untouchable in Marathon World Champs
Denmark’s Annika Langvad wrapped up a hat-trick of women’s world
titles at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in
Pietermaritzburg on Sunday entrenching her status as one of the best
female endurance mountain bikers in the world.
The result was especially pleasing for the Dane who came to South
Africa putting a lot of pressure on herself to win.
“This win is just awesome!” Langvad said afterwards. “My previous two
wins I wasn’t really expecting at all but this time I knew I could win
and so I put a bit more pressure on myself around so to have come here
and got the win despite that little bit of added pressure, is really
“I didn’t expect to win so comfortably in the end though!” she added
Familiar with the local conditions having raced in South Africa
previously, Langvad looked to stamp her authority on proceedings early
on, especially after the non-participation due to illness by Great
Britain’s Sally Bigham and early withdrawal by fellow title hopeful
It took Langvad until just after the first tech zone to make her
decisive move and her lead was soon a significant one.
“I think riding a full suspension made things a lot easier for me with
this terrain and allowed me to recover a lot more,” she explained.
“I also did the Cape Epic, an extremely hard stage race, leading up to
World Champs and I came here today in a very similar mood to my Cape
Epic mood so I managed to get into a rhythm and just keep pushing and
all of a sudden the 74km actually counted down quite quickly!”
“As I got closer to the finish line and I got told I had a good gap, I
just said to myself ‘Okay, no mistakes now. Just get down safely and
you’ve got the World Championships title again!’ and it was just
amazing! I loved every minute of it!”
Germany’s vastly experienced Sabine Spitz showed her pedigree once
more as she overcame the rest of the world class field to clinch
second place while recently crowned European Champion Tereza Hurikova
“Early on I tried to go to front so I could keep the speed high
because I’ve been involved in two crashes before when the speed was
too slow but then Annika made her move between tech zone 1 and 2 and
once she opened up a gap it just continued to grow and grow and grow!”
said Spitz with a wry grin.
“Annika was just stronger than me, you have to accept just it when
someone is stronger than you and she is a deserved World Champion!”
she added gracefully.
The renowned competitor also had some high praise for Nick Floros’
widely anticipated course.
“I really liked the course! My first impression of the course when I
got here on Monday was very good and it didn’t change at any stage.
“It was different to the marathon courses we get in Europe where you
ride mainly on gravel and can be quite boring. Here the landscape was
so different and the course was just great!” said Spitz.
With the podium in a class of their own, 40-year-old legend of the
sport Esther Süss and fellow Swiss star Arian Kleinhans – who now
calls Stellenbosch home after marrying South African Erik Kleinhans –
were left to battle it out for the remaining top five positions.
South African national marathon champ Robyn de Groot had the ride of
her life as she compiled her solid sixth place yielding effort while
birthday girl Jeannie Dreyer finished eighth and was the second local
lass across the line.
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SUMMARY OF RESULTS
UCI MTB MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Annika Langvad (DEN) 3:50:53
2. Sabine Spitz (GER) 3:56:20 +05:26
3. Tereza Hurikova (CZE) 3:59:50 +08:56
4. Esther Suss (SUI) 4:07:07 +16:13
5. Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 4:11:32 +20:38
6. Robyn de Groot (RSA) 4:12:30 +21:36
7. Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) 4:13:53 +23:00
8. Jeannie Dreyer (RSA) 4:22:11 +31:17
9. Alice Pirard (BEL) 4:28:09 +37:15
10. Regina Genser (GER) 4:28:50 +37:56