Guess who’s the new Women’s XC World Champion? Go on, guess, bet you can’t. Oh, OK you can – it’s Gunn-Rita Dahle, who took her fourth rainbow jersey in wet and slippery conditions in Rotorua, New Zealand. And in traditional Dahle style, she was nearly three minutes ahead of second-placed Irina Kalentieva. Canada’s Marie-Helene Premont was third. This is Dahle’s second World Championship title this year – she won the Marathon World Championships just two weeks ago.
There was a successful title defence in the men’s race too, with Julien Absalon taking the title for the third consecutive year. He had to work for it, though, finding himself in a strong lead group with Christoph Sauser, Fredrik Kessiakoff and Ralph Naf. Just behind for much of the race was Oli Beckingsale, although unfortunately he couldn’t maintain his pace to the end, fading to finish 27th. The closing stages were a duel between Absalon and Sauser, with Absalon repeatedly opening up a gap on the climbs and Sauser closing it on the descents. On the final lap, though, Absalon made a move to which Sauser had no response and finised 43 seconds clear. Kessiakoff was third. Top-placed Brit was Liam Killeen – he’d been ill in the days before the race, took the early stages at a steady pace but started to pick up places towards the end to finish 10th.
- 1. DAHLE FLESJAA Gunn-Rita NOR 1:55:19
- 2. KALENTIEVA Irina RUS 1:58:05 +2:45
- 3. PREMONT Marie-Helene CAN 1:59:42 +4:22
- 4. WLOSZCZOWSKA Maja POL 2:01:50 +6:30
- 5. FULLANA RIERA Margarita ESP 2:03:00 +7:40
- 1. ABSALON Julien FRA 2:09:07
- 2. SAUSER Christoph SUI 2:09:51 +43
- 3. KESSIAKOFF Fredrik SWE 2:11:06 +1:58
- 4. NÄF Ralph SUI 2:13:30 +4:22
- 5. PAEZ LEON Hector Leonardo COL 2:13:59 +4:51
- 10. KILLEEN Liam GBR 2:16:21 +7:13
- 27. BECKINGSALE Oliver GBR 2:21:29 +12:21