Cross country world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) and marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Den) were taking first stage of Cyprus Sunshine Cup in Voroklini. Kulhavy grabbed his first win in Voroklini in a tight finish against Fabian Giger (Sui) and Liam Killeen (Gbr). Langvad won third time in a row in front of Sabine Spitz (Ger) and Tereza Hurikova (Cze).
Under a sunny sky, third of five 6,01 kilometer long laps, men’s race saw a seven men group in the lead. First Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and then Fabian Giger (Rabobank-Giant) and Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak-Ergon) showed themselves active to keep the pace high.
Then Fumic had a crash and lost the contact. Giger and Kurschat went away, but were catched again from the remaining rest of the leading group.
When the race came into the final lap, Emil Lindgren (Rabobank-Giant) and Jan Skarnitzl (Rubena Birell Specialized) lost the contact and also Wolfram Kurschat. He couldn’t pass of a female rider, while Giger, Killeen and Kulhavy passed trough.
It was right before the last downhill, when Kulhavy could overtake the leading Giger, got some seconds and then going full speed in the short last climb. That was the decision. Kulhavy crossed the finish line after 1:23:36 hours two seconds before Giger, who was able to keep second position against Killeen by one second.
While Kurschat thought, he has to do one more lap, Fumic closed the gap and could easily take the fourth spot on the podium, 31 seconds behind Kulhavy. Kurschat three seconds later got fifth place, letting Skarnitz behind him.
Jaroslav Kulhavy: It was a crazy race. After the start I had bad legs. During the race it became better and better. I could manage to get into the lead before the downhill and then sprinting up the last climb. I have new shoes, a new bike and everything has to be set up again. I think I have to change my position on the bike a bit. Next weekend it should be better.
Fabian Giger: The most important thing, that I felt good. I could go a high speed from the beginning to the end. Kurschat was strong in the uphill and two times, we were already escaped. At the end, maybe I had too much respect for the world champion, because I let him pass in a corner. Anyway, it’s not too bad, to be second behind the world champion.
Liam Killeen: I felt confortable in the leading group. It’s good to be back in the front. It was a hard and fast race, maybe one lap too short. I hope to improve more and more.
Women: Mechanical troubles for Langvad and Hurikova
Some mechanical troubles influenced the unfolding of women’s race with 40 competitors. Sabine Spitz, Tereza Hurikova (both Sabine Spitz-Haibike) and Annika Langvad (Fujibikes-Rockets) were taking the initiative, building up a three girl leading group in lap two of four. Blaza Klemencic (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) first could hold the contact, but then was falling back.
Then, in lap two, Langvad accelerated, while Hurikova hat a mechanical problem with her chain. Then Langvad flatted. So Spitz and Hurikova came back.
Then the problem at Hurikovas bike appeared again, Langvad went away, while Spitz was sitting on third place.
Due to the problem of her team mate, Spitz closed the gap to Hurikova, while Langvad was riding solo to the win.
In the fourth and last lap, the chain on Hurikovas bike finally broke. Fortunately she was not too far away from the technical zone, so she was able to rescue the third spot on the podium.
Langvad crossed the finish line in 1:20:09 hours, while Spitz was measured with 1:21:51 and Hurikova with 1:23:09 hours. Only three seconds behind her, Klemencic entered the finish on four, while former European champion Katrin Leumann came into fifth position (1:24:07).
Annika Langvad: Last year I was giving everything in the first race, but this time, I tried to keep something. It’s always exciting to compare the first time with the other girls. I had a pretty good feeling and it’s great to start with a win.
Sabine Spitz: I felt good, I recognize the impact of the training camps I did (in South Africa, Engadin and Gran Canaria). What I still miss, is to change the rhythm. There were some parts, where I lost time. But at the end I’m very satisfied about my performance. It’s a pity for Tereza, she was really strong today.
Tereza Hurikova: I’m a bit sad, After such a long time, not competing for a victory, it is bad, to be stopped by a mechanical. Today my body worked pretty good. At least I’m happy that I could safe the third place, because it was not too far to the tech zone.