Colombian Leonardo P ez and Finn Pia Sundstedt have won the Mountain Bike World Cup Marathon Gran Canaria after completing the demanding 91-km route (male event) and 77-km (female route) in a time of 3:27:24 and 3:27:17 respectively. The French Thomas Dietsch (second) and the Austrian Alban Lakata (third) completed the podium placings in the men's event. The German Ivonne Kraft and the Frenchwoman Helene Marcouyre, took 2nd and 3rd position in the female race respectively.
P ez had to work hard to stay away from Dietsch, who kept pace with him practically during the entire route until he broke away on the last climb at La Ventocilla. "The route was very hard in the hills and in the descents," explained Leonardo P ez when he finished the race. "The objective is the overall title, and this victory allows me to dream about that possibility." Then he added, "The excellent Gran Canarian food and the exceptional welcome of the island helped me to win the race."
Although her victory was rather predictable (she finished more than 5 minutes ahead of the 2nd position), Pia Sundstedt admitted that she found it difficult to dominant her rivals in the race. Even so, she lead the race throughout all the checkpoints. Indeed by the 2nd control point she had the race under control. At this point of the race the Swiss rider Anna Enocsson retired. She came 3rd in the Marathon World Cup 2005 and was one of the big favourites for the victory.
The presence of Gilberto Simoni was one of the many interesting highlights of the men's event. The Italian managed 6th place, eight minutes down on the winner, a position which he considered "good". "My preferences are for road cycling," said Simoni. "The mountain bike is only a discipline which attracts me and permits me to prepare myself."
Men's winner Leonardo P ez recognized the bad luck of Italian Marzio Deho, who suffered four punctures during the race. Deho led the race at different stages, but the punctures took him down to the fourth place. "He was very strong, but the blowouts impeded him in his fight for the victory", said the Colombian P ez.
Abraham Olano popular
Although he participated in the 90 Challenge, the amateur event at the same time the World Cup, Abraham Olano, former world road cycling champion and winner of the Tour of Spain, captured the attention of cameras and the hearts of enthusiasts. The Basque completed the route in a time of 3:52:27. "It was very hard, but as well as the wonderful experience, I never thought it would be so demanding," said Olano, who added that the excellent climate of Gran Canaria and the route of this event was a wonderful experience.
Elite Men - 90km
1 Leonardo Paez (Col) 3:27:24
2 Thomas Dietsch (Fra) 0:01:01
3 Alban Lakata (Aut) 0:03:25
4 Marzio Deho (Ita) 0:03:37
5 Massimo De Bertolis (Ita) 0:04:46
6 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) 0:08:35
7 Roman Peter (Swi) 0:09:10
8 Ivan Rybarik (Cze) 0:09:57
9 Frank Schotman (Ned) 0:10:14
10 Oriol Morata (Spa) 0:11:04
Elite women - 77km
1 Pia Sundstedt (Fin) 3:27:17
2 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 0:05:37
3 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) 0:06:01
4 Esther Sss (Swi) 0:06:22
5 Asa Erlandsson (Swe) 0:10:47
6 Daniela Louis (Swi) 0:13:08
7 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) 0:14:27
8 Barbora Radova (Cze) 0:15:23
9 Fabienne Heinzmann (Swi) 0:16:01
10 Alexandra Hober (Ita) 0:19:51