This last weekend saw Team Topeak Ergon riders Wolfram Kurschat and Robert Mennen start their cross-country season in Buchs, Switzerland.

While our World Champion, Irina Kalentieva, continues her pre-season training in the Majorcan sun, Wolfram Kurschat and Robert Mennen lined up against an international field to test themselves for the first time in the 2010 season.

The rain had been very heavy through the night, and Sunday morning didn’t see it letting up.  The conditions led to the overall distance for the race being reduced, with 7 instead of 8 laps being on the cards for the athletes.  Even taking this nod in the direction of weather into account, the 4.1km long lap, with 200m of height covered was taxing enough.

Kurschat made a good start and powered off.  At the end of lap one, he was in 7th position.  Mennen started perhaps a little more sedately and was twenty places behind Kurschat at the start of the second lap.  Shortly afterwards, the march forwards began, with Mennen making 9 places good, and Kurschat moving into 3rd behind CFR’s Roel Paulissen (reigning Marathon World Champion) and the young Italian rider Tony Longo (Full Dynamix).

The 5th lap saw Kurschat reel Paulissen in, and then the sort distance to Longo’s wheel was all that needed to be made up.  Unfortunately, the slippery conditions on the decent  – made this impossible.  Kurschat cross the line in second place.  Still a great result.

“It was a good start to the season.  My climbing form was there.  The conditions though today were the deciding factor and I am sure I could have had Longo on the climb, on the decent it wouldn’t have been worth a crash” Kurschat said, alluding to a wound on his arm from a training accident 10 days ago.

Mennen’s race also went well, and he took place after place.  By the finish line, he was in 9th.  “I have the remains of a head cold, and so I took it easy at the start.  I did find a rhythm quickly though, and as a consequence I am really pleased with the 9th place.  It is a good start to a season, and it is nice to put the winter to bed in such a positive way!”


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