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Number 27 and a perfect World Cup start for Julien Absalon

13. April 2014

Pietermaritzburg, RSA

Julien Absalon demonstrates his abilities at the World Cup opener in Pietermaritzburg and increases the number of his World Cup successes to 27. The highly decorated Julien Absalon wins the race in South Africa ahead of German Manuel Fumic and his French compatriot Maxime Marotte, with Lukas Flückiger and Ralph Näf coming twelth and thirteenth.

It was hot, it was dusty, and it was great cross-country racing. Julien Absalon caught up with race leaders Nino Schurter and Manuel Fumic on the second lap. When Absalon launched an attack on lap four, Fumic was not able to stand the pace. So it was down to BMC's European champion Absalon and world champion Schurter once again.

However, right on the following lap Schurter fell behind due to a flat tire. After this incident nobody could stop Julien Absalon from raking in his 27th world cup victory.

„It's a pity that our duel had to end this way. Nobody knows what might have happened. But of course I'm happy to be the winner of the first leg of the world cup series and to be able to take the white jersey with me to Australia. Until May I want to be in top shape", said Absalon, beaming. Now he is only one world cup victory away from the record held by both Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjå and Juli Furtado.

„Of course, this is a great satisfaction after the disappointment at the world championships seven months ago", said Absalon, remembering last September when he suffered broken ribs in Pietermaritzburg.

Due to a heavy crash during training on Saturday, Lukas Flückiger complained about „a lack of body tension" during today's race. „At least I made the best of it", he said.

Starting from 33rd position, Ralph Näf managed to ride up to 13th position. „On the last two laps I almost felt so dead. All I could do was to fight with the last of my strength", said Näf.

Martin Fanger had to surrender his eleventh position due to a mechanical, and Moritz Milatz abandoned the race after a heavy crash.

1. Julien Absalon (Fra)
2. Manuel Fumic (Ger)
3. Maxime Marotte (Fra)
4. Ondrej Cink (Cze)
5. José Hermida (Esp)
6. Nino Schurter (Sui)
12. Lukas Flückiger
13. Ralph Näf
24. Martin Fanger

DNF Moritz Milatz

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