April 1, 2006 (CuraÃ§ao, Dutch Antilles) – The World Cup cross-country mountain bike season opener was up for grabs, with the planet’s top men in attendance, including 2005 MTB Worlds Champion Julien Absalon (FRA, Bianchi Agos), 2005 MTB World Cup Series winner Christoph Sauser (SUI, Specialized) and former World MTB Champion Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL, Groep Versluys-Sportstech-Landbouwkrediet), who is fresh off a two-year doping suspension. Canada’s top pro, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) was also considered a potent threat, due to his super season last year, which included two World Cup podiums.
But it was mountain bike legend Bart Brentjens (NED, Giant) who proved strongest on the day, forging through intense humidity and top level competition to take the win. Absalon couldn’t match the pace of the flying Dutchman, and had to be content with second place. Liam Killeen (GBR, Specialized) took third spot in the dusty five-lap race, which was shortened due to the crippling heat.
Seamus McGrath (CAN, Felt) rode to the best Canadian result with an impressive ninth place. Mathieu Toulouse (CAN, Maxxis) was 48th, Marty Lazarski (CAN, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) finished 68th and Kabush abandoned.
Results 5 laps, 34K
1. Bart Brentjens (NED, Giant) 1:48:52
2. Julien Absalon (FRA, Bianchi Agos) at 0:21
3. Liam Killeen (GBR, Specialized) 0:28
4. Roel Paulissen (BEL, Giant) 0:45
5. Christoph Sauser (SUI, Specialized) 1:28
6. Ralph Naf (SUI, Multivan-Merida) 1:35
7. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE, Cannondale-Vredestein) 1:54
8. Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (ESP, Multivan-Merida) 2:57
9. Seamus McGrath (CAN, Felt) 3:13
10. Florian Vogel (SUI, Swisspower) 3:54
48. Mathieu Toulouse (CAN, Maxxis) 11:43
68. Marty Lazarski (CAN, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) 16:40
DNF Geoff Kabush (CAN, Maxxis)