21st Afxentia Stage Race / Stage 1 Time Trial Report
Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy was the winner of the opening time trial at the Afxentia mountain bike stage race on Cyprus. Dutch Anne Terpstra on the 14,6 kilometre course surprisingly scored the fastest time in the bunch of the women.
Jaroslav Kulhavy had no time to throw a look on that wonderful scenery around Lefkara, but scored the fastest time at Afxentias opening time trial ©Armin M. Küstenbrück/EGO Promotion
The time trial started in Lefkara and ended in Skarinou. So it was mainly downhill, but also with 2 uphill sections and a flat passage towards the finish line.
Kulhavy set a time of 25:16,6 minutes, which was 7,6 seconds faster than the Swiss Thomas Litscher and 24,5 faster than Jan Skarnitzl (Czech Republic).
Jaroslav Kulhavy, Olympic champion 2012: "I felt quite good, but in several corners I was too fast and lost some seconds. This was a special kind of course, but I like it. For my first race this year it’s quite okay. I have to be in a good shape for the Cape Epic in South Africa.”
Thomas Litscher on the second place, showed himself okay with his entrance into the season. “I was sufferin so much and missed a bit of reserve in the last few kilometres. But with seven seconds behind Jaro, it’s okay.”
Jan Skarnitzl was surprised about his third spot on the podium. “Third, that’s perfect. Normally I am not the fastest Downhill Biker. But the flat section with the head wind, that’s what I know from my home.”
Women: Terpstra surprises herself
When Anne Terpstra reached the finish line, she was far from calculating with the victory. Too much, she believed, she had to suffer during the last three kilometres.
So she was quite surprised to score the fastest time, 12,3 seconds in front of French Margot Moschetti and 12,5 seconds in front of Swede Alexandra Engen.
Dutch champion Anne Terpstra: "I am really surprised, I haven’t thought about any result. To take the victory is very cool. I like this kind of format. For the next days, things can change immediately, we will see. Now I am happy for today and tomorrow we will see more.”
Margot Moschetti: "I was very unsure about my shape. Now I am happy to be on the podium.”
Alexandra Engen: "I had a lot of fun out there. I was able to manage the race as I have planned to. It was not so easy, because when you reach the flat section, the race is not finished. You have to go some more kilometers against the wind"
Title defender Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Merida Gunn-Rita) from Norway flatted and had to ride for a long time without air. She lost more than five minutes.
«It’s a pity, because on the most funny stage, I had no fun. But that’s racing. Probably I am now out of the fight for the overall victory», she said.
Road Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) had to cancel her start. The Dutch is on Cyprus, but unfortunately she got sick.