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120226_CYP_Afxentia_Stage3_XCO_men_startloop_topview_by_Kuestenbrueck

Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2012:
Hurikova makes it an excitement – Langvad overall winner
Kurschat surprises – Kulhavy secures overall

Germany’s Wolfram Kurschat took the last stage at Afxentia Stage Race (HC) in Macheras Forest, Cyprus. World champion Jaroslav Kulhavy took second spot in front of Emil Lindgren (Swe) and Fabian Giger (Sui). Kulhavy won the overall classification ahead of Lindgren and Giger. Tereza Hurikova (Cze) won women’s competition in an extraordinary way in front of Olympic champion Sabine Spitz (Ger) and Annika Langvad (Den) who could secure the overall in front of Hurikova and Spitz.

There were two races in one, at Afxentias last days cross country. For the first half of the race it seemed that the fight for the overall will have the same players as that for the stage win.

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Factory Racing), Emil Lindgren, Fabian Giger (both Rabobank-Giant), Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing), all within 42 seconds in the overall classification, were joined by u23 world champion Thomas Litscher in the leading group.

Lindgren (5 seconds off) and Giger (17 seconds) were attacking Kulhavy several times, but couldn’t escape.

It was in the fourth of six laps when Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak-Ergon) joined the group, coming from a position around 30 at the beginning. “In the first lap I had to suffer a lot, but suddenly the legs were open. Probably the others were going too fast at the beginning”, Kurschat told later.

Kurschat pushed himself on the front of the group and then accelerating in the uphill. The others were looking on each other and were thinking about the overall.

They made it back to Kurschat in the downhill for one time, but next time they didn’t follow him. The German vice champion extended his lead and secured the stage win.

In the last lap Litscher lost the contact to the others, Fumic had a problem with the chain and the three overall contenders continued to fight for the seconds. Lindgren tried everything but Kulhavy was always able to react. He took the lead of the group before the last downhill started and so was able to secure second place before Lindgren and in the same time the overall win.

Jaroslav Kulhavy: My goal was the overall. I don’t know if I could keep Wolfram but that was not important. My legs were better than yesterday. For the whole race I had everything under control.

Emil Lindgren: Fabian and me, we were trying from the beginning. We attacked several times but Jaroslav was too strong. He is not world champion for nothing. I had nothing more than I gave. The race for us was focused on the overall. Probably it would have gone another way, if we were fighting for the stage win. I’m happy with the weekend. It’s good for the moral and it’s good for the points.

Fabian Giger: It was all about the overall classification. Emil and me, we were trying hard. At the end I kept myself back, to let Emil every chance. It was another good race day for me and I’m happy to be on the podium.

Wolfram Kurschat: At the beginning I suffered a lot. But I think the other ones were starting to hard. So I was able to make it and get into a real flow. I felt pretty good. It’s great to win a stage at the end of my stay on Cyprus.

Hurikova for the day but not for overall

The women’s race developed much more exciting than expected before. That does not concern the stage win, because Tereza Hurikova (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) started a solo to the victory, immediately in the 5,4 kilometer start loop.

But Hurikova was riding extraordinary. She had already opened a gap of two minutes to three chasers, including Annika Langvad (Fujbikes Rockets), Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) and Blaza Klemencic (Felt Ötztal-X-Bionic), there were still to laps (5,7 kilometer) to go. In the overall Hurikova had a gap of 2:55 to the leading Langvad.

But then the bad luck catched Hurikova again. As the day before, she flatted on the back wheel. “I could do some power training then”, she was joking. But this puncture stole her the real chance to win the Afxentia overall.

“I was running through the singletrail, shouting to the Czech national coach. So they could prepare everything in the tech zone”, Hurikova explained. Her lead was going down to 45 seconds, but Hurikova mentally stayed stable and extended her lead again.

In the chasing group Annika Langvad had to do the work. As she confessed, she was not focused enough. “I was not concentrated enough and I made a lot of mistakes”, Langvad explained.

Sabine Spitz, handicapped by a cold, was not willingly to chase her team mate. “It was not my intention and with my cold I was also happy not to push too hard on the limit”, Sabine Spitz said.

In the last lap she took an advantage after a downhill and escaped from her companions. With 1:43 minutes to Tereza Hurikova, she took the second place. Annika Langvad came in as third, 2:00 minutes behind the Czech and so could safe her overall lead.

Klemencic took fourth position (+2:08) and was glad about that. “It was better than yesterday”, she claimed.

Adelheid Morath (Felt Ötztal-X-Bionic), second of the day before, had troubles with her chain in the start loop. She had to stop and fall back in last position. From there she tried to catch up again, reached seventh position, but in the very last lap she suffered a lot and could not make more time. So she lost her top 3 spot in the overall.

Tereza Hurikova: It was my goal to take the overall. So I had to take any risk. I was feeling very good and it was an advantage for me to be in front alone, riding my rhythm. It’s a pity, that I flatted again, but even as second, I got a lot of points.

Annika Langvad: My goal was to keep the overall lead and I’m happy to do so. I had my problems in the technical parts. I made some stupid mistakes and it could have happen that I loose the overall by that. I have to learn from this.

Sabine Spitz: I didn’t felt really well and I didn’t want to the work for Annika. My shape is not too bad. Concerning my cold, I hope that I have not to pay back for this three days effort.  

Adelheid Morath: I had pretty good legs and had a plan for today. When I had the mechanical, it was difficult to motivate. I could make it back to seven but in the last lap I suffered a lot. Anyway, I’m happy with my shape this weekend.

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