Success isn’t alwways immediate, and Swiss Bull Urs Huber has claimed victory in the Rocky Mountain BIKE Marathon. The Swiss pro mastered the new 116 km long course and its 3,220 metres of climbing through the Upland region in 4:39.30,69 hours while Stefanie Dohrn of Germany triumphed for the first time in the women’s event clocking in a time of 5:45.47,59.
Tim Boehme (GER) took second in the men’s event securing a 1-2-punch for Team Bulls which had put its stamp on the long distance of the classic alongside the border of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia last year, too. The 35-year-old from Frankfurt edged off reigning Swiss Champion Konny Looser of BiXS Pro Team in a thrilling sprint to third (4:44.03,96).
However, at first, it did look like an head-to-head duel for the victory and not like a photo finish for the runner-up position after Huber and Sascha Weber (GER) had pulled clear from the rest of a seven-men breakaway group when entering the second of three revised loops of the course.
Last year’s second ranked rider had significantly upped the tempo in the climb to the famous Hohen Eimberg after Weber had successfully closed the gap to Martin Frey (GER), another Team Bulls racer.
Huber attacked out of the wake surprising his competitors of whom only Weber was able to hold the pace. Subsequently, both worked well together and constantly extended their lead until the top favourite on the win noticed first weaknesses of his German rival, who had finished last year’s event in Willingen as third on the podium, when heading on the final round.
“I recognised that he was at his limit so I kept my tempo high and went for it,” explained Huber.
As a result, the former European Championships runner-up riding for Maloja Rocky Mountain had to let go and lost more and more ground finally wrapping his day off as sixth of the men’s ranking with a gap of more than 15 minutes (4:55.08.67).
While Weber couldn’t tie on to his last year’s strong performance, Huber, who had been beaten on the line in a sprint duel for the win, was able to enjoy the fruits of his hard labour: “I got second three times and finished in fourth position once. Finally, I was able to take home the win. The marathon in Willingen is a classic and has always been a must-have-win on my bucket list. Today, everything fell into place, so I’m very happy.”
His teammate Tim Boehme, who had signed in to the Willingen winner list five years ago and currently races his ultimate season as a pro, was also more than pleased with the results: “I have been working very hard as you aren’t receiving any presents by the others just because you are in your last year as a pro. It’s nice that I’m still able to ride fast although I’m pretty old already.”
Dohrn also with maiden win in Willingen
On the women’s side of things, Dortmund resident Stefanie Dohrn was able to bring home a wire-to-wire victory (5:45.47,59).
The 25-year-old racing for MSV Essen Steele, who came out victorious of last year’s Germany University Championships and also finished the legendary BIKE Transalp as second of the mixed category alongside Julian Biefang relegated her experienced rivals Katrin Schwing (GER) ofKatrin Schwing Trek Team (6:02.57,49) and Sarah Reiners (GER) of Focus Rapiro Racing(6:22.26,24) to the respective second and third rank.
Dutch athlete Ramses Bekkenk of KMC Fruit to go (5:07.12,36) and Guenter Reitz (GER) ofTeam Firebike-Handelshof (5:37.44,96) claimed the win in the respective master and grand master classification.