Women Cross-Country : China took victory and leader jersey

Putting in a sensational finish, Ren Chengyuan took out her second consecutive win at Houffalize. Even the World Champion, Topeak Ergon rider Erina Kalentieva (2nd) and Marie Helène Prémont (3rd) were powerless in the face of Chengyuan’s fiery finish.

With just four months left until the Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese contingent once again proved that they will be in the running for an Olympic podium. One year ago at Houffalize, Ren Chengyuan took out a first World Cup victory for her country. Yesterday, the former Under-23 World Champion (in 2006) once again made a huge impression.

But it was not all plain sailing as the competition was tough from the outset… At the beginning of the race Margarita Fullana (ESP) took the lead without making a significant break. The Spanish rider holds the record for victories at Houffalize (from 1999 to 2002) and appeared set to add a fifth victory to her name.

However, for her first race with the rainbow jersey the Russian Irina Kalentieva succeeded in taking over the lead after several kilometers. With the Canadian Champion Marie Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain) also in the battle for the podium, the competition for victory was intense.

But Ren Chengyuan was not to be overwhelmed by the experienced field. Ill at ease on muddy territory, she found a second wind and began to fight her way back.

“I tried to hang on but could do nothing,” said Marie Hélène Prémont at the finish. Margarita Fullana finally finished fourth, while Georgia Gould (Luna MTB Women’s team) surprised by taking fifth place.

In Offenburg next weekend, last year’s winner Irina Kaentieva, who lives some of the year in Germany, will be the one to watch.


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