The Belgian Ruben Scheire surprisingly won the start of the International KMC MTB Bundesliga in Saalhausen. He left Simon Stiebjahn and Manuel Fumic behind. Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa benefited from a defect in Sabine Spitz when she won on muddy ground. Their Haibike teammate Adelheid Morath was third.
Ruben Scheire von Feenstra-Felt had not at all expected to win on German territory. The Belgian, who was in the elite class in his first year, was particularly impressive on the steep climbs. At the same time, he benefited from some technical problems at Manuel Fumic. After the first lap, the vice world champion had pulled away together with sprint champion Simon Stiebjahn and went into the second of five laps 23 seconds ahead of Scheire. With his strength on the mountain, he caught up with the two leaders. Stiebjahn lost the connection, but when Fumic had to let Scheire go because of a jammed chain, the two Germans became pursuers together.
But Scheire sought salvation in flight. “When I saw that it was 20 seconds, I just kept going. I felt great but I never expected to beat Manuel. He's one of my idols. It's incredible", Scheiche explained.
Manuel Fumic was a bit annoyed at the finish. “Once the tape got caught in the back of the gearshift, the other time I had a chain jam. Then I slipped a few, like others probably do in these conditions. Somehow it was a race full of inconsistencies”, explained Fumic about his third place, 1:25 minutes behind Scheire (+1:25:25). "Actually, I felt good and I'm confident that everything will work out for the World Cups and the European Championships in St. Wendel.", he said and added: “I'm happy that young people like Simon Stiebjahn can also drive up front. I'm happy when the boys drive fast."
The man in question recorded his best-ever Bundesliga placement in the elite and, after the sprint title, had an extraordinary weekend. "When I was left behind, I just stayed calm. I had nothing to lose. I was certainly not completely fresh, but the start went well anyway. In the end I knew I couldn't win anything against Mani in downhill, I had to do it in the sprint.", commented Stiebjahn.
He then managed to surprise Kirchheimer with 200 meters to go and secured second place (+1:13). The Dutchman Hans Becking finished fourth (+1:57) after a strong race to catch up, while another Belgian, Robby de Bock (+2:15), took fifth place on the podium, eight seconds ahead of sprint runner-up Markus Bauer Lexware Mountain Bike Team.
Co-favorite Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa prevailed in the women's category. However, the race took a somewhat unusual course. The Norwegian from Multivan-Merida drove away on the first of four laps together with Swede Alexandra Engen. The duo went into the second lap with a lead of 25 seconds, but sprint world champion Engen had to give up immediately and was passed by Sabine Spitz and Adelheid Morath on the first long climb. Morath was strong on the mountain, but she kept losing time on the muddy ground.
Dahle-Flesjaa was able to extend her lead to 45 seconds halfway through the distance. But then the most successful mountain biker of all time made mistakes, "stupid mistakes"as she said herself. Sabine Spitz managed to reduce the gap massively in the third lap and at the beginning of the fourth lap she passed her old rival. But Dahle-Flesjaa didn't let himself be left behind. The decision was then made when Sabine Spitz's saddle first loosened and then gave up completely before the last descent. The German champion had to tackle the downhill on foot and Dahle-Flesjaa was able to pass.
Sabine Spitz had a new saddle fitted in the technical zone, but didn't stand a chance. "It's a shame, but that can happen in our sport. I had my problems at the beginning with the steep meadow climb, I would have liked to have had a lower gear. It was important to drive with an eye today and to get the right line so that you have traction.", explained Sabine Spitz.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa had expected that Sabine Spitz would compete with her bareback for victory. "It wasn't far and I didn't have anything left in the tank either", said the 41-year-old. she be "not in a great mood" been, she said. “I've trained a lot and hard and now I need a weekend rest so I can be in top form for the World Cup in Nove Mesto. She won by 31 seconds. Adelheid Morath (+1:19) could not keep up with the two competitors in the technically difficult passages, but was satisfied with her result. “Sabine and Gunn-Rita are a good benchmark. I made a lot of mistakes, but the track with its super steep climbs actually suits me.", commented Morath.
The Belgian champion Githa Michiels actually loves mud races, but not steep climbs. She finished fourth, 2:34 apart. “I'm very satisfied because the profile doesn't really suit me. But if you're in good shape, that's probably possible too.", she said laughing. Alexandra Engen finished fifth, 6:24 minutes behind.
The complete list of results can be found here.[Link]