Round two of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Dalby Forest in Yorkshire, England was a one-man show for the Elite men, with Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) getting into the lead of the six-lap cross-country race after the start loop.
A chase group formed behind him, with Marco Fontana and his Cannondale teammate Manuel Fumic doing much of the work. Round one winner Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower), who won at Dalby last year, was having an uncharacteristically off day, and struggled even to stay with the group.
Julien Absalon (Orbea), after a poor start that saw him well back on the start loop, chased back to the group and immediately went to the front, but Kulhavy was gone. Absalon dropped the rest of the chase group on the second lap and chased hard for the next two laps, but could only close to within 20 seconds of Kulhavy and, by lap four, was losing ground to the big Czech rider.
Kulhavy and Absalon continued to pull away from the rest of the field, and the chase group disintegrated in the final lap, with Fontana outkicking Maxime Marotte (BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry) for third, and Fumic taking the final podium spot ahead of Moritz Milatz (BMC).
"This is a course that suits me," said Kulhavy, who took the World Cup lead from Schurter, only 10 points in front of Absalon. "I knew before the start that this would be a good course for me, and it was my plan to attack right from the start of the race."
Absalon was not too upset after getting second for the second consecutive year. "Second is okay, I'm happy with second. I had a bad start, so by the time I got to the front [of the chasers] Kulhavy was gone. It was a good race for me, and I'm only 10 points behind, and next week is Offenburg [a race where Absalon has had a perfect winning record for the past four years]."
For a full report, including U23, Junior and Eliminator results, visit Cyclingnews.com.