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Jaroslav Kulhavy romps to Windham win

Proving an unstoppable force of speed, Jaroslav Kulhavy extended his lead in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country series, taking a second consecutive win at Windham, New York over the weekend.

From the start the Czech rider dominated, just as he did to win the weekend earlier in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada. He led the race up the first climb and opened up an unassailable 11 second lead by the end of the first lap, increasing it every lap from there. His winning margin was 29 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line.

And that’s a performance despite a course that didn’t suit the Specialized rider. “This course does not suit me as well as Mont Ste Anne last week,” commented Kulhavy. “But I decided that I would try to take the lead on the first lap on the climb, and it worked.”

While Kulhavy had a lock on first place, there was a fierce battle for second among eight riders. Nino Schurter prevailed, after dropping world Marathon champion Christoph Sauser in the final descent. Burry Stander took fourth to put a third Specialized rider on the podium, and Maxime took the fifth and final podium spot.

With his third win of the season Kulhavy now has 1110 points to second placed Schurter’s 870. In third place in the points race is Julien Absalon, who decided not to race in North America. Even with only three races to his credit this season Absalon has 650 points.

In the women’s title race the battle was between World Cup Series Leader Julie Bresset and round four winner Catharine Pendrel. They had attained a 40 second gap over the rest of the field by the end of the first of five laps and never looked back.

The duo rode together for the rest of the race with victory coming down to the climb on the last lap. Bresset had the better attack and came over the top in the lead, while Pendrel had some mechanical problems on the descent. Bresset’s winning time was 1:35:36, with Pendrel claiming second, 39 seconds back.

“I’m very happy with my win,” commented Bresset. “Catharine was very fast today. I attacked at the right time and she couldn’t follow me. Catharine was more comfortable on the downhills than I was, and she attacked me many times, but I still had enough strength left to launch the final attack.”

Bresset leads the points standings with 1110. Pendrel remains in second with 920. Bresset seems to have a lock on the series title unless she has some disastrous finishes in the remaining two races in the Czech Republic and Italy. Premont is third in the series with 630 points.

The Brits

Annie Last continued her impressive campaign in the World Cup series, finishing just inside the top 20, in 19th place. Liam Killeen also squeaked inside the top 20, recording 17th. Meanwhile Oli Beckingsale was further back in 41st.

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