The quietly consistent Czech, Jaroslav Kulhavy, made short work of his more high-profile rivals — Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter — Sunday at World Cup #2 in the UK.
Kulhavy, who won the 2010 World Cup finale at Windham, New York, led Sunday’s cross-county race in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest almost from start to finish, although Absalon gave a good chase, finishing second 50 seconds down.
The top-placed North American was Todd Wells who finished 16th on the day. Other notable names racing were retired gravity world champion Brian Lopes, who raced in the World Cup weekend’s Pro Sprint Eliminator on Friday and the elite XC on Sunday. He was pulled by race officials along with other XC riders under the “80 percent rule,” which removes a rider who is behind the leader by 80 percent of the leader’s lap time. In the women’s elite cross-country contest, reigning DH world champion Tracy Moseley took the start. She too was pulled.
Meanwhile, Schurter, who won World Cup #1 in South Africa, finished ninth nearly two minutes off the lead.
Continuing the leaderboard shake up was the battle for third place. At the last-lap bell, five riders — Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing); Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing), Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing), Burry Stander (Specialized Racing) and Moritz Milatz (BMC) — were still locked together with attacks coming thick and fast.
But it was Fontana, the Italian XC national champ, who had the strongest legs in the end, earning his first-ever World Cup podium spot.
World Cup XC racing continues next weekend in Offenburg, Germany, where Absalon has won there three times. Kulhavy currently leads the Frenchman on the World Cup standings by 10 points, so he must beat Absalon to retain the leader’s jersey.
Of the 87 women who took to the line at the women’s elite race at Dalby Forest, it was the absence of one racer that may have altered the ultimate look of the podium.
While France’s Julie Bresset, the French U23 champ, won the race, perennial podium threat Irina Kalentieva of Russia couldn’t start the race because her visa didn’t arrive on time.
Chengyuan Ren of China, and winner of World Cup #1, along with Bresset dueled under sporadic heavy rains until the Frenchwoman went clear on the last lap.
It’s unclear what caused Ren to drop off the lead, but other riders took advantage of her slowing. She was passed by eventual second-place finisher Annika Langvad of Denmark; Sabine Spitz of Germany and Eva Lechner of Italy, claimed third and fourth respectively. Ren was fifth with Catharine Pendrel of Canada sixth.
As far as Kalentieva, who won Dalby last year, in order for her to complete her visa application she was required to submit her passport. However, the 2009 XC world champion was abroad competing in other races and at training camps. By missing the race the Russian national champ has lost all chances of winning the World Cup overall.
“She was in very good shape. It’s really sad,” Dirk Juckwer of the Topeak-Ergon team, told Rockyroads.net. “She’s very disappointed. We’re disappointed too, but it’s our own fault.”
2011 World Cup #2, Dalby Forest
Men’s Brief Results
1 KULHAVY Jaroslav CZE19850108 SPECIALIZED RACING 1:40:53
2 ABSALON Julien FRA19800816 ORBEA +00:50
3 FONTANA Marco Aurelio ITA19841012 CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING +01:39
4 MAROTTE Maxime FRA19861205 BH – SUNTOUR – PEISEY VALLANDRY +01:39
5 FUMIC Manuel GER19820330 CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING +01:40
6 MILATZ Moritz GER19820624 BMC MOUNTAINBIKE RACING TEAM +01:40
7 STANDER Burry RSA19870916 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:51
8 SAUSER Christoph SUI19760413 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:52
9 SCHURTER Nino SUI19860513 SCOTT – SWISSPOWER MTB – RACING +01:58
10 LITSCHER Thomas SUI19890514 FELT OETZTAL X – BIONIC TEAM +02:00
16 WELLS Todd USA19751225 SPECIALIZED RACING +03:07
17 HERMIDA RAMOS José Antonio ESP19780824 MULTIVAN MERIDA +03:38
34 HORGAN-KOBELSKI Jeremy USA19780811 SUBARU – TREK +06:25
39 BISHOP Jeremiah USA19760309 +06:42
45 KABUSH Geoff CAN19770414 TEAM MAXXIS – ROCKY MOUNTAIN +07:11
48 PLAXTON Max CAN19850529 +07:26
53 SCHULTZ Samuel USA19851211 SUBARU – TREK +07:55
82 CRAIG Adam USA19810815 RABOBANK – GIANT OFF-ROAD TEAM +11:50
89 PAXSON Spencer USA19841209 KONA +12:42
91 WATSON Andrew CAN19830530 +13:00
105 BRODERICK Michael USA19731223 -1LAP
108 GAGNE Raphael CAN19870716 -1LAP
111 LOPES Brian USA19710906 -2LAP
Women’s Brief Results
2 LANGVAD Annika DEN19840322 +01:03
3 SPITZ Sabine GER19711227 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM +01:06
4 LECHNER Eva ITA19850701 COLNAGO ARREGHINI SUDTIROL +01:22
5 REN Chengyuan CHN19860920 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:24
6 WLOSZCZOWSKA Maja POL19831109 CCC POLKOWICE +01:31
7 PENDREL Catharine CAN19800930 LUNA PRO TEAM +01:36
8 BYBERG Lene NOR19821125 SPECIALIZED RACING +01:51
9 SCHNEITTER Nathalie SUI19860619 COLNAGO ARREGHINI SUDTIROL +02:05
10 HURIKOVA Tereza CZE19870211 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM +02:06
11 PREMONT Marie-Helene CAN19771024 TEAM MAXXIS – ROCKY MOUNTAIN +02:13
13 GOULD Georgia USA19800105 LUNA PRO TEAM +02:51
15 BATTY Emily CAN19880616 SUBARU – TREK +03:48
27 MCCONNELOUG Mary USA19710624 +07:04
30 DAVISON Lea USA19830519 SPECIALIZED RACING +07:38
36 NASH Katerina CZE19771209 LUNA PRO TEAM +09:05
38 SIN Amanda CAN19770203 +09:17
40 IRMIGER Heather USA19790531 SUBARU – TREK +09:45
41 COMPTON Katherine USA19781203 RABOBANK – GIANT OFF-ROAD +09:48
51 DYCK Mical CAN19820211 +13:57
59 PARK Krista USA19740604 +16:25
65 DOMBROSKI Amy USA19870909 -1LAP
68 FORSMAN Chloe USA19870721 -1LAP
69 MOSELEY Tracy GBR19790412 TREK WORLD RACING -1LAP