It is a great way to end the season. And it seems that everyone is in form! Robert Mennen this weekend took the German National Marathon Championship title in an impressive manner in Muensingen. Nadine Rieder, racing in the women’s race, was able to secure fifth position. Elsewhere, riding in Ornans, Sally, Alban and Milena took 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In the lead up to the race, Robert Mennen had not hidden his belief that he was going to win, and that only a win would do. The way in which he pulled this off at the Alb-Gold trophy, which hosted the German National Marathon Championships, was particularly note worthy. Especially given the riders in attendance, a roll call of who is who in German Marathon Racing. ”It was unbelievable the way that Robert managed to control the race”, Centurion-Vaude rider Hannes Genze who finished fourth, said following the race.
Using a combination of attacks and changes in pace, the 28 year old was able to seemingly neutralize the rest of the field. This was even more remarkable because he was effectively riding by himself — all other riders had someone else riding from their team with them. ”I worked out that I had to ensure that nowhere in the 84km would the race be decided. Even if this means that I had to chase down attacks myself. I had to control it”, the Champion recalled. The reckoning came in the two 9km loops at the end of the course, ”during a technical singletrack uphill passage I was able to pull away from the others, and stay away for 5km until the line.”
So, with 103km in his legs, 2.500m climbed, and with a finishing in a time of 3hr49min03sec, Mennen crossed the line with 14 seconds lead over second place. The race though had been anything but easy. Rain and cold had increased the challenge. Covered in mud, but visibly euphoric, Mennen knew what the win meant.
”It is amazing. When I began in this sport, it was my aim, to hopefully one day be the winner of a national champion’s jersey. I have been close before.” It was something that he didn’t let out of his sight, but at times looked unlikely this season — especially after his crash at the Cape Epic. ”This does take the pain of that disappointment away”, the newly crowned Champion grinned. ”Now I have Roc d’Azur to look forward to — the first race with the Champion’s colors on my shoulders. Then a whole year to wear it. And as for the Cape Epic, I will return …”
Other Topeak-Ergon racers were also riding at the weekend. Sally Bigham won the ”Extreme sur Loue”, part of the UCI World Marathon Series. With a course of 63km, and almost 2.400m of climbing, it took place in Ornans, France. At the same race, Melina Landtwing finished 3rd, while European Champion Alban Lakata, in the 84km long men’s race, finished second.
More Information and results at: www.alb-gold.com, www.extreme-sur-loue.com and www.uci.ch