Absalon Returns to Racing to Take Silver at Europeans31. July 2017, Darfo Boario Terme, Italy — Melanie Leveau — MTB Team
Eight weeks after he broke his collarbone, Julien Absalon made his return to competition on the occasion of the European Championships where he started as defending champion.
Absalon’s project was ambitious: winning the European Championships for the sixth time on his first race day since the World Cup in Albstadt, Germany on the last weekend of May. But Absalon is an ambitious and wise racer. He knew that in the absence of World Champion Nino Schurter, the race for the European Champion title would be very open. It eventually delivered one of the most exciting scenarios of the season.
Things didn’t start too well for the defending champion. “I usually have a slow start but this one was a bit worse than usual” he explained. “After eight weeks without racing it was hard to find the right rhythm so I was far back after the first two laps. Luckily, I felt better from lap 3 on and started passing riders one after the other.” And he passed everybody, or almost everybody. Swiss rider Florian Vogel was the only one who managed to stay at the front to take his second European title, almost ten years after the first one. “Never underestimate old guys on mountain bikes!” he said with a smile to the crowd and Julien Absalon and Manuel Fumic who took silver and bronze respectively.
After falling short of a new European title by a few seconds only, Julien Absalon could logically be disappointed: “It’s a championship so only the first place counts” he said “but I must say that I feel more satisfied than disappointed today. I didn’t race for two months so being in the mix for the title is a real achievement and gives me great confidence for the end of the season.”
- Florian Vogel (SUI) 1:24'07''
- Julien Absalon (FRA) +0'10''
- Manuel Fumic (GER) +0'40''
11. Lukas Flückiger (SUI) +2'28''
18. Titouan Carod (FRA) +3'49''
19. Reto Indergand (SUI) +3'58''
Photos: EGO Promotion