The second and last stage of Cyprus Sunshine Cup at Voroklini ended up in a Czech duel. Ondrej Cink could take the win in front of Jan Skarnitzl. Third place went to Thomas Litscher (Sui). In a tight finish of women’s race, Jolanda Neff (Sui) was able to pass Blaza Klemencic (Slo) to take her second CSC win. Third spot on the podium went to Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Nor). The CSC overall victories were awarded to the winners of the day.
The men’s race came up to a fight of the two countrymen, when Rudi van Houts (Multivan-Merida) lost the contact to the duo. Before that, his team companion José Antonio Hermida had suffered from a flat tire and felt back. Some time earlier another Multivan-Merida rider, the young Julian Schelb (Ger) had a crash and Hermida touched him, so that a spoke in his back wheel broke.
At this point we are in the third lap. From that on, Ondrej Cink (Multivan-Merida) and Jan Skarnitzl (Sram Rubena Trek) were increasing their gap up to half a minute, while Thomas Litscher was fighting back into the chasing group. In the first lap, he struggled a bit, but then found his rhythm.
Cink and Skarnitzl stayed together until the last lap. Then world cup overall fifth of 2013, Ondrej Cink took an advantage in an uphill single trail. “He was stronger there every lap and I could not close the gap again”, Jan Skarnitzl explained. “It was a great race and I am satisfied with that result. Ondrej was very strong.”
The victorious Cink crossed the finish line 17 seconds earlier and of course was happy about his first season win. Cink says: “During the week I felt tired and even yesterday not so good. But today, everything was perfect. I felt super for the whole race and could do what I want. It was a very, very good day for me.”
Behind them both, Litscher reached van Houts and left him behind. After the first lap, Litscher was going as fast as leading two and finally took the third spot on the podium.
“Finally it worked out and that makes me calm. My first lap was not really good, but then I was able to push. I need concentrate on myself, then it pays off”, Litscher said after finishing 35 seconds back.
Team mate Rudi van Houts was a bit unlucky about missing the top three, but not unhappy with his race. “In the uphill they were stronger, so I tried to be in front, when it goes into the downhill. So I could make the gap to the rest. Later it was a fight against Wolfram Kurschat. It’s a bit a shame to loose the podium at the end” said van Houts.
Kurschat was okay with his first season appearance. The 38 years old Topeak-Ergon rider was talking about missing the power to continue pushing after the climbs, compared to the riders already were racing the Afxentia.
“Finally I am happy with my debut”, the German said after six laps (per 6,01km) and start loop (3,2km)
In the overall classification of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup it was the same Czech double win. Cink first time took the orange jersey.
Neff first punctures and then chases successful
The second victory of Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC) within a week, obviously was deserved. The 21 years old u23 world champion punctured in the first of four complete laps. After changing her back wheel, she passed the finish line with 40 seconds behind the three ladies leading group on seventh position.
Jolanda Neff fought back and already in the following lap she had reached the leading ones. In the third lap, Neff and Blaza Klemencic (Feenstra-Felt) went away, Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida) followed eight seconds behind and Maja Wloszczowska (Liv Pro XC) with 15 seconds more.
Neff and Klemencic increased the gap and in the last downhill it came up to an exciting finish. Klemencic was leading and Neff not able to pass, even she probably could go faster.
They reached the asphalt and there a fast corner. “Blaza took the outside line and found the gap to pass her”, Neff explained how it came down to the decision.
“I felt pretty strong in the uphill and it was okay in the downhill. But Jolanda, she is so fast in the downhill, I had no chance”, Klemencic confirmed.
She was a bit unhappy about riding still her training bike. “Unfortunately I didn’t get my new bike yet to get used with it. For the race, I am fine with the result.”
Jolanda Neff was smiling. “Super cool, that I could make it after having this flat tire. I tried to ride my pace. It couldn’t go better the whole Cyprus Sunshine Cup”, Neff commented. With two wins, she also took the CSC overall.
Nine times world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa made this comment on her race: “I felt strong, but I am not in shape. Of course, I should be happy to make it on the podium, but the body is not so far. I had to control myself and ride on strength. It went pretty well in the uphill and in the technical parts. First podium gives me motivation, it was a good fight with the girls”.
Maja Wloszczowska was happy with her first season appearance. “I had a lot of health problems this winter. So it’s good to be in the front group, already in the first race. Even if it was too fast for me, I decided to keep up as long as possible. Of course I am happy with the victory of my team mate”, the Polish said.
Sabine Spitz confessed, that she could not push so well in Voroklini. “Today I was not able to reach my top heart rate. Probably I was not completely fresh. I missed the front group and then had to ride solo”, the 2008 Olympic champion said.
Participants record in Voroklini
The Voroklini C1 race never hat such an amount of particpants. 86 men and 38 women were competing in the elites race and put an successful end into the Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2014.
“We are really glad about this improvement and looking forward to next year. The success of this year gives us motivation to work on some details for 2015. Thanks to all the support we got from the communities, Cyprus Tourism Organization and Cyprus Cycling Federation and also thanks to all the positive comments”, organizer Mike Hadjioannou finally said.