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Kulhavy snaps up elusive marathon world title

Kulhavy snaps up elusive marathon world title

2012 Olympic gold medallist and Czech mountain biking star Jaroslav Kulhavy added the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships title to his list of international titles when he powered to an emphatic win at a sun soaked Cascades MTB Park on Sunday.

Kulhavy was satisfied with the way his race had gone and being able to tick off the marathon world title was something that he was relieved to be able to do and he explained his satisfaction following a disappointing season thus far.

“I am very happy because it was the last title that I didn’t have and really wanted to get.
“Today was a big day for me and I was really satisfied because this season hasn’t been that good for me. I was injured and had a lot of technical problems at cross country races so it was really satisfying to win today.

The race was characterised by the constant changing of positions as the riders jostled for position in an attempt to get close to Kulhavy but the Specialized Racing rider showed good form to stave off the attacks and claim his maiden marathon world championships title.

The chopping and changing resulted in an enthralling race but following a break from the Czech star after the fifth check point and he put the hammer down as the rest of the field were unable to match his power over the second half of the course.

“It all went to plan today even though the race was really hard,” Kulhavy said following his win. “I decided to attack after the fifth feed zone on the downhill and got a minute gap. I pushed hard to the finish after that and didn’t look back.”

Following a slow start second place finisher Alban Lakata patiently manoeuvred his way through the field and established himself at the front of the field towards the end of the race. The Austrian star appreciated the performance from Kulhavy and admitted that the winner was in a class of his own.

“He (Kulhavy) was unbeatable today,” Lakata admitted. “Getting second behind the Olympic champion and ahead of a three-time World Champion, Christoph Sauser, is a great thing for me and I have now got three silver medals and one gold but I am happy about my race today.
“I didn’t have any serious mechanicals besides a twisted chain which only cost me a few seconds so it didn’t make any difference in the end.”

The race had its fair share of drama as defending World Champion Christoph Sauser suffered a substantial mechanical which cost him a chunk of time and effectively ended his bid to defend his title but he proceeded to work his way back up the field to finish in third.

“First of all congratulations to Jaroslav, it was an awesome ride from him and he showed his form at Euro’s two weeks ago.

“It was all good today until the portage section of the course and I was on and off the bike the whole time and when I was carrying my bike and hit a rock with my chain ring and it took me forever to get it back working,” Sauser explained.

The South African charge was led by two-time South African marathon champion James Reid who ended 17th overall when he crossed the line ahead of fellow South African star Rourke Croeser. Reid was quick to describe the challenge of racing against the best riders in the world.

“It was brutal out there; it was a straight out sufferfest from the gun. I didn’t have a great grid position but I managed to get into the top 10 in the first three kilometres which was about the highlight.
“The guys in the top 10 are in a different league and if you try and go with them you are going to be a firework, which I just avoided,” a relieved Reid mentioned.

Taking part in a world class event on home soil was something that Reid knew was going to work in his favour and having raced the national championships at the same venue a few weeks prior to Sunday he had a good idea of what to expect.

“It wasn’t the most ideal build up but considering we raced this track two weeks ago it was solid.

“The best way to describe would be a cross country race of 90 minutes with three hours bolted onto the end, that’s how hard these guys go out at the start,” the Trek SA rider added.

 

Summary of Results – UCI MTB Marathon World Championships

Men
1. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 4:15:58
2. Alban Lakata (Aut) 4:19:16 +05:26
3. Christoph Sauser (Sui) 4:20:11 +04:13
4. Urs Huber (Sui) 4:22:56 +06:57
5. Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) 4:23:26 +07:27
6. Bartlomiej Wawak (Pol) 4:23:39 +07:40
7. Roel Paulissen (Bel) 4:24:06 +08:07
8. Robert Mennen (Ger) 4:25:45 +09:46
9. Ilias Periklis (Gre) 4:26:56 +10:57
10. Moritz Malitz (Ger) 4:27:10 +11:11
11. Jiri Novak (Cze) 4:29:35 +13:36
12. Tiago Jorge Oliviera (Por) 4:30:26 +14:27
13. Fredrik Ericsson (Swe) 4:31:27 +15:28
14. Tony Longo (Ita) 4:32:01 +16:03
15. Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) 4:32:39 +16:40
16. Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Col) 4:33:22 +17:23
17. James Reid (RSA) 4:34:09 +18:10
18. Rourke Croeser (RSA) 4:34:53 +18:54
19. Stephan Sahm (Ger) 4:34:53 +18:54
20. Cory Wallace (Can) 4:35:26 +19:27

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The Marathon Course

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the fact that large portions of the course is on private land, courses are not open to be ridden outside of official practice times and these will be indicated in the official programme released by the UCI.

