Rank outsider Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) won the first men’s UCI cross-country world cup of 2013 yesterday, in Albstadt, Germany. He’s the first Australian rider to have done so since Cadel Evans, in 2000. The opening event also saw the women’s elite race won by a resurgent Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol), and featured the eliminator, back for a second season.
McConnell took a dramatic and unexpected win in the flagship men’s cross-country event on a treacherously slippery course, picking his way past six riders on the final lap. Sergio Gutierrez (Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing) and Olympic XC gold medallist Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing XC) rounded off the podium, in second and third places respectively.
Australian champion McConnell, who only had one world cup top 20 on his palmarès before yesterday, said he was surprised by his triumph. “I did not expect this,” he admitted. “I came into this looking for a solid top 15, so it’s unbelievable.”
Elite women’s event
Eva Lechner took the ladies’ marquee event by the scruff of the neck and stayed close to the front all day. She won a tough, rain-soaked finale against Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC) and Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing).
It was Lechner’s first world cup win since 2010 after a difficult, injury plagued 2012. She said afterwards: “I'm so happy to be back up here after the last season. I can't describe it in words.”
The eliminator returned to the calendar after its first outing last year. The men’s race was won by Austrian Daniel Federspiel (Ötztal Scott Racing) and the women’s by Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing). They became the first riders to win eliminator rainbow stripes.
A victorious Alexandra Engen
The spectator-friendly event starts with a time trial around a tight, obstacle-filled urban course. The top 32 riders progress to the knockouts. In each heat, a quartet of riders hit the 700m circuit, with the top two progressing up the rounds until just four riders are left to contest the final.
The next cross-country/eliminator world cup round takes place in Czechoslovakia this weekend.
For full coverage of the MTB world cup, visit Cyclingnews.com.
|Elite men cross-country|
|1 Daniel McConnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||1:42:36|
|2 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing||0:00:02|
|3 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing Xc||0:00:13|
|Elite women cross-country|
|1 Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol||1:33:52|
|2 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Giant Pro XC Team||0:00:08|
|3 Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing Team||0:00:16|
|Elite women eliminator|
|1 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team|
|2 Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team|
|3 Nadine Rieder (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team|
|Elite men eliminator|
|1 Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team|
|2 Thomas Litscher (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team|
|3 Miha Halzer (Slo)|
|U23 men cross-country|
|1 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus XC Team||1:21:16|
|2 Jens Schuermans (Bel) Versluys Team||0:00:17|
|3 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team||0:00:33|
|U23 women cross-country|
|1 Rebecca Henderson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||1:05:56|
|2 Jenny Rissveds (Swe)||0:00:48|
|3 Yana Belomoyna (Ukr) Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team||0:01:02|
|Junior women cross-country|
|1 Greta Weithaler (Ita) Italy||0:52:43|
|2 Malene Degn (Den) Denmark||0:00:04|
|3 Kate Courtney (USA) United States Of America||0:00:34|
|Junior men cross-country|
|1 Raphael Gay (Fra) Creuse Oxygene||1:11:02|
|2 Philipp Bertsch (Ger) Germany|
|3 Neilo Perrin-Ganier (Fra) France||0:00:01|