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July 15/07 12:55 pm - Hermida & Spitz Win European Championships

Posted by Editoress on 07/15/07

José Hermida and Sabine Spitz win European MTB championships
Report Courtesy Multivan Merida Team

Spain's José Hermida has won mountain biking's European championships in Gorem, Turkey, with an advantage of more than a minute over France's Julien Absalon and Sweden's Fredrik Kessiakoff. After title wins in 2002 and 2004, this is Hermida's third European championship title and a confirmation that he currently might well be the only rider capable of beating Julien Absalon.

Hermida showed a blistering pace right from the start, allowing him to dive into the tight and twisting downhill sections first. Due to excellent bike handling skills, he managed to distance the entire peloton on this first downhill and to build up a substantial lead. «This race developed similarly to the one in Mont Sainte-Anne ˆ where Absalon still managed to pass me though. This time my strategy worked out allthough I was all but sure how well I had been able to recover from Canada's worldcup races», Hermida commented at the finish. At the Canadian worldcup races Hermida had already given some proof of his excellent form. He currently seems to be the only athlete capable of matching World and Olympic champion Julien Absalon's class. This opens interesting perspectives for the World championships due to be held in September: Both Hermida and Absalon are considered as favourites there.

All other riders of the Multivan Merida Biking Team had to refrain from starting at the European championships. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja is at home in Norway, preparing for the season's second half and the World championships after a serious viral infection. Severe cramps in his upper legs after Canada's worldcup races forced Ralph Naf to take a short break. He now focuses on defending his World marathon title. Nina Gohl had to refrain from competing after she had suffered a mysterious lack of power in recent days. She is already under medical treatment, but no diagnosis is known so far. Another rider to forfeit his race was Rober Gehbauer, as he suffered from a 39 degree fever on racing day.

1. Jose Antonio Herminda (ESP), 2:06:42
2. Julien Absalon (FRA), 2:08:17
3. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE), 2:09:20
4. Christoph Sauser (SUI), 2:09:56
5. Florian Vogel (SUI), 2:10:56

1. Sabine Spitz (GER), 1:45:15
2. Irina Kalentieva (RUS), 1:45:37
3. Katerina Nash (CZE), 1:45:58
4. Petra Henzi (SUI), 1:46:40
5. Blaza Klemencic (SLO), 1:47:22


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