Winner of every single edition of the European Championships since 2013, Julien Absalon defended his title in a very convincing manner in Huksvarna, Sweden.
Julien Absalon added a new number to his Palmarés yesterday by winning the European Championships for the fifth time (2006, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016). A race close to his heart and the BMC MTB Racing Team, the European Championships were held two and a half months earlier than usual because of the Olympic Games. For this reason the Elite field taking part was somewhat reduced. “This year, the race is taking place between the World Cups of Cairns, Albtstadt and La Bresse so it is very difficult to perform at the four events” said Absalon to explain the absence of his main World Cup competitors. “It is an important race to me. I’ve won all European Championships since I have been with BMC so I was keen to keep this result consistent!”
The clear favorite going into the race, Absalon knew the main competition would come from his teammates on the French National Team, with Maxime Marotte in particular a strong force, and the Swiss National Team containing hsi four BMC team mates among others. But in the end, the leader of the UCI Ranking didn’t have any rivals. He rode his own race, crossing the line 1’41’’ in front of Fabian Giger from Switzerland and Ondrej Cink from Czech Republic.
Starting at the back of the field with bib number 53, Martin Fanger fought his way up through the field to take a superb fourth place 14 seconds behind the bronze medalist Cink (CZE). “It was a tough race but the steep climb meant I could pass a bunch of riders on every lap” explained Fanger. “I am happy with my result and the UCI points I gathered today. They’ll help me to get a better start position for the next races”.
Lukas Flückiger Racing for Bronze
Despite bad legs, Lukas Flückiger managed to fight at the front of the race and was sitting in third, looking good for the bronze medal with half a lap to go. Unfortunately, he crashed in the fast downhill of the race and was passed by a few riders. He ended up in seventh place. The BMC MTB Racing Team will reunite again in two weeks for the second round of the UCI MTB World Cup in Albstadt, Germany.
1. Julien Absalon (FRA) 1:35’34’’
2. Fabian Giger (SUI) +1’41’’
3. Ondrej Cink (CZE) +2’23’’
4. Martin Fanger (SUI) +2’37’’
7. Lukas Flückiger +3’52’’
12. Reto Indergand +4‘33‘‘
31.Lars Forster +9‘35‘‘
Photos: Armin Küstenbrück / EGO Promotion
Credits: BMC Switzerland