IRINA TAKES SILVER
This weekend saw the European Championships for XC taking place in Zoetermeer, Holland. For many the even was a wash out, offering muddy conditions which challenged everyone there, riders and spectators alike. For the Russian, however, it was a chance to shine.
On a course that resembled more a Cyclocross loop, more than a mountain bike course, the former World Champion started the race in a big group, riding at the front of the field. The curvy and in places, brutally steep course invited many attacks, and Kalentieva found herself in seventh position as the race got underway. “I was able to push forward from there, it was a good place to be” she said, following the race. By the fifth of six laps, she had made her way into second place behind Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska, and although gold was out of her grasp, the twelve second cushion that she had over Sabine Spitz showed the strength on the day.
“For me, it is about going in the right direction. Let’s hope that it is a sign of things to come.”
Robert Mennen’s race went differently to the way that he suspected it would, for the better. The light drizzle at the start was less than ideal, but Mennen was able to work his way forward. “Conditions were poor, but the bike functioned perfectly, and on the day that has a lot to do with it” Robert said, paying tribute to the support team.
With a race such as the European Championships, the 80% rule often comes into play. For the 24 year old this meant 53rd place after 3 laps, but the highest placed German. He is convinced that given the chance to continuing riding, that a finish inside the top 50 would have been possible.