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First big victory at the international level for Moritz Milatz and his BMC Mountainbike Racing Team  Photo: A. Küstenbrück
First big victory at the international level for Moritz Milatz and his BMC Mountainbike Racing Team Photo: A. Küstenbrück

BMC Mountainbike Racing Team - Roc d’Azur: Victory for Moritz Milatz / Farewell for Balz Weber

9. October 2011

Fréjus, Frankreich

The last day of the Roc d'Azur 2011 was very special for BMC Mountainbike Racing Team. It was the last race of the team's inaugural season and brought the team's first prestigious victory in the sport of mountainbiking: German double Champion Moritz Milatz won the men's cross country race of Europe's largest off-road cycling event - the Roc d'Azur in Fréjus (France). Another reason to sadly celebrate and open up a bottle of champagne or two at the finish line was Balz Weber's farewell from professional cycling.

Running for first big win

"That was a great race for us today. To come out with a win and another top 10 finish is great promotion for BMC", summed up sports director Alex Moos. "Everybody on the team did really well", he added. The riders had little time or energy to enjoy the breath-taking Mediterranean scenery in Nice's backyard. There was also no time to take a quick bath in the ocean when the racecourse led through the sand on the beach of St.-Aygulf. Instead, former runner and BMC's team captain Moritz Milatz used the adverse conditions to make use of his superior running skills: "Christoph Sauser gained 10 seconds on me on a single trail section in the final 15km of the race. I could only close part of the gap when we hit the beach." On the final flat kilometres of pavement Milatz was able to suck up to the world marathon champion's wheel. "I knew I should be able to beat Christoph in the sprint so I stayed in his windshield until about 100 meters to go on the homestretch", explained the German his winning tactics.

A rusty start

The race started out rusty for Milatz: "I was so tired in the end of the marathon race Friday so I decided not to warm up today. Hence, I needed some time to get into my rhythm. Once I was in it, I felt very strong on the climbs". The start of the 2350m of climbing spread across 58 kilometers of racing was fast. Furious were the technical descents on dry Southern France dirt that exploded to clouds of dust once the world's best mountainbikers crossed it. It was like riding into the unknown. Milatz took his consequences: "I took the descents quite cautiously. You could neither see the ground or the rider in front of you". His strategy was smart. He did not crash. "The descents were quite hard for me once again because I do not have the kind of handling skills some other riders have", reflected former road cyclist Alex Moos, and resumed "I am very happy with my two 8th places this weekend here at the Roc d'Azur".

Happy end to an inaugural season

A group of 8 riders separated themselves from the field in the beginning. It included both Moritz Milatz and Alex Moos. A steep ascent on gravel busted the group into pieces. Moritz was left with Swiss Sauser (Specialized) and Belgian Champion Sebastian Carabin (Petit Rechain). Hitting the last climb, the Carabin was unable to follow the duo any longer. Gutsy final kilometres of BMC Mountainbike Racing Team's Freiburg-resident sealed the first big international victory of Moritz Milatz and his team. Teammates Julien Tamararcaz, Balz Weber, and Patrik Gallati finished 19th, 25th, and 41st, respectively. What an end to an inaugural season that has pleased its stakeholders!

Good-bye Balz!

The end for BMC Mountainbike Racing Team is temporary. The end for Balz Weber, however, is intended to be of permanent nature. The 30-year-old former World U23 XCO Champion has called an end to his career as professional cyclist. The road has been as rocky for the Swiss citizen as the trails he has been riding on all of his life. He is looking forward to smoother surfaces now. BMC is wishing Balz Weber all the best for the future! It was wonderful to have you on the BMC Mountianbike Racing Team, Balz!

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