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Kulhavy Second, Team on Top

Discussion in 'Specialized' started by I-am-Specialized, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. I-am-Specialized

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    <p>Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing) made the podium with a second place finish at the La Bresse, France round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday afternoon. Team Specialized Racing--including Kulhavy, Christoph Sauser, Burry Stander, Kohei Yamamoto and Todd Wells-- took top honors on the day and defended its place atop the World Cup team rankings.</p><p>
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    Kulhavy got off to a rough start finishing up the first loop in 16th place, but with a strong ride throughout the six-lap race in France, the Czech rider moved up into an eventual second place. He tied his best finish thus far this World Cup season; he was also second last weekend in Nove Mesto, Czech.</p><p>
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    "It was a hard race. I had a bad beginning because I crashed just after the start," said Kulhavy, who was onboard his Specialized S-Works Epic 29er. "I felt very good. Second position shows my shape is getting better and better, and I look forward to the next races in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham." </p><p>
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    While many racers flatted on the technical course, Kulhavy rode confidently on his Specialized S-Works Ground Control 29 x 2.10 front and Renegade 29 x 1.95 rear tires. He used a standard double chainring setup of 39/26 (teeth).</p><p>
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    Reigning world champion and 2011 World Cup winner Kulhavy was up to seventh position by the end of lap 2, fifth by the end of lap three, and third by the end of lap four. On the final lap (of six), he passed Ralph Naef and was closing fast on eventual winner Julien Absalon.</p><p>
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    Kulhavy almost got the win when Absalon went over his bars and crashed on the final descent of the final lap. However, the French man was back in action just in time and held off the charging Kulhavy, who finished just seven seconds after Absalon.</p><p>
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    "I knew that he was cracking and that he crashed. It was really close," said Kulhavy.</p><p>
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    Onboard his Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper hardtail, Christoph Sauser put in a strong ride to finish in sixth place at 2:08. It was a great ride, but not quite as good as Sauser had hoped. Realizing that he will not make the 2012 Swiss Olympic team, Sauser will concentrate instead on the remaining World Cups and will also race the Leadville 100, held on the same weekend as the Olympic Games. </p><p>
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    Although Sauser has been running a single ring up front for many of the World Cups, this time he chose a double with rotor rings of 38 and 26 teeth.</p><p>
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    World Cup contender Burry Stander finished a disappointing 24th place after some bad luck early in the race.</p><p>
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    "I had a good start off the line, leading with one or two other guys. At the top of the first climb on the start loop, I was in about fifth and set up perfectly for the singletrack. As we went into the singletrack, I could see out of the corner of my eye that someone was losing control and he smashed right into me," said Stander, who raced his Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail 29er. He ran an S-Works Fast Trak 29x2.00 tire up front (at 21.5psi) and a Renegade 29x1.95 tire in the rear (at 23psi). His double front ring set-up was a 38/26 (teeth). </p><p>
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    Coming back from 123rd place, Stander knew his chances of regaining the leaders were gone, but had overall World Cup thoughts in mind. "I had to forget about the leaders - that wasn't going to happen. I saved a lot of energy early on when we had to walk a bunch of the climbs. I knew some guys would pop later on and I could get by them. I got up to 24th. That might be important at the end of the season - I had to make sure I got some points. It was disappointing. I had good legs and was hoping for a lot more today."</p><p>
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    Kohei Yamamoto of Japan raced to a solid 29th place at 7:05 on his Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Hardtail with S-Works Fast Trak 29x2.00 front and rear tires at 26psi each. "I'm happy because I got a good start. I tried to move up again and again. I had a crash later in the race and went backwards a bit, but I have a good feeling about this race."</p><p>
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    American Todd Wells had a rough day. "Not only did I not make the Olympic team today, but I died the entire time and just wanted to quit the whole race," said Wells, who competed on his Specialized S-Worksk Epic 29er. "I'm happy that I didn't quit, but other than that, it was just a hard day."</p><p>
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    Wells said the first 10 to 20 seconds of his race comprised the only good part. On the last downhill on the first lap, he managed to flip over his bars going into the roots in front of a crowd. "That unsettled me a bit, and I just started to go backwards. It was an uphill battle from that point on."</p><p>
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    In the World Cup standings after four rounds, Kulhavy is third with 625 points and Stander sits fourth with 568 points. Sauser is 12th (364 points); Yamamoto is 30th (166 points); and Wells is 50th (83 points).</p><p>
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    In the elite women's cross country, Lea Davison finished 16th place, 7:14 after winner Gunn-Rita Dahle Flejsaa. She was the second American across the line.</p><p>
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    "I had a great start and was relieved to get off the pavement since the pavement didn't turn out so well last weekend. I was in top 15 solidly and stayed there throughout the race," said Davison, who celebrated a birthday on Saturday. "I didn't have the oomph I needed to close gaps and go with Georgia [Gould] or Emily [Batty], who came up, and I kind of cramped in the last two laps, so I couldn't dig too much into the red at the end. It was surprisingly hot out there."</p><p>
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    Davison, who raced the Specialized Fate Pro 29er, was surprised by how much traction the technical 4.2km course had. "I came into that last downhill expecting it to be more slick, but it had more grip. I think the junior men dried it out earlier in the day."</p><p>
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    Davison may have been helped by the excellent traction of her S-Works Ground Control 2.10 tire on the front (22psi) and Specialized Fast Trak 2.00 tire on the rear (24psi). She also used a double SRAM/Specialized front ring crankset with 38 and 24 teeth on it.</p><p>
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    "The course was more old school. It just went up and then down, with just a couple of climbs in the middle. It was a different race and a longer race than usual. Usually, that plays to my strength, the longer the race the better."</p><p>
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    "I had a solid race and I'm happy and more relieved that these four Olympic qualifications are over. I have to wait until June 15 for the official selections, but it's looking good, so we'll see." Davison is likely to be one of two women selected for the US Olympic Team headed to London. </p><p>
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    Davison is ranked 18th in the World Cup standings after four rounds.</p>

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    #1 -   Jun 6, 2012

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