Houffalize World Cup: Kalentieva close to the podium
The Houffalize World Cup in Belgium saw Irina Kalentieva narrowly miss a place on the podium. Kurschat finished 31st, Mennen 49th and Lakata was 54th.
The performance of the Topeak Ergon Racing team this last Sunday in Belgium was varied. Irina Kalentieva showed her strength, finishing just outside of the top five — showing she is on course for the Olympic year. Also riding well, Wolfram Kurschat had high hopes, but finished 31st on the day. Robert Mennen continued to show strength for someone still relatively young, taking 49th place, while Lakata finished in 54th.
Irina Kalentieva found the new, demanding 5.3km long course to her taste. The new switchbacks before the start&-finish straight being a particular highlight — it was steep, and technical, but actually not that demanding. In other places the course was full of short, demanding sections, which robbed athletes of energy and required a lot of concentration.
“I would have liked to have made it to the podium today, but I only had 6th place in me. I am pleased though. I rode a good race“, the two&ndashtime World Champion said. “During the race, there was a descent which slowed it all down for those behind — everyone was on the brakes, so those ahead could create a gap“, proving once again how critical it is to be right at the front. By the end of the race she was getting closer to them, and with another lap perhaps 5th place would have been possible.
For Wolfram Kurschat the race didn’t go according to plan, despite a good start. He had hoped to secure his qualification for the Olympic Games which would have required a top 15 finish. “Sure, it is a shame“, he said following the race, “it was a good start for me.“ 50th position was the place into the first corner, and as is Kurschat?s fashion, a lap by lap forward march began. This worked, and after three laps, he was around 20th, but then found that he was feeling the efforts he had made.
“It was the cold. You don?t think about taking on as much fluid if it is cold, and I didn’t. Sooner or later it catches up with you and you lose power“ he said of the race. Nevertheless, Wolfram smiled and spoke of looking forward to the next World Cup, taking place on the 13th May in the Czech Republic. “For one, I have a better start position there, and also there are some long climbs — good for reeling people in!“
Robert Mennen and Alban Lakata had also hoped for better results, however with only about 2 weeks having passed since Cape Epic in South Africa, they weren’t too disappointed, as it takes a while to recover from such a hard stage race.
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