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  • Star Parade at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2018

    Star Parade at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2018

      Star parade at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, with World and Olympic Champions The Cyprus Sunshine Cup is once again a playground for the World Elite of mountain bike racing. The 2012 Olympic Champion, Jaroslav Kulhavy, and 2017 World Championship bronze medalist, Thomas Litscher, will Read More
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    Live the race! Be a proud volunteer at Cyprus Sunshine Cup

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  • Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa enthusiastic about Cyprus

    Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa enthusiastic about Cyprus

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Dahle-Flesjaa: Testing nerves in competition
Fumic: Afxentia is a kind of a yardstick

Cyprus Sunshine Cup on Thursday kicks off with the four days Afxentia stage race. Probably it’s the best start list ever in the long history of Afxentia.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa tops the women’s list with her firs­t appearance and in on the men’s side there are to find five riders out of the top ten world ranking.

Who are the favourites for 18th edition of Afxentia stage race? Good question. Too many high leveled riders are on the start lists, to figure out the one. And for all of them, the opening time trial at Lefkara on Thursday will be the first mountainbike competition in 2014. So, nobody knows really what will happen these four days on the sunny island. That makes everything extra exciting.

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The Swiss Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing) is CSC overall title defender. Says the former European Champion: “I am well prepared, the last few weeks in South Africa were running great. To be honest, I am a bit skeptical. Actually the start list is much too strong for this part of the season. But of course, it will be good to determine my shape”, Leumann comments.

Adelheid Morath (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) looks at her competitors the other way round. Last year third placed at Afxentia, the German sounds excited about the bunch of world class riders to race against. “It will be very demanding, of course. But I like it, when the level is so high. I am very curious about how it will be”, Morath says.

Despite already 41 years old Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa is a novice in racing on Cyprus. “I was on Cyprus for holidays more than 20 years ago. Now I am really excited and very interested in what I will meet there. For me it’s a kind of testing nerves in competition”, the nine times world champion from Norway explains.

In every case the Multivan-Merida rider will meet a lot of other top riders at the start. Young gun Jolanda Neff (Sui, Giant Pro XC), former world cup winner Elisabeth Osl (Aut) and Swedish Eliminator world champion Alexandra Engen (both Ghost Factory Racing), Olympic champion Sabine Spitz (Ger, Haibike), two times marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Den), Tereza Hurikova (Cze, both Specialized Racing), Blaza Klemencic (Slo, Feenstra Felt), Nathalie Schneitter (Sui, Colnago Südtirol), Kathrin Stirnemann (Sui, Haibike) are only some of the names who could be at Afxentias podium on one of the four days or in the overall.

Men: Surving, collecting points, having fun

The same is to be said on the male side. “It will be hard to survive”, Spaniard José Antonio Hermida suspects when he recognized the starting list and regarding the fact that it is the first time for him, racing on Cyprus. But the Multivan-Merida biker is always good for a joke and probably he himself will be one them, taking care that the others will have it hard to “survive”.

And the former world champion has four more top riders in the same jerseys around him. Rudi van Houts (Ned), Thomas Litscher (Sui), Ondrej Cink (Cze) and Julian Schelb (Ger) are also riders to watch.

csc 13-giger-downhill

Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC) last year won the Afxentia stage race overall. He sounds confident for this years edition as well. “My preparations were running well, same as last year. I feel a good shape coming and I am looking forward to the first races. The overall victory in 2013 was a very good start into the season. I think this year it will be again a bit harder. One stage more and the opponents are even a stronger. I want to do a good race to see how far I am with my preparations for the world cup season”, Giger tells.

Ralph Näf and Lukas Flückiger (BMC Racing) are going to use Afxentia as pre event for the Cape Epic. Will be nice to see, if they are staying together in stage 2 or 3 as they have to do at the Cape Epic.

London Olympic bronze medalist Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) and Manuel Fumic (Ger), the fascinating Cannondale duo, last year were riding the Cape Epic together, but they don’t in 2014. But of course it could happen that they can work together in the two point to point stages o Friday and Saturday.

Says vice world champion Manuel Fumic: “Cyprus is important for me as an access to the season. The HC status can give you a lot of points and I want to earn as much as possible. It’s great to have such strong riders in the starting list. So the Afxentia is a kind of yardstick.” Fumic in 2013 lost points after being injured at the shoulder and is currently sitting on ten.

The list of top riders is not finished yet. Scott-Odlo biker Florian Vogel is another one to watch and Jan Skarnitzl (Cze, Sram Rubena Trek) in 2013 made a big move in the world ranking (12.) after winning the Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall. Also Michiel van der Heijden (Ned) and Swedish team mate Emil Lindgren (Giant Pro XC) have to be on the list.

Lindgren shortly was tweeting about “one of the coolest single tracks of the world”, he waits for in training on Cyprus. This kind of fun is also something he will experience in racing the Afxentia.

25 nations and more amateurs

So it seems to be the highest quality on the start list ever, despite the fact that Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy had to delete his participation because of a broken knee cap.

Monday morning the registration list of Afxentia saw 125 licenced riders on the table, 36 women and 89 men. All in all there are riders out of 25 different nations participating in Afxentia stage race.

“These numbers are already a success for the Cyprus Sunshine Cup”, Mike Hadjioannou says. With the support of Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Cyprus Cycling Federation the CSC has grown nearly every year. Hadjioannou mentions also that the new Afxentia communities of Lefkara (stage 1+2) and Lythrodontas (stage 3) are giving a lot of support to the mountainbike event. “That helps a lot to improve”, the race organizer confirms.

The new four days format seems to be a success. There are also more amateur riders than the previous years. “That’s the way we want to develop more and more in the following years”, Hadjioannou says.


Afxentia (SHC) schedule:

27/2/2014 Time Trial Lefkara (5,7km)

13:00 Start of Juniors and Masters
14:00 Start of Women Elite and Men Elite categories

28/3/2014 XC Point to Point Lefkara – Lefkara (52 km)

11:00 Start for Men Elite
11:00 Start for Women Elite, Juniors and Masters

01/3/2014 XC Point to Point Lythrodontas – Lythrodontas (39,5 km)

11:00 Start for Men Elite
11:00 Start for Women Elite, Juniors and Masters

02/3/2014 XCO – Mantra tou Kampiou (5,5 km)

10:00 Start of Women Elite, Juniors and Masters Categories
12:00 Start of Men Elite category


Dates Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2014
  • Afxentia stage race (SHC) - February 27 to March 2  
  • Voroklini (C1) - March 9

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