Men: Braidot wins, Giger takes yellow
Women: Brandau looses yellow, first win for Spitz
No day is like the other at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. Third stage in Lythrodontas saw another change in overall leading position. While Italian Luca Braidot celebrated the victory in the 50 kilometer stage, Fabian Giger as second took the leaders jersey. The women’s ranking changed, when Elisabeth Brandau flatted 10 kilometer to go, while riding in front, together with Sabine Spitz, who grabbed her first stage win in 2016. Now Adelheid Morath (2nd) wears yellow for the last stage.
The first news of the men’s race, was the DNF of Florian Vogel (Focus XC). The Swiss, winner of stage 1, attacked at the first uphill, Bartlomej Wawak (Kross Racing) from Poland followed him. But in the following fast downhill, Vogel slipped out and crashed hard. He gave up. As far as it is known, the injuries are not too bad.
Next important action happened at the long single trail uphill, when Fabian Giger set the pace and got a gap. Italian Luca Braidot chased and closed the gap at the end of the 30 minutes uphill ride. They went into the new single trail downhill, when Braidot took 10 seconds from Giger, but the Swiss was able to close again, with about 15 kilometers to go. The partnered and rode together for the rest. Giger knew that he will get yellow and left Braidot the stage victory without fighting. They finished in the same second after 2:00:51 hours.
“At the end, we could work together, that was perfect to increase the lead. Today everything went ideal. I felt very well, compared to last year I do not suffer that much but I am faster”, Giger commented on the stage. “I am happy that I have some buffer to my chasers”, he added regarding the last stage, a cross country race at Mantra tou Kampiou picnic place.
Luca Braidot showed himself “very happy” about his stage win. “I never thought, that it is possible to win a stage at the Afxentia. I tried something in the downhill, Giger came back and we worked together. At the finish he left me the win, because he got yellow”, Braidot told.
Kulhavy: from being dead to the podium
A ten men chasing group was fighting for the third spot on the podium and it was Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing), who took in the sprint, only one tenth of a second in front of Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon), but 1:39 minutes back. “I was strong at the downhill. But I went slow at the last ten minutes of the uphill, because I had a bad time. For a long time, I had no water and was completely dead. So I lost around 30 seconds until the top, but could close in the downhill. I am looking forward to the cross country, it goes better day by day”, the 31 years old Czech told.
Regarding the overall, Giger takes a 37 seconds lead to Braidot into the last stage. Grant Ferguson (CST Superior Brentjens) sits on third position, 1:41 minutes back. The British today finished in the chasing group on 10th position, 1:41 back. Mathieu van der Poel is in fourth position, 1:48 back.
Women: Bad luck for Brandau - Spitz happy to fight back
Third stage, third german stage victory. Sabine Spitz, after suffering from a puncturing the day before, losing any chance to take the overall, showed her pretty strong performance, she has at this moment.
She and Elisabeth Brandau (Radon-EBE Racing) were leaving Adelheid Morath (BH-Sr Suntour-KMC), when climbing the long single trail up to Kionia picnic place. At the top Brandau was 15 seconds in front, but Spitz closed the gap in the downhill
The two Germans passed the third feed zone together, but some kilometres later, when they passed Profitis Elias Monastery and went into a trail, Elisabeth Brandau was caught by bad luck. The lady in the yellow jersey lost air out of her back wheel.
“I tried to fix it, but it did not close. I tried it in another way, but it did not work at all. Then I had to change the tube, but there were also some problems”, Brandau explained after she finished on 23 (+14:43). “It’s really annoying to loose it like this.”
So the way was free for Sabine Spitz to take the stage. “Good to come back like this. In the single trail uphill, I found a good rhythm and I was not on the limit. I could close in the downhill, but I did it in a very smooth way, without risking anything. Tomorrow I will try to get as much as positions back, to collect as much points as possible”, Spitz told.
Dahle-Flesjaa: Crazy downhill ride on amazing trail
Adelheid Morath was suffering still from the injuries she got at yesterdays crash. “I feel pain, when pressing the pedal”, the new race leader explained. So could not follow in the uphill. “I took my own rhythm and in the downhill, I tried to make use of the technic I learned from our technical coach. One more day to go, I hope for it”, Morath said.
She finished 1:06 minutes behind Spitz (2:23:14) and ten seconds in front of Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida). The Norwegian for the first time could enter the podium.
“I am happy being on the podium, of course. I am not strong enough to follow the top girls in the uphill. That’s were I loose all the time. I was riding a crazy downhill today, caught one by one and saw even Adelheid at the finish. That’s amazing. I love high speed downhill. When I survive at the top, I have super fun. Amazing trails, really. It’s just unbelievable to ride”, Dahle-Flesjaa commented.