UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships: Lakata after five years
A different venue, a different atmosphere. Five years after his win on the rapid circuit in Saint Wendel (Germany), Alban Lakata claims victory on a mountainous course of 87km with 4700 metres of climbing.
Two days after his 36th birthday, the solid Austrian from Lienz offered himself a belated present: the rainbow jersey. He finished the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in 4h24’46”. Having imposed his rhythm in the first climb, the athlete confided: “I saw the others weren’t following.”
The reigning champion, Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavy, pulled out. He will be at the start of the third Olympic cross-country round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano in Lenzerheide, (Switzerland) next weekend.
This Italian race marked the end of Christoph Sauser’s career. Crossing the finish line 2’07” behind the winner, he bows out in style with the silver medal. “I would have had to be having a great day to beat Lakata today,” admitted Sauser. Between 1993, when he first participated in the World Championships as a Junior in the downhill and 2015, the Swiss has built up one of the most impressive mountain bike palmares with one victory in Olympic cross-country and three in the marathon. Sauser won his seventh medal in Val Gardena, and is one of the most successful athletes in the history of long distance mountain bike.
At ease in the climbs, the Colombian Leonardo Paez occupies the third step of the podium, 2’15” behind the winner.
Women: Gunn Rita Dahle explodes the records
As was expected, it came down to a Nordic battle. The Norwegian Gunn Rita Dahle and Denmark’s Annika Langvad (reigning champion) were the favourites for the title of 2015 UCI World Champion. The battle went in favour of the more experienced of the two athletes. At 42 years old, Gunn Rita Dahle has become the oldest mountain bike athlete to claim the rainbow jersey. Her latest victory is her 10th world title as an Elite rider. A record! The 2004 XCO Olympic Champion finished 3’18” ahead of her rival.
At 31 years of age, Langvad is easily the youngest on the podium next to Gunn Rita Dahle and third placed Sabine Spitz who, at 43 finished 9’30” behind the winner.
With Austria, Switzerland, Colombia, Norway, Denmark and Germany, six different nations shared the medals.
Next year, the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships will take place in Laissac, France, on June 25 and 26.