MTB World Cup #5: Kulhavy continues winning ways

Schurter and Sauser round out top three

World Cup cross country series leader Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) led the fifth race of the 2011 World Cup in Windham from start to finish. His race was one of true dominance, with the Czech rider able to open a lead on the first climb, stretching it to 11 seconds by the end of the first lap and increasing it every lap from there.

It was a truly dominating performance, affording Kulhavy the luxury of backing off on the final lap but still winning by a margin of 29 seconds over second place. Kulhavy's winning time was 1:35:34 for six laps of the race course, as he took his third World Cup victory of the season.

"This course does not suit me as well as Mont Ste Anne last week," commented Kulhavy. "But I decided that I would try to take the lead on the first lap on the climb, and it worked."

With Kulhavy running away from the field, it became very serious business to claim that second place. By lap four there was a chase group of 8 hoping to claim a podium spot. Marco Fontana (Cannondale), Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower) had a small lead over Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and Maxime Marotte (BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry), with Burry Stander (Specialized), Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), and Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) just a few seconds behind.

From this select group which includes current (Hermida) and past (Sauser) World Champions, a fight was going to be waged over the last two laps. Schurter and Stander were the first to gain a few seconds advantage, with Sauser in hot pursuit as Fontana began to fade.

On the last lap it was Sauser who made the initial attack, with Schurter responding as Stander and Fontana were dropped. Shortly after this move, Stander left Fontana behind. Schurter and Sauser battled hard through the final descent, with Schurter claiming second place, only one second clear of Sauser. Stander soloed in alone for fourth, 18 seconds behind third place and Marotte hung on for fifth to complete the podium.

With his third win of the season Kulhavy now has 1110 points to second placed Schurter's 870. In third place in the points race is Julien Absalon, who decided not to race in North America. Even with only three races to his credit this season Absalon has 650 points.

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