Today, Thursday, the time had finally come and the Afxentia stage race started with the traditional time trial. All drivers had to master a 5,7 kilometer route, which was characterized above all by two demanding climbs and pushed some drivers to their limits on the first day. Similar statements were often made on the record: "it hurt so much", Und " it was hard" were just a few of the comments, but give an idea of the effort behind the drivers.
At the end of the day it was the Czech Jan Skarnitzl who won the men's classification. It must be mentioned that he was not on his own bike. This had missed its flight to the sunny island and so the Sram Rubena Trek team rider had to start on a borrowed bike.
"I do not know what to say. I've had good training camps and the Cyprus Sunshine Cup is my first goal of the season. I want to show good form for myself and my sponsors. But it is very special not to ride your own bike”said Skarnitzl. "Tomorrow, I hope, it will be even better with my own Trek bike."
Four seconds behind, he is followed by Scott Odlo team driver Florian Vogel, who wants to work on his form for the rest of the season during the race and is therefore celebrating a good start. Ondrey Cink (Multivan-Merida) completed the podium. Defending champions Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC) and Julian Schelb (Multivan-Merida) finished fourth and fifth.
Manuel Fumic was unable to start due to a cold and flew back to Germany in the morning to recover.
Adelheid Morath was able to gain eleven seconds on second-placed Jolanda Neff and made a promising start to the rest of the competition.
“I felt good and got through well. After various training camps I knew that I was in good shape, but you never know if the body is really ready for racing. I hope for the coming days", commented Morath.
Two-time marathon world champion Annika Langvad follows in third place ahead of Blaza Klemencic and Sabine Spitz.
A 52-kilometer point-to-point race awaits the drivers tomorrow, Friday, with the start and finish in Lefkara.
1. Jan Skarnitzl (Sram Rubena Trek) 13:56.013
2. Florian Vogel (Scott Odlo) +4.004
3. Ondrej Cink (Multivan Merida) +6.553
4. Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC) +7.894
5. Julian Schelb (Multivan Merida) +8.285
1. Adelheid Morath (Haibike Pro) 15:12.343
2. Jolanda Neff (Giant Pro XC) +11.446
3. Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing XC) +12.979
4. Blaza Klemencic (Feenstra Felt Kenda) +24.900
5. Sabine Spitz (Haibike Pro) +41.245
[Photos: EGO Promotion – Armin M. Kuestenbrück and Marius Maasewerd]