At the XC World Cup in South Africa, three reigning European champions stood at the top of the podium in Pietermaritzburg and pointed out what St. Wendel expects from June 5th to 8th at the XC European Championships. Because this year's European Championship is home to what is probably the strongest field of drivers for a long time.
Frenchman Julien Absalon celebrated his 28th World Cup victory last weekend in Cairns and further improved his record. The reigning European Champion also stated that he only wanted to be in top form at the end of May, before the World Cups in Nove Mesto and Albstadt and then for the European Championships in St. Wendel.
Absalon led a list of results that only saw the first non-European in ninth place, Australian Daniel McConnell, raising expectations of the European Championships. Quite gratifying from a German point of view: Manuel Fumic from Kirchheim came second and thus raised hopes that a German could also be involved in the fight for the medals on June 8th. Like in 2001, when his brother Lado Fumic won bronze at the European Championships in Saarland. The German champion Moritz Milatz retired in Pietermaritzburg after a serious fall, but was spared major injuries.
Even in the ranks of the women there is - at least - a beacon of hope. Its name is now well known and it has repeatedly left its mark in St. Wendel. For example in 2008 as European champion. Sabine Spitz finished sixth from a bad starting position. The South Baden native once again managed to build up the season splendidly and that she wants to get closer to the medal ranks in the coming weeks, that's also clear.
Eight Europeans were also ahead in the women's category. Right at the top was Jolanda Neff from Switzerland, a rider who will be seen in the U23 race in St. Wendel. The 21-year-old super talent, who was already U2012 European Champion in 23, relegated Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa, who was almost twice her age, to second place. The Norwegian is a record winner at the European Championships with six elite titles.