Sauser and Kulhavy win gold and silver medals at marathon Worlds
Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing) won his second-ever marathon world championship title in Montebelluna, Italy, on Sunday. His teammate Jaroslav Kulhavy earned an impressive second place on a day that could not have been more perfect for the Specialized team.
“The (Cape) Epic experience made me confident that I could do 4.5 hours full on,” said Sauser, who was representing Switzerland. “It was just incredible to win here.” Sauser earned his first marathon world title in 2007 Verviers, Belgium; however, this title netted him his third rainbow-striped jersey as he also won the cross country world championship in Val di Sole, Italy, in 2008.
“It was very hectic out there today, especially at the beginning,” said Sauser. “Everybody was fighting for the trail. It was dusty and open and there was long singletrack. You had to stay calm and stay relaxed.”
In the beginning of the 115.7km race, the Italian national team controlled the pace and kept the favorites all together.
It was a hot day and as the race progressed, the peloton split up, with 30 racers left at the front at 40km. The decisive moment came at 70km, when four racers escaped together off the front, including Sauser, Kulhavy, Julien Absalon and Tim Bˆhme.
“I went to the front with some hard climbs coming. I didn’t know that part of the course, but rather suddenly, the four of us broke away, and we kept it together,” said Sauser. That was with about 1.5 hours left to race.”
Eventually, Sauser reached a point on the course where he “felt at home”. It was time to apply some more pressure.
“I felt comfortable again there and went to the front, and Jaro and I broke away. Jaro was having some difficulty on the climbs. I waited a bit on a flat, and then I thought, ‘I’d better be on the safe side,’ so I went.”
Sauser went on to finish solo in a time of 4:24:48. Kulhavy, who represented the Czech Republic, held on for second place at 3:10. Italian local favorite Mirko Celestino was third at 5:42.
Kulhavy’s silver medal was especially noteworthy considering that just over a week ago, he collided with a pickup truck while training and sustained serious facial injuries, including severe facial lacerations and broken teeth.
“We did a good job today,” said Kulhavy. “Susi was really strong, but I am satisfied with my second place because I had an accident 10 days ago.”
“After Susi got away, I stayed on my pace,” said Kulhavy, who noted the conditions were very hot and humid.
Both racers credited their 29er bikes for smooth rides to the finish. Sauser was onboard his trusty Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er hardtail with S-Works Renegade tires (1.95″) inflated to 26 psi and 27psi on the front and rear respectively. His complete bike weighed 8.5kg. In contrast, Kulhavy raced a Specialized S-Works Epic 29er full suspension with S-Works Renegade Tires.
“Definitely our 29er played a big factor,” said Sauser, who has consistently been aboard a 29er hardtail all this season. “The big wheels made me feel relaxed and stable and like I was just rolling along. I loved it.”
“My 29er was really good. My bike is amazing,” said Kulhavy, who won the Dalby cross country World Cup on it earlier this season. “It’s so fast. It was perfect at speed.”
For more info, photos and videos of Christoph Sauser and Specialized Racing please visit www.iamspecialized.com