Cyprus Sunshine Cup’s last race on Sunday will have again two high class competitions. In Voroklini’s cross country race vice world champion Maja Wloszczowska will be another big name to appear on in racing, giving her seaon debut. Jan Skarnitzl seems to be the favourite among the men and Jolanda Neff trying to defend their lead in the overall.
Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC) since more than one week stays on the island, but last week during Afxentia, she had to keep passive. As far as racing was concerned. The 2010 world champion, four time vice world champion (04,05,11,13) and Olympic Silver medallist in Bejing Games 2008 suffers from a inflammation in her left wrist.
“I wouldn’t have been able to compete four days in a row. It’s getting better now and I think for one day, it will be okay”, Wloszczowska explains. Asked about her shape, the Polish answered: “Hmm, of course, an inflammation concerns the whole body. I have to see, what’s possible on Sunday.”
Her teammate Jolanda Neff likes to have Maja in the race. “Great to have her with me. Myself, I would like to show a good race again. The last day at Afxentia I felt already a bit tired, but for Sunday, I should be fresh again. I do not know the Voroklini course yet, I am curious on it”, the Afxentia victorious told us on Wednesday.
She has to defend the orange Cyprus Sunshine Cup leader jersey. After Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing) has left the sunny island to continue her preparing for the Cape Epic, Adelheid Morath (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) will be the most serious contender for the overall. The German was third at Afxentia and for three days she showed up on a pretty high level, especially in climbing.
Teammate Sabine Spitz was more than only content with her performance the previous weekend. She should also be able to fight for a podium. Same counts for Blaza Klemencic (Slo, Feenstra-Felt), Elisabeth Osl (Aut, Ghost Factory Racing) or Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Nor, Multivan-Merida).
The living legend of mountainbiking plays her cards down. “I am not in shape, I don’t expect a lot. But racing is important for me to build up my technical skills and also as high intensity training. In training you are riding not so fast as in a race. That’s why I am here. You get everything you need on Cyprus, it’s ideal for training and racing and the people are so nice. I appreciate that very much”, the Norwegian told.
Her hip is now okay again. She suffered from a bruise after the crash at Lefkara time trial.
Tereza Hurikova (Specialized Racing), Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz-Haibike), Katrin Leumann or Alexandra Engen (both Ghost Factory Racing) are also among the strong contenders.
Men: Hermida stronger this week?
Men’s peloton, compared to last weekend, will miss the Afxentia winner Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC) and also Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing). That lifts Ondrej Cink (Multivan-Merida) and his Czech country mate Jan Skarnitzl (Sram Rubena Trek) into the position of favourites.
“After Afxentia I was a bit tired, but I think that is normal. I am going to fight for the podium again, but Jan looks very, very strong. He is the man to beat”, Cink said on Wednesday. And now Skarnitzl can ride on his own (Trek) Bike, after he was forced to ride a lent bike at Afxentia because his one was not available.
Cink’s Multivan-Merida companion José Antonio Hermida smiled, when asked about his ambitions. “I think, it should be better than last weekend.” Whatever that means.
Maybe we can learn more from his teammates Ondrej Cink and Julian Schelb.
“I think, José will be much stronger in Voroklini”, Schelb says and Cink agrees. They both trained together with the Spaniard.
Young gun Schelb himself tries to repeat his strong Afxentia appearance. “On Wednesday I already felt good again in training. So I am hopeful to be competitive again”, he says.
Michiel van der Heijden (Giant Pro XC), stopped by a flat tire at Afxentia’s cross country race, should be also a serious contender as well as his Dutch friend Rudi van Houts (Multivan-Merida). New in the game is the German Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak-Ergon), who was at Voroklini podium in 2012 (5th).
In 2013 Blaza Klemencic and the currently injured Jaroslav Kulhavy won the races on the 6,01 kilometre cross country course.