Specialized's JAROSLAV KULHAVY continued his winning ways in Val di Sole, Italy, with his second World Cup win in as many weeks. He led Specialized's men's cross country World Cup team the top team ranking while LEA DAVISON logged a career-best sixth place finish in the women's cross country race.
Despite Kulhavy not particularly liking the course with its sawtooth profile and super steep climbs, the Czech racer took what was his fifth of seven possible World Cup wins this season. He formally collected the World Cup overall title, although he had mathematically clinched the victory last weekend.
Kulhavy had company at the front for this round: Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel. The trio led the race through the first four laps, but on the fifth lap Kulhavy and Schurter were left alone at the front. It came down to a sprint finish, something Schurter has shown he can do well several times against Julien Absalon, but it was Kulhavy's day, and the Czech powerhouse claimed the victory.
"I am very satisfied with the race. It was impressive - an incredible finish with Schurter because he is a good sprinter," said Kulhavy who stopped the clock at 1:25:08. "I was surprised to win this race. It was the first time I sprinted against Schurter. I hope to do so never again!" he said by way of complimenting his opponent.
Sauser has proven himself in Val di Sole previously and must have been thinking of his 2008 world championship victory at this venue as he raced to an eighth place finish, 2:51 behind Kulhavy. At the end of the start lap, he was in 19th, but worked his way up throughout.
Next to finish for the team was recently crowned Leadville 100 champion TODD WELLS. The American was fresh off that victory, but his legs were not feeling so fresh as he clearly suffered the effects of the previous weekend's win. Nonetheless, he put in another solid World Cup ride to finish 17th, 4:06 behind Kulhavy.
Stander rounded out the team's performance with a 23rd place at 5:48 after a