Schurter And Zakelj World Cup Champions, Smith Keeps Overall Chase Alive
The Norwegian round of the MTB World Cup in Hafjell, Norway, was a huge success for SRAM athletes, from XC to Downhill.
KULHAVY AND KALENTIEVA WIN THE DAY, SCHURTER AND ZAKELJ CROWNED WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS
In the last round of the XC World Cup, World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower), with the overall series win already sealed, gave way to a textbook win from Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized). Nino and Jaroslav battled hard for the entire race, and it all came down to a showdown between the two most dominant XC riders in the world during the last lap, where Jaroslav managed to pass Nino and hold on to the lead until the finish line.
Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Marco Aurelio Fontana joined Kulhavy and Schurter on the podium in 3rd and 5th respectively, confirming Fumic’s great form after his silver medal at Worlds.
Once again athletes riding SRAM XX1 and Avid XX brakes dominate the XC racing season, after the Olympics-World Championships-World Cup sweep in 2012. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) and Onderj Cink (Multivan Merida) joined Nino in 4th and 5th overall for the 2013 season.
In the Women’s XC, Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) managed her margin well to claim her first overall World Cup title after a 6th place on the day, while Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) took the win. Lea Davison (Specialized) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida) completed the podium in 4th and 5th.
Tanja got to celebrate her great accomplishment after an amazingly consistent season, with two wins and constant podium placements. Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing Team) joined her on the overall podium in 5th.
SMITH RE-OPENS TITLE CHASE, RAGOT STAYS WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE
The downhill race was nothing short of dramatic, after heavy thunderstorms transformed the track conditions and kept pounding the athletes even during their race runs. Emerging victorious from the mud was Devinci Global Racing’s Steve Smith, who goes into the final round next week only 17 points behind the current leader in the overall classification: the race for the title will come down to the final race of the season.
Joining Smith on the podium was the Giant Factory Off-Road Racing duo of Danny Hart and Andrew Neethling, while Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre Gravity Republic) wraps up the day in 4th.
In the women’s race Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) grabs a solid 5th place finish, which solidifies her 2nd place in the overall and keeps her in the fight for the World Cup Championship title next week.
The MTB World Cup Downhill goes into its season’s finale next weekend (September 21st-22nd) in Leogang, Austria.
-All photos by Sven Martin
XC Elite Men
1. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) – SRAM XX1, RockShox SID Brain, Avid XX brakes
2. Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) – SRAM XX1, Avid XX brakes
3. Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) - SRAM XX1, Avid XX brakes
5. Maroc Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) - SRAM XX1, Avid XX brakes
XC Elite Women
1. Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) – SRAM XX1, RockShox SID XX
4. Lea Davison (Specialized) - SRAM XX1, RockShox SID Brain, Avid XX brakes
5. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Multivan Merida) - SRAM XX1, RockShox SID, Avid XX brakes
DH Elite Men
1. Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing ) – SRAM X0 DH, RockShox BoXXer and Vivid, Avid Code, TRUVATIV BlackBox bar
2. Danny Hart (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) - SRAM X0 DH, RockShox BoXXer and Vivid, Avid Code, TRUVATIV BlackBox bar
3. Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) - SRAM X0 DH, RockShox BoXXer and Vivid, Avid Code, TRUVATIV BooBar
4. Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre Gravity Republic) - SRAM X0 DH, RockShox BoXXer and Vivid, Avid Code