Florian Vogel takes it again
German sweep on the ladies podium
On a warm and sunny day in Lefkara, Cyprus, the Swiss title defender Florian Vogel won the opening time trial of the 20th Afxentia stage race. Vogel took it by only 0,2 seconds in front of Grant Ferguson (Gbr). Surprisingly the third place went to Marcel Guerrini (Sui). Also a surprise, what happened in women’s competition. The three German ladies Elisabeth Brandau, Sabine Spitz and Adelheid Morath occupied the podium.
Florian Vogel (Focus XC) scored a time of 9:25,34 on the 3,9 kilometre course in Lefkara. “It was of course hard, but the feeling was quite good. This a pretty good start into the season, I am happy about it, looking forward to the following stages. To have my team mate Marcel with me on the podium makes it even better”, Vogel commented.
The Afxentia title defender also last year won the Lefkara time trial.
A little bit of disappointment was on the side of Grant Ferguson (CST Superior Brentjens). He missed the victory only by 0,21 seconds.
“My feeling was quite good and the course was great fun in these corners around the town and the stairs, I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the great trails the next days”, Ferguson said. He won stage 2 in 2015.
Marcel Guerrini found himself 6,12 seconds off the pace of his team mate and countryman Vogel. “I can hardly believe it. I felt fast, but not so fast as the classification says”, Guerrini was laughing. “I didn’t train anything like this, so I am really surprised. I knew, that my shape is better than the year before, but I did not know, to be so fast.”
Swiss Fabian Giger (Kross Racing, +6,92), 2014 overall winner of Afxentia, missed the podium by only 0,79 seconds, followed by the fourth Swiss Matthias Stirnemann (Möbel Märki), who was 8,7 seconds back.
Former cyclo cross world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Ned, BKCP-Corendon) scored a strong 10th place (+17,12), despite the fact that he had no real warm up. Van der Poel flatted some time before his start and had to change the wheel.
Women: Maiden victory for Elisabeth Brandau
As the Swiss in Men’s race, the German’s did in women’s. Elisabeth Brandau (Radon-EBE Racing) took her very first Afxentia stage win, 4,97 seconds in front of the three times Olympic medal winner Sabine Spitz and 9,32 seconds to Adelheid Morath (BH-Sr Suntour-KMC).
Swiss Linda Indergand (Focus XC) as fourth (+13,30) got into the German phalanx, which was completed by the German national champion Helen Grobert (Ghost Factory Racing), who on fifth place was 21,08 seconds off the pace.
“What can I say? I am pretty surprised to beat all the strong ladies. My goal was top ten and I wanted to take the time trial as preparation for the other stages. My legs were hurting from the massage, so I never expected to take the win”, Elisabeth Brandau told after it was clear, that she had clocked the best time. Brandau already did some races on the Greek island Salamina and won three of it. Six years ago Brandau also won the Afxentia time trial.
Sabine Spitz was grinning, when she was asked about her feeling – before she knew about her second place. “Very good”, was the clear answer of the 44 years old legend of mountain biking and she was grinning. “Everything went fine and I could go a steady pace.” Such an experienced rider obviously knows immediately how much the effort was worth.
Adelheid Morath surprised herself. “I never thought about such a result. My training had not any intensity before. I am really happy to have start into the season like this”, the former German champion told.
Dates of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2016
February 25 to 28 - Afxentia stage race (SHC)
March 6 - Voroklini (C1)