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2011 UCI World Cup: Schurter wins in South Africa

Nino Schurter wins in Pietermaritzburg

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa hosted the first round of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, with the XC, DH and 4X disciplines contested, one of the few dates on the calendar where the three sports take place over the same weekend.

With the Olympics close on the horizon the competition in the XC is expected to be intense this year as the racers prepare themselves in this final year, while some will be hoping to ensure their spot on the starting line in London.

In the men’s racing there will be renewed rivalry between France’s Julien Absalon (Orbea) and the 2010 World Cup Champion from Switzerland, Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower), while Spain’s Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), who won the opening round the last time the race was in Pietermaritzburg, will wear the rainbow stripes of the World Champion through the year.

“Again, it was a great fight between Julien and me,” said Nino Schurter after the race.  “We are so close, but I was a little faster in the technical section and was able to get a gap, which I could hold to the finish line.  It is always special to win against Julien.”

For the women, Canada’s Catharine Pendrel (Luna) will start the year with the number one plate, however, she faces strong competition from Americans Willow Koerber (Trek World Racing) and Georgia Gould (Luna), as well as Italy’s Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol) and Russia’s Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon). The XC will also introduce, for the first time, separate World Cup races for the Under-23 categories.

However, it was Chinese star Ren Chengyuan, returning to the women’s field after a nearly two season absence, who let everyone know she was back with a vengeance, sprinting up from near the back of the field to take the victory, and don the leader’s jersey. Last year’s Under 23 champion, Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry) clearly has made the move to the elite ranks with a silver medal performance, while Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) of Russia just beat 2010 World Cup champion Catharine Pendrel of Canada for third place.

Ren was surprised with her victory, commenting: “I did not expect to win.  I started far back, and the start was very fast.  It was hard to pass at the beginning, but then it began to open up and I could move forward.”

Top British finishers were Liam Killeen in 27th and Annie Last in 20th.

Men’s results

  • 1          SCHURTER Nino        SUI19860513  SCOTT-SWISSPOWER MTB-RACING       1:34:50
  • 2          ABSALON Julien        FRA19800816 ORBEA           +00:16
  • 3          KULHAVY Jaroslav    CZE19850108 SPECIALIZED RACING        +01:07
  • 4          HERMIDA RAMOS José Antonio       ESP19780824 MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM         +01:15
  • 5          FONTANA Marco Aurelio      ITA19841012  CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING         +01:46
  • 6          FUMIC Manuel           GER19820330 CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING         +01:48
  • 7          LEJARRETA ERRASTI Inaki  ESP19830901 ORBEA           +01:51
  • 8          TEMPIER Stéphane     FRA19860305 TX ACTIVE BIANCHI           +01:54
  • 9          COLOMA NICOLAS Carlos  ESP19810928 WILDWOLF-TREK RACING           +02:33
  • 10        WELLS Todd  USA19751225            SPECIALIZED RACING        +02:36
  • 27        KILLEEN Liam           GBR19820412            GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM        +05:59

Women’s results

  • 1          REN Chengyuan           CHN19860920            SPECIALIZED RACING        1:32:36
  • 2          BRESSET Julie            FRA19890609 BH-SUNTOUR-PEISEY VALLANDRY        +01:06
  • 3          KALENTIEVA Irina    RUS19771110 TOPEAK ERGON RACING TEAM  +02:18
  • 4          PENDREL Catharine   CAN19800930            LUNA PRO TEAM     +02:44
  • 5          BYBERG Lene            NOR19821125            SPECIALIZED RACING        +03:16
  • 6          SCHNEITTER Nathalie           SUI19860619  COLNAGO ARREGHINI SUDTIROL           +05:01
  • 7          SPITZ Sabine   GER19711227 CENTRAL HAIBIKE PRO TEAM     +05:18
  • 8          WLOSZCZOWSKA Maja      POL19831109 CCC POLKOWICE   +05:26
  • 9          PREMONT Marie-Helene       CAN19771024            TEAM MAXXIS-ROCKY MOUNTAIN       +05:33
  • 10        OSL Elisabeth  AUT19851121            GHOST FACTORY RACING TEAM            +05:57
  • 20        LAST Annie     GBR19900907                        +08:40

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