Annika Langvads impressive win
Karl Markt surprises himself and his competitors
Annika Langvad and Karl Markt were taking the victories at European mountainbike season opener. At first stage of Cyprus Sunshine Cup in Voroklini the Danish girl won ahead of Blaza Klemencic (Slo) and Kristine Norgaard (Den). Karl Markt (Aut) left Emil Lindgren (Swe) and Fabian Giger (Sui) behind him.
On a nice and sunny day Annika Langvad (Easton-Rockets) was riding in her own league. The Cyprus Sunshine Cup title defender didn’t care about her contenders and started a solo ride soon after the start loop, where she was still accompanied by former marathon European champion Blaza Klemencic (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic).
Every of the first four of five laps Langvad gained more than one minute to Klemencic and seemed to be already in the competition modus as in the middle of the season.
Last lap she took it a little bit easier and ended up in 1:45:39 hours with a 5:06 minutes difference to Klemencic. The Slovenian was not unhappy with her ride. She never was in danger to loose the second place since Kristine Norgaard (HMTBK) after 32 kilometers had another 4:04 minutes lost.
The Dane marathon specialist was riding her first cross country abroad and didn’t expect a result like this.
The first experience of Four Cross world cup winner Anneke Beerten as a cross country race was stopped directly before the start due to a mechanical problem.
Annika Langvad: “I didn’t change my winter preparation and I cannot understand why it works like this. But that shows me that I still can improve as a rider. I’m just happy with this start into the year.”
Blaza Klemencic: “Annika was too strong, I had no chance to keep her. I was riding with a full suspension bike and could go very fast in the downhills. But in the uphills I was not so fast and Annika went away. But to be on the podium at the first race is always good.”
Kristine Norgaard: “I was so nervous before the race and I never expected it like this. When I recently did a test my coach said it was not bad but not that good as last year. I’m really surprised about my very best cross country race. I was in a cool team (Rothaus-Cube) last year and the bike may has some energy from that.”
Lindgren’s mistake opens the door for Markt
In men’s race five riders went together into the last of six laps. Rabobank-Giant with Emil Lindgren and Fabian Giger had two guys in the fire but surprisingly it was Austrian Karl Markt (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic) who grabbed the win.
Lindgren and Giger were the one who were riding a lot in the wind to downsize the leading group. The Finish champion Jukka Vastaranta (Milka-Trek) was the last one who missed the train before the remaining five man group got into the final lap.
At the first climb Markt took the lead and pushed hard. Then Lindgren came and then Giger took the lead for his team mate. That was too fast for Frank Schotman (Ned), who was falling back to seventh place and also too fast for Periklis Ilias (Gre), who finally ended up on fourth position.
Giger went out of the lead and let the duo go. Lindgren and Markt together were arriving on the top of the course. Then Lindgren made a small mistake that dropped his chain off. That gaves Markt the chance to get on first position into the next downhill.
He gained another seconds and was firing towards the finish. In 1:45:39 hours he crossed the finish line, 20 seconds to Lindgren and 47 seconds to Giger.
Karl Markt: “My full suspension bike surely was an advantage today but I didn’t expect a win. Maybe top five but not the victory. My start was not that good but then I was finding into a good rhythm.
When I had the gap I was riding hard but then surprised that nobody was coming behind me. In the windy section my power was the decisive advantage.”
Emil Lindgren: “It was a good day. Fabian and me, we were working a lot in the wind. On the top I made a mistake and that gaves Karl the chance. Two Rabobank guys on the podium, that’s good for the team. Today for everybody was like testing the legs. Next weekend it’s gonna be more important.”
Fabian Giger: “Last year I was on 30th position and this year 3rd. So that is much better. I feel well and to be on the podium is cool. The shape is good even I still miss the feeling of racing. I made a lot of mistakes.”
Cyprus Sunshine Cup is to be continued on Friday by the first stage of three days Afxentia stage race.
Results Top 5:
1. Annika Langvad (Den) 1:45:39 hours
2. Blaza Klemencic (Den)1:50:46
3. Kristine Norgaard (Den) 1:54:47
4. Janka Stevkova (Svk) 1:56:47
5. Anne Terpstra (Ned) 1:57:56
1. Karl Markt (Aut) 1:49:35
2. Emil Lindgren (Swe) 1:49:55
3. Fabian Giger (Sui) 1:50:22
4. Periklis Ilias (Gre) 1:50:52
5. Kevin van Hoovels (Bel) 1:51:07