Race in London prepares Absalon and Forster for Showdown in Brazil2. August 2016, Hadleigh, Great Britain — Melanie Leveau — MTB Team
With three weeks to go to the biggest race of the year, actually of four years, some of the top MTB athletes gathered in Hadleigh, host location of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Julien Absalon and Lars Fortser were two of them.
“It feels a bit strange to be back here” said Absalon on the day of the race. “The course was almost the same as four years ago, but without the infrastructures and the thousands of spectators it’s very different.” There were indeed only 37 riders at the start, and the number of spectators couldn’t be compared with 2012 but the Hadleigh Park International Race was a perfect opportunity for the Olympians to test themselves. “The course in the UK looks really like the one in Rio. It’s 100% artificial and the obstacles are built in a similar way” explained Absalon.
After a big week of training with the French National Team in the south of France, Absalon arrived very tired and not in the best conditions to make his presence felt on the race. “It was to be expected but the goal wasn’t to win today. The goal was to test myself and get a feeling for the course.” The Frenchman finished in fourth place, 50 seconds behind his main rival Nino Schurter. “The most important thing is that I could really see my improvements in the rock gardens and other artificial obstacles and also that I’m 100% convinced I made the right choice to race the Fourstroke. It’s the right bike to perform in Rio”.
Lars Forster was probably the most disappointed man there. A month after his crash in the warm-up of the World Championships that didn’t allow him to be on the start line in Lenzerheide and kept him out of contention at the National Championships, bad luck hit the young Swiss rider once more. This time he suffered a flat tire about 200m after the start and was essentially put out of the race. “I rode to the first tech zone, and left it dead last after a wheel change, so I did a 1.5 hour individual time trial. It’s disappointing but the legs were good and I’m on plan for Rio. Now I can only hope for a bit of good luck!”
The two Olympians from the BMC MTB Racing Team have different plans before Rio. Absalon will race the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup next weekend alongside team mates Lukas Flückiger, Reto Indergand and Martin Fanger while Lars Forster will stay in Switzerland to fine-tune his preparation.
- Nino Schurter (SUI)
- Luca Braidot (ITA)
- Mathias Stirnemann (SUI)
- Julien Absalon (FRA)
15. Lars Forster (SUI)
Full results here.
PC: Armin Küstenbrück /EGO Promotion