August 22, 2006 (Rotorua, New Zealand) – Slovenia has claimed its first ever gold medal at the World MTB Championships thanks to Tanja Zakelj’s win in the Junior Women’s cross country event. A total of 25 riders lined up under sunny skies today for the 3-lap, 17.9 km race. A cold, dry night had left a light frost on some of the shaded sections of the course, while the rest of the route was quite muddy.
From the start France’s Julie Krasniak rode away from the rest of the field, opening a 30-second gap over Zakelj at the top of the first climb, with Sweden’s Alexandra Engen following in third. By the end of the first lap Zakelj had closed much of the gap.
At the top of climb on the second lap Krasniak was leading by a small margin over Zakelj. A steady stream of riders followed, led by Katarzyna Solus of Poland and Nadja Roschi of Switzerland. Emily Batty reached the top in 13th followed by Alexandra Gelinas-Hamelin in 18th.
After passing Krasniak at the end of lap 2, Zakelj opened a 10-second gap by the top of the climb on the third and final lap. Roschi looked very strong moving up into third, 45 seconds behind the leader.
An overjoyed Tanja Zakelj rolled across the finish line 23 seconds ahead of Julie Krasniak to claim the largest win of her career. Switzerland added another medal to their count as Nadja Roschi claimed the bronze finishing 1:13 off the pace.
Brooklin, Ontario’s Emily Batty crossed the finish in 14th position, 12 minutes down, while Quebec’s Alexandra Gelinas-Hamelin finished 20th, 20 minutes back.
Batty said, “Generally I was happy with my race. I felt good today and couldn’t go any faster. But I would have liked to be closer to the top ten.” She said she expected a fast start and allowed herself to settle into her own rhythm, adding that she also liked the course, particularly how fast it dried.
Results – 17.9 kms
1 Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia) 1.18.23 (13.70 km/h)
2 Julie Krasniak (France) 0.23
3 Nadja Roschi (Switzerland) 1.13
4 Katarzyna Solus (Poland) 1.57
5 Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) 2.49
6 Katharina Haase (Germany) 4.29
7 Marta Sulek (Poland) 5.16
8 Amy Thompson (Great Britain) 5.25
9 Alexandra Engen (Sweden) 6.23
10 Ilke Dejongh (Belgium) 7.27
11 Vera Andreeva (Russian Federation) 7.55
12 Janine Droz (Switzerland) 8.17
13 Stefanie Andris (Germany) 11.31
14 Emily Batty (Canada) 12.03
15 Ines Thoma (Germany) 13.09
16 Monique Avery (New Zealand) 14.20
17 Paula Quiroz (Argentina) 14.38
18 Heletje Van Staden (Namibia) 18.23
19 Rachel Throop (United States Of America) 19.41
20 Alexandra Gelinas-Hamelin (Canada) 20.48
21 Danae York (United States Of America) 22.03
22 Stephanie White (United States Of America) 26.51
23 Katherine O’Neil (New Zealand) 31.38
Two laps behind
24 Hayley Robertson (New Zealand)