3.5.2009 Hoping to build on last week's results at World Cup Round 2, both of the Flueckiger brothers started today full of hope, but knowing that Houffalize, a classic of 13 years, can be a tough track and hand out some mixed results for the leading riders. Today was no exception.
Mathias struggled on the very steep and fast start and saw his start position of 10th, quickly become 50th as he swallowed by a large field of sprinters. His position on track dropped dramatically as he battled to recover from the anaerobic start and eventually withdrew on lap 2. Lukas had a solid start and sat in the top 12 for the first three laps until a mechanical problem saw him drop more than 80 positions, before recovering on the final lap.
Lukas said: "That's racing I guess. I had really good legs for the first part of the race and was quite happy sitting around 10th place, but after the 3rd lap I had a mechanical problem with my chainring, and I needed to stop quite a bit. I had it adjusted in the technical zone on lap 4 and after that I was able to pull back a lot of positions. I was way down in 96th place at one point so to get back to 35th makes me feel a little better."
Mathias: "The start here in Houffalize is brutal. The UCI keep us on the line for so long for nothing and so you lose all of your warm up and start nearly cold, on a steep climb and sprint pace. So many riders passed me that I was back in 72nd position after the start loop. Then I found it impossible to recover. My body was aching and the breathing was really bad. I knew I wasn't going to recover from this position, and I thought it was better to save the legs for another day once I was out of the top 100. Not a day remember."
A video release of the event will be post on the team web site by mid next week:
TWR's other team rider Liam Killeen has been receiving treatment for his back this week, and is very hopeful of joining the team for next World Cup.
The riders take a small break now before the 4th round of the XC World Cup which will take place in Madrid, Spain, on the 24th of May.
1. Julien Absalon (FRA) – 1hr 51m 34secs
2. Wolfram Kurschat (GER) - +15secs
3. Ralph Naef (SUI) - + 52secs
4. Burry Stander (RSA) - + 1m 15secs
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) - + 1m 26secs
35. Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) - + 7m 55secs
1. Julien Absalon (FRA) – 700 pts
2. Wolfram Kurschat (GER) – 540 pts
3. Burry Stander (RSA) – 460 pts
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – 420 pts
5. Jose Hermida (ESP) – 380 pts
9. Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) – 276 pts