Irina Kalentieva taking different path to defend World Championship

Women's 2007 cross country champ hopes to peak for World's and Olympics

Russian Irina Kalentieva, mountain biking's 2007 women's cross country world champion, has chosen a completely different path to prepare for her 2008 campaign, training in Majorca until the end of March to build a fitness base.

"I don't want to race too early, nor do I wish to over do it, as the season is both long and hard," the 30-year-old Kalentieva said. "For this reason I wish to manage my efforts to allow me to be at the top of my game for all of the important races."  

Kalentieva first race will beat the Swisspower Cup in Buchs March 30, which she plans to treat as a training race. The real racing, she said, starts two weeks later at the German National Series race in Muensingen.

"All of my competition will be at the race, and it will be the first chance to gauge myself against them," she added. "I 'm orientating myself on the World Championship and the Olympic Games - both races in my opinion are the most coveted and I hope to take medals at both."

Following the first three World Cup races in Houffalize, Offenburg, and Madrid, the seven-time Russian national cross country champion will decide which races she will ride leading up to the World Championships in Italy in mid June.

"At the moment it's still too early to judge," she said. "I simply have to remain flexible and listen to what my body tells me." With Andorra and Fort William there are two World Cups directly before the World Championships. "If my recovery goes according to plan then naturally I will want to ride Fort William as I have good memories of ride riding there."

It was in Scotland that Kalentieva won the gold medal to take the World Championships and celebrated her most successful season to date.

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