World cup overall winner Jolanda Neff has announced a spontaneous decision. The Swiss star returns to Cyprus to defend her Afxentia title from last years edition. Also junior world champion Simon Andreassen is considering to compete in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. Meanwhile another single trail has been added to the Afxentia stage race.
In 2014 Cyprus was her starting point for a phenomenal season. Jolanda Neff won the four days Afxentia stage race and six weeks later in Pietermaritzburg, she grabbed her first world cup victory in elites category. Finally, with two wins more, she took the world cup overall, as youngest rider in history of mountain biking.
Her original plans for this season didn’t mention Cyprus, because the Stöckli Pro rider thought that it should be too early. The world cup season in 2015 opens only in May.
“My shape has developed faster than I thought. So I felt motivated for racing and I turned my plans upside down”, Jolanda Neff explains with a smile.
Of course all the nice memories on Cyprus and her perfect start in 2014 also pushed the 22 years old three times u23 world champion to register for the Afxentia stage race, which starts on 26 of February with a time trial in Lefkara.
At the same day when Neff called, Cyprus Sunshine Cup organizer Mike Hadjioannou got a request from Simon Andreassen (Specialized) from Denmark. He is the current junior world champion in cross country and in cyclo cross as well and he would ride his world champions jersey on Cyprus for the first time!
Even when Marianne Vos cancelled her plans to race on Cyprus because she has to recover from an injury, the registration list is full of world champions and Olympic champions. Road and cyclo cross world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (RaboLiv), Olympic champions Julie Bresset (BH Sr Suntour-KMC) and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida) as well as marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Specialized) are creating an extremely high valued women’s peloton.
The ladies and also the top men’s bunch, lead by Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, will meet some improvement in the Afxentia stage race.
In stage two, with start and finish in famous silver and lace village Lefkara, last years short asphalt section on the top of Macheras mountains, is replaced by a new single trail section.
In stage 3, which starts on Saturday in Lythrodontas, will be a different course on the first five of 43 kilometres, with some more climbing. And the finish will be much closer to the village. “There are more facilities for the teams, it will be more confortable for the riders”, Mike Hadjioannou explains.
Dates Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2015
February 26 to March 1 Afxentia stage race (SHC)
March 8 Amathous (C1)