NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

1 win, 1 second place, 1 fourth place:  Irina Kalentieva wins in Russia, Alban Lakata takes second in Austria and Robert Mennen shows his strength, finishing fourth in Germany.

The past weekend saw National Championship races taking place in a large number of countries. Kalentieva was in her home town of Cheboksary, Lakata in the town of Haiming im Oetztal in Austria and Robert Mennen in Bad Salzdetfurth in Germany. Sitting the races out in Germany and the United Kingdom, both Wolfram Kurchat and Sally Bigham were injured.

The Russian Championship took place despite record temperatures. At 38 degrees Celcius (100 F) Irina started the race as the defending champion – and a local hero, being in her home town. The start saw Irina taking the bull by the horns. She took the lead, built a gap and finished the proud owner of her 8th National Champion’s Title. “It was a good race for me. The heat didn’t make it easy, but having my family there supporting me helped massively” Ira said following the race.
Alban Lakata was part of an exciting dual which lead to an exciting title race. Christop Soukup (Merida Biking Team) was riding hard with something to prove. As the laps passed, there was only seconds between them, and in the final lap it was only 10 seconds separating them. Lakata took second “Today it was very close. I am happy with second place. I specialise in endurance events, so to see that my form is so good for XC is great – I am surprised.”

At the German Championship in Bad Salzdetfurth, Robert Mennen repeated his fourth place from last year. The start saw the 25 year old in eighth position, but he worked his way forward, place for place. After riding for 1:55:52 Robert had unfortunately only made it up to fourth place. “It is a shame. I wanted to better my result from last year. Don’t misunderstand, I am pleased with my performance, but feel I was so close to the podium.”

Injuries saw Wolfram Kurschat unable to defend his Champion’s jersey. Suffering with two broken ribs the father of three had to follow the race from his sofa. Sally Bigham was also suffering with a heavy cold, and therefore was unable to race at the British Nationals.

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