March 15, 2008 – The 2008 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano kicks off this weekend in sunny Manavgat, Turkey. A total of 120 Elite riders are entered for the first marathon event, which will follow a 90km circuit along the foothills of the tourist city.
All the specialists will be at the start line on Sunday, March 16th: the winner of the 2007 World Cup,Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi), Alban Lakata (Dolphin-Trek Mountain Bike Racing Team), Marzio Deho and also Julio Carlo Da Silva (Gewiss Bianchi). It is also worth mentioning the presence of Miguel Martinez, the 2000 Olympic Champion and multiple World Champion.
In the women’s competition, the 2007 World Cup winner, Pia Sunstedt (Sweden), is definitely the favourite. Only the Austrian Fabienne Heinzmann (Dolphin-Trek Mountain Bike Racing Team) and the Swiss rider Esther SÃ¼ss appear capable of providing her with serious competition.
The riders’ aim is clear: win the first World Cup of the season, receive the new leader’s jersey and above all win points that are important for the overall victory of the Marathon World Cup.
This year, the World Cup consists of two legs, Manavgat and Ornans. This competition in France will close the season on October 5th 2008.
The winners of the World Cup in Manavgat will have the honour of wearing the new leader’s jersey. For the first time, the leader’s jerseys are identical for all the disciplines — Olympic cross-country, marathon, downhill and four-cross.
Thomas Dietsch: World Cup Marathon Victory Leaves its Mark
Before the first Marathon World Cup this week-end in Manavgat (Turkey), the French rider, number one in UCI ranking, talks about his ambitions.
You have just started you season with an 11th place in the Italy Cup, in Brescia. Was it a surprise?
Thomas Dietsch: Quite honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. It’s given me confidence. We had just completed a heavy week’s training with the Bianchi team, in Terracina (close to Milan), and I didn’t receive a favourable race bib. I’m happy, event if 11th place in the Italy Cup is nothing to get over-excited about. You have to keep things in perspective.
When Leonardo Paez signed with Bianchi, we heard that the Colombian rider would be focusing on marathon racing this year. What’s the true story?
TD: Leonardo is with me in Turkey. He will ride in marathon this season and, also in cross-country with the Olympics his main objective. It’s true that in the past, nobody in the team had the same objectives as me. I am fairly solitary in my preparation so all this is new for me. But I saw the positive side when we went over the course. Several of us were able to ride together, which hardly ever happened before.
The World Cup starts this weekend in Turkey. How are you going into this event?
TD: It’s a bit stressful. This year, the marathon World Cup consists of only two races, so no mistakes are allowed. Winning a world cup leaves its mark. It’s pretty good on a CV! Last year, even though I was very proud to win the Cristalp raid, Verbier-Grimentz, my World Cup victory probably left more of a mark. My bronze medal at the World Championships in Belgium, with all my friends and my wife watching, will also remain a unique experience.