MTB World Cup #3: Freiburghaus and Engen win Eliminator

All the action from Nove Mesto

Men: Attacking raid nets Freiburghaus the victory


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The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup saw a new face on the top step of the podium of the Eliminator at Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic. A brillant mid-race attack by Sepp Freiburghaus (Thoemus Racing caught all of his rivals off guard, allowing the Swiss rider to take the win.

Australian Paul van der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) was considered the favourite for the men, after qualifying first and finishing second here last year. His powerful sprint afforded him the ability to come from behind on the long finishing straight.

In the final, Freiburghaus and van der Ploeg were joined by Mirco Widmer (Giant Swiss SR Suntour), Germany’s Martin Gluth, Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Swisspower) and Marek Konwa (Milka-Superior). Significantly, round one winner Brian Lopes and cross-country stars Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and Marco Fontana (Cannondale) did not make the final.

Paul van der ploeg (felt oetztal x – bionic team) out of the start house in the men’s eliminator:
Rob Jones/

Paul Van Der Ploeg (Felt Oetztal X – Bionic Team) out of the start house

In the final, at the far side of the course on the only climb, Freiburghaus attacked, immediately gaining ten metres on his rivals, who all looked at each other, with none willing to take the initiative and lead the chase. Coming into the final straightaway, Freiburghaus was still well in front and cruised across the line while van der Ploeg led the rest of the group in, shaking his head. Widmer took third.

“It was pretty tactical in the climb,” explained Freiburghaus, “and so I changed my tactic for the final. I tried with an attack on the climb, and then got a gap. On this Eliminator it was very important to have a good tactic. If you are in the lead for the whole round you have a problem, when you come with four or five guys on this straight finish. I am very happy to bring it to the line.”

“It was a brilliant move by Sepp [Freiburghaus],” commented van der Ploeg. “I was thinking ‘oh damn’ when he attacked, but that was it, that was the move. I would have liked to have won, of course, but I’m happy to be on the podium again.”

Women: Engen too good in Nove Mesto

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Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory) dominated the women’s competition at round two of the UCI Eliminator World Cup. The second round of the Eliminator was completely different from round one in Houffalize, Belgium. Where the Belgian race had short, steep climbs, technical descents and narrow singletrack, Nove Mesto was wide open, with pavement and dirt forest roads. This led to multiple sprints and some photo finish results in the heats.

Engen qualified first for the women and won both of her preliminary heats to move into the final. She was joined there by 2011 cross-country World Cup champion Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour-Peisey Vallandry), Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol), Australia’s Rowena Fry, Laura Turpijn (MPL Specialized) and Cecile Ravanel (GT Skoda Chamonix). Missing from the final were former world champions Tracy Moseley and Anneke Beerten (Milka-Superior).

Turpijn took the early lead, but the group stayed together for the entire 1100 metre circuit, with Engen hitting the front 150 metres from the line and easily outdistancing her rivals. Engen had enough of a lead to coast across the line with her arms in the air, while Bresset nipped countrywoman Ravanel at the line for second.

After and early season filled with injury and illness, this is the first time Engen has felt fully healthy. “This is a really positive result for me, after the spring. In the quarter finals I realized that I had my full fitness, and that I was able to do well. I like this kind of wide courses where it is possible to pass and use my sprint.”



Big final
1 Sepp Freiburghaus (Sui) Thoemus Racing Team
2 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X – Bionic Team
3 Mirco Widmer (Sui) Giant Swiss Sr – Suntour
4 Marcel Wildhaber (Sui) Scott – Swisspower Mtb Racing Team
5 Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
6 Martin Gluth (Ger)
Small final
7 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team
8 Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team
9 Jochen Kass (Ger) S&H Superior MTB Team
10 Milan Spesny (Cze) Cannondale Factory Racing
11 Martin Gujan (Sui) Notebooksbilliger.De Team
12 Daniel Federspiel (Aut)
Round 1
13 Jan Fojtik (Cze)
14 Lukas Loretz (Sui) Giant Swiss Sr – Suntour
15 Philip Buys (RSA)
16 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)
17 Lukas Kaufmann (Sui) Team Fujibikes Rockets
18 Marco Schätzing (Ger)
19 Thomas Litscher (Sui) Felt Oetztal X – Bionic Team
20 Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X – Bionic Team
21 Kenta Gallagher (GBr)
22 Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
23 Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Factory Team
24 Matthias Wengelin (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet
25 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing
26 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team
27 Jérémy Huguenin (Sui) Giant Swiss Sr – Suntour
28 Miha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.Com
29 Brian Lopes (USA)
30 Michal Lami (Svk)
31 Markus Bauer (Ger)
32 Ola Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 Raumerrittet
33 Jan Nesvadba (Cze)
34 Marek Rauchfuss (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team
35 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing
36 Davy Huygens (Bel)
Big final
1 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team
2 Julie Bresset (Fra) Bh – Sr Suntour – Peisey Vallandry
3 Cécile Ravanel (Fra) Gt Skoda Chamonix
4 Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Sudtirol
5 Laura Turpijn (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
6 Rowena Fry (Aus)
Small final
7 Anne Terpstra (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
8 Pavla Havlikova (Cze)
9 Pavlina Sulcova (Cze) Merida Biking Team
10 Chloe Woodruff (USA)
11 Ramona Forchini (Sui) MTB Kader Zentralschweiz
12 Kajsa Snihs (Swe)
Round 1
13 Jenny Rissveds (Swe) Sweden
14 Ana Zupan (Slo)
15 Tracy Moseley (GBr)
16 Angelica Edvardsson (Swe)
17 Heidi Sandsto Rosaasen (Nor) Team United Bakeries
18 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Milka-Superior MTB Racing Team
19 Paula Gorycka (Pol) 4F E-Vive Racing Team
20 Caroline Mani (Fra)
21 Nicoletta De Jager (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
22 Joanna Petterson (USA)
23 Lucie Vesela (Cze) GT Bicycles Opportunity
24 Tina Perse (Slo) Slovenia
25 Katherine O’shea (Aus)
26 Erica Zaveta (USA) Moda-Bikemagic Racing Team
27 Weronika Rybarczyk (Pol) Superior MTB Energy Team
28 Imogen Buick (GBr) Moda-Bikemagic Racing Team
29 Rita Malinkiewicz (Pol) Poland