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The 2014 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships is split up into two loops, a 74km and a 21km loop. The women race only the 74km loop while the men do both loops, totally 95km.

The first, 74km loop is a scenic section which sees riders head over a variety of surfaces and through numerous different ecosystems.

The second, 21km loop is similar to cross country riding as it has numerous short descents – no longer than 1000m long each – while the climbs are short, sharp and frequent.

The start/finish line at Cascades is in the same place as it was on the cross country course at this year’s World Cup in April.

The riders head up the start/finish straight towards the base of Red Face Hill. Just before they get to the base they turn right, past the bottom of Rapid Rocks rock garden, over the bottom of the World Cup downhill finish area and onto a forest road.

The course’s first 7km contour through Cascades’ forests and has a couple of 200-300m stretches of single track as well as some short, sharp climbs – each about 250m long – and eventually brings the riders to the first feed/tech zone.

After the first feed/tech zone the riders cross over Nonsuch Road, head into Queen Elizabeth Park and climb for 800-1000m before going through the Queen Elizabeth Park nursery which sees the riders get to the start of the first long climb of the course. This climb takes riders through a private farm and into Mt. Verde.

Inside Mt. Verde, riders reach the second feed/tech zone and then face the first real downhill which heads through a few valleys to the Mt. Verde exit point and up the biggest climb of the course thus far, up through a private farm, onto the D494 and to feed/tech zone 3.

After feed/tech zone 3 riders start a long descent down to feed/tech zone 4 and on towards Hilton College Estate. Riders have a short portage into the Hilton College Estate before they get onto the game trails of the Hilton College Nature Reserve.

The course then winds down to the bottom of the valley and riders head into Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve which brings one of the biggest climbs of the course and sees the riders make their way out of the valley.

After exiting Hilton College, riders go into another private farm and through to feed/tech zone 5.

After feed/tech zone 5 riders go over the D494 again, into another private farm and back into Mt. Verde’s reserve where they wind their way down to the bottom of Mt. Verde’s reserve to another of the day’s bigger climbs .

The end of the climb starts a section of contour riding around to Otto’s Bluff before some farm track, forest track and single track takes riders through to feed/tech zone 6.

Some more farm and forest track leads to the World Cup downhill course start where riders go through the downhill start gate and do a loop through to the Hilltop trail .

From the Hilltop trail the course heads past the Umgeni Water waterworks, onto Warwick Road and through to feed/tech zone 7.

Between feed/ tech zone 7 and the start/finish line is the single track Hairpin Descent and Brian’s Gums before riders head into the dual track above the Amphitheatre, go under the crossover bridge used in the World Cup cross country course and back towards the start/finish line where the women finish and the men begin the second, 21km loop.

• 2nd loop: 20 km

Once through the start/finish line – completing the first 74km loop – the men head back out towards Red Face Hill to begin the second, 21km loop.

After the same first 500m as loop one, the men turn right, go under the crossover bridge, head up the World Cup cross country track for 800m and go up English road single track.

This is followed by a climb up to Forgotten Trail, Blackjack Socks, Muzzlehout and then Fast and Fluffy single track before riders descend down to an extraction road, climb up to above Muzzlehout, descend down Bandits Bend, head through Vandals Valley, Growing Parks, under two bridges and around the back of Sheraton.

As the men make their way through the final stages of the race there is a 1.5km forest road stretch before a short section of single track and the final section into the home straight.

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The UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships 2014

Thank you!

Thank you for being part of the hugely successful UCI MTB Marathon World Champs at the Cascades MTB Park. We look forward to seeing you here again soon.
 Congratulations to our champions Jaroslav Kulhavy and Annika Langvad!!