Maxime Marotte win’s after massive attack
Sabine Spitz climbs strong and takes the win
Maxime Marotte and Sabine Spitz took the second and final round of Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2016. The French rider and his compatriot Jordan Sarrou in Voroklini, Cyprus, celebrated a double win in front of Czech Ondrej Cink. In the women’s race it was the expected duel between Sabine Spitz and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa. The German won in front of the Norwegian, while Yana Belomoina completed the prominent podium as third. Dahle-Flesjaa and Marotte took the Sunshine Cup overall.
At the beginning of the men’s race a four-man group with Maxime Marotte, Jordan Sarrou (both BH Sr Suntour-KMC), Ondrej Cink (Multivan-Merida) and Nicola Rohrbach (goldwurst-power/Felt) was leading the race, while Jan Skarnitzl (Cze, Sram Mitas Trek) and Hungarian Zsolt Juhasz were the chasers. Together they four entered lap four of six, but then Nicola Rohrbach punctured and felt back into ninth position.
At the end of this lap, Marotte and Sarrou escaped from Cink, using team work to open the gap. But Sarrou then in the long uphill to the top was also not more able to follow the massive attack of his team mate and Marotte was cleared. He celebrated his very first victory in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup.
“I felt good all the race. But I knew, it could be important to wait a little bit, because of the wind in the flat sections. So, in the middle of the race, when everybody was a bit in the red zone, we tried to get in front together. Finally I was in a bit better condition. It was a perfect day for me and also for the team”, Maxime Marotte told. “I am really happy about these two weeks. I came here to do top five or ten and now I have a win.”
Jordan Sarrou was also glad about his second place. “I was in good shape today. At the beginning we were working together very well. In the last lap Maxime was stronger than me and I took my own pace. I am very happy to finish these two weeks with a second place”, the French man said. He was 53 seconds back.
Ondrej Cink secured the third position, 2:22 back. At the Afxentia Cink still suffered from a sickness, in Voroklini the worlds bronze medallist was able to be up in the front. “I am happy today, it was much better than the week before. I felt more power, but I need more time”, the Czech commented.
Maxime Marotte took the orange Cyprus Sunshine Cup winners jersey in front of Jordan Sarrou and Nicola Rohrbach.
Meanwhile bad news arrived from the Czech team camp. Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy was at the hospital and an x-ray found out, that he has broken his wrist twice.
Kulhavy was in the front group, when in second lap, during a downhill he got some problems with his chain. He had to stop to get the problem fixed. Still in the downhill section, he tried to get back on the course. He lost the balance, when trying to get in position and felt down. Not spectacular, but enough to break the bones.
Sabine Spitz: Voroklini course comparable to the track in Rio
In women’s competition, it was the expected duel between the two experienced mountain bike legends Sabine Spitz and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa.
During the first complete lap, a four ladies leading group was build. Sabine Spitz, Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida), Ekaterina Anoshina from Russia and Yana Belomoina (CST Superior Brentjens) from Ukraine together entered the second lap. Then Belomoina started to suffer and lost contact.
It was in lap two, when Sabine Spitz was able to get away for the first time. The three times Olympic medallist was stronger in the uphill parts, but Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa was able to catch her again, followed by Ekaterina Anoshina.
In the following uphill, Spitz again took 15 seconds from her chasers and this was a kind of decision. Until the end of lap four, Spitz increased her lead up to 40 seconds.
“I then took it a bit easier to keep the risk down, because I wanted to have the points. Gunn-Rita closed a bit in the downhill, so I speeded up again in the last few kilometres”, Spitz gave an inside view in her last lap.
She secured her second season victory after a stage win at the Afxentia stage race. “The start loop was painful, I did not feet really fresh after training a lot. Therefore I was wondering if I could push until the finish. I am really happy about my shape and the two weeks on Cyprus.” And regarding the highlight of this year: “If you see the Voroklini track in parts, you can find similar sections in Rio’s Olympic course. That suits me”
Her main contender Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa confessed, that she was not able to follow Spitz in the climbs. “I had to risk a lot in the downhill. But it’s good training, if you have to go for your limit”, the Norwegian told. “Every time when it goes up, I went backwards. I did a lot of training this week and so I had a heavy feeling. But most important thing is, that I was in the race. I am happy, the two weeks were much better than expected.” She was 21 seconds off.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa took the overall of the Cyprus Sunshine-Cup. “I am proud of it. I think my little boy will like the orange colour of the jersey”, the Mom of a seven years old child was laughing. Second place went to Sabine Spitz, third place to Githa Michiels (Versluys), who ended up on fifth on that sunny day at Voroklini.
In the fight for third place on the podium, Yana Belomoina caught back and passed Ekaterina Anoshina in the very last lap. The worlds bronze medallist was happy, after suffering from pain caused by a crash at the Afxentia.
“I am happy about my race today. The first half of the race, I didn’t feel very well, but then it went better.
She finished third, 49 seconds back.
Conclusion: Best CSC ever
After two rounds and five days of racing, the organizers found a very positive conclusion. Mike Hadjioannou from organizing Bikin’ Cyprus Event Management:
“I think it was the best edition of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup we ever had. The big number of world class athletes was great, their feedback was amazing and the organization went very well.”
The Cyprus Sunshine Cup becomes more and more a kind of must-do for a lot of the ambitious riders. They join the Cup year by year.
But also the comments of the amateur and fun riders were absolutely positive. “This is a quality of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup we want to build on for the future. We already have a really good race for professionals but we also want to improve for fun riders. The combination of races, training on life style on the island could attract a lot more mountain biker”, Hadjioannou was looking into the future.