Frenchman Julien Absalon (Team Orbea) claimed his fourth consecutive UCI world championship men's XC title by dominating the 119-rider field in Fort William, Scotland.

Absalon won the 48-kilometer race with a final time of 02:17:06. Rounding out the men's podium was a pair of Swiss riders, as Ralf Naef and Florian Vogel won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Adam Craig (Giant), currently the top American off-road cyclist internationally, ranked 13th in the world and 18th on the World Cup circuit, finished 4:51 behind Absalon. Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW) was the next-fastest American in 33rd, 6:47 off the winning pace. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) placed 39th, 8:18 down, Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven) finished 12:47 back to place 60th, Carl Decker (Giant) was 69th, 16:54 back, and Barry Wicks (Kona-Les Gets) was the last U.S. competitor to finish, placing 81st at +21:56.

Saturday's results served as a reminder that the European mountain bike pool features a formidable list of contenders less than a year away from the 2008 Olympic Games despite the U.S. being ranked seventh in the world. Amongst the top-20 finishers on Saturday were four Swiss riders, four Spanish, three German and two each from Belgium and France. Craig was the top non-European finisher while Canadian Seamus McGrath was the next-best in 31st place.

Assigned the 12th start position by the UCI based on his world ranking, Craig dropped to 31st after the first of six eight-kilometer laps, but quickly rebounded to the 16th position two laps later after posting the sixth-fastest lap time of the day. Throughout the remainder of the race though, Craig slipped a couple of spots per lap to cross the line in 22nd overall.

© BikeRadar & USA Cycling 2007

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