By Rob Jones, Cyclingnews.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011 6.48am

Czech racer leads from start to finish

The fourth round of the men's World Cup cross country was dominated by Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), who rode away from the rest of the field to win by nearly two minutes. In the absence of World Cup leader Julien Absalon (Orbea), who had stated that he would not attend Monte-Sainte-Anne or Windham [New York] as he prepared for the world championships, Kulhavy easily resumed the lead in the standings.

While Kulhavy rode away from the rest of the field on the first lap, behind him it was carnage on the infamous "Beatrice" rock garden descent, with almost every rider in the top-20 crashing at least once, many suffering mechanical problems, or cuts and bruises as they went tumbling down the rocks.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) took control of second place immediately, with four riders fighting for the remaining podium spots - world champion Jose Hermida (Multivan-Merida), Mathias Flückiger (Trek World Racing), Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower) and Burry Stander (Specialized). The four rode consistently together until Stander crashed heavily on Beatrice on lap three, and dropped off the back of the chase group to limp home in sixth.

Hermida, who won the world title here last year, was conserving energy, and attacked very hard with a lap and a half to go, moving into third for the final lap, and almost catching Schurter in second at the line. Flückiger and Vogel rounded out the top-five.

"I knew that it would be better to be front," said Kulhavy, "so that I could avoid the traffic that would be a problem at the Beatrice. So I went hard on the first climb to get in front, and then I could go my own pace. This is a very hard course, but I like it, and I knew that I could take back the [World Cup] lead here."

Race Notes

- Kulhavy now leads the men's standings with 860 points, followed by Schurter at 670 and Absalon falls to third with 650 points.

- Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was the top North American, finishing in seventh after a strong final lap and a half. Kabush jumped 10 spots in the standings, to 25th with 211 points. "I'm really glad to be back running with the top guys at the front, after a frustrating early season in Europe," said Kabush. "I've had a really good month of training in June, and this course suits me well. I hope this is the start of a strong second half to the season."

- Gerhard Kerschbaumer (TX Active Bianchi) won the Under 23 race earlier in the day, riding away from Fabien Canal (GT Skoda Chamonix) on the third lap. He took over the World Cup lead with his win.

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

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