Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) has repeated his 2012 victory at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup opener in Voroklini! The Olympic Champion won in front of Manuel Fumic (Ger) and Fabian Giger (Sui).
Slowenian Blaza Klemencic was successful against Katrin Leumann (Sui) and Eva Lechner (Ita) in the women’s race.
In the second of five complete laps, a five man leading group was build. Kulhavy, Giger, Fumic as well as Jan Skarnitzl (Cze, Sram Rubena Trek) and Emil Lindgren (Giant Pro XC Team) were riding together on the 6,01 kilometer course.
It was at the end of the pre last lap, in the last downhill, when it came up to the decisive situation. Jaroslav Kulhavy went down fast and created five, six seconds of advantage. Then he put the pedal down and the gap was growing up to around 20 seconds.
The starting rain made the ground slippery and nearly everyone was riding tyres for dry weather. German national champion Manuel Fumic decided not to follow Kulhavy, but concentrating on Fabian Giger for the second place.
It came up to a sprint finish and Manuel Fumic won it for the second places, 10 seconds behind Kulhavy, who crossed the finish line after 1:28:59 hours.
Jan Skarnitzl took fourth place, exactly one minute behind his Czech countrymate, while surprising Nicola Rohrbach (Goldwurstpower/Stöckli) took fifth spot on podium, 12 seconds back. Emil Lindgren suffered on technical problems, falling back into eight position.
Jaroslav Kulhavy: It was a very important to test my shape for the Cape Epic. I am very satisfied about, looking forward to some more training on Cyprus. It was not my plan, but when I got some seconds in a downhill, I went full gaz.
Manuel Fumic: Jaroslav suddenly escaped. It started raining and I decided to focus on Fabian for the second place. On the finish straight, I could outsprint him. My shape is good, the direction is okay, the test was successful.
Fabian Giger: It was a nice race under difficult conditions. Jaroslav was a tick better than we, but for me , it was a good start into the season. It’s always good to be on the podium.
Close finish between Klemencic and Leumann
After the start loop of three kilometers, when a bigger bunch of ladies stayed together, later five riders created a leading group. In a climb Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing) took the lead, because she wanted to be at the front for the following single track.
Behind her, Blaza Klemencic (Calcit Bike) made a small mistake, blocking the rest of the group.
So Leumann suddenly was alone in the lead. It was only Klemencic, who could make it back to Leumann. The duo was riding together for the following lap. In the pre last lap Klemencic rode away. Leumann couldn’t follow, tried to secure her second position.
She was surprised, when in the last lap, she could see Klemencic again and 200 meters before the finish line, she was more or less at the back wheel of the Slowenian. But in the corners of the village of Voroklini, she was not able to pass Klemencic.
Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol) was riding together with Yana Belomoyna (Ukr, Superior Brentjens), but then could leave the U23 world cup overall winner. Eva Lechner finished third at 3:38 minutes behind Klemencic, while Belomoyna was caught by strong upcoming Corinna Gantenbein. The Swiss rider from Fischer-BMC surprised as fourth, five seconds behind Lechner.
Due to problems with the knee, Alexandra Engen (Swe, Ghost Factory Racing) was not able to race.
Mike Hadjioannou, chief of the organizing Bikin’ Cyprus agency, finally was happy that the rain was not to heavy. «From the organization side, everything went okay. There were some crashes, of course, when the course got slippery. But nothing serious and fortunately no injuries», he commented.
Blaza Klemencic: I am very happy with the race. I have won my last race 2012 in China and I start with a victory on Cyprus into 2013. That’s great. I was racing with my Olympian Bike, but at home, I have already a 29er.
Katrin Leumann: I actually was surprised how good the race worked for me. When Blaza speeded up, I was not able to follow, but at the end of the last lap, I could see her again. Unfortunately it was not able to pass her in the streets of Voroklini.
Eva Lechner: To be honest, I had my troubles, after the cyclo cross season and not training on the bike for one week. But for the first race, at least it is okay.