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  1. #1
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    Absalon going to marathon worlds

    http://singletrack.competitor.com/20...n-worlds_16946

    Can he pull off the marathon and XC double?

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    I think that this is great news. I do think Julien could pull it off, but not by doing his XC style stand-and-hammer-all-the-climbs approach! I love being a fan of pro XC racing, but I am very much behind the rising popularity of longer endurance MTB races. To quote Jeremiah Bishop from his recent MTBracenews interview, "Laps are good for spectating but scary big bike rides stoke your sense of awe for the natural World." I have not seen much coverage of European marathon races, but the little I have seen would not qualify them as "backcountry epic". Still, I love the thought of the best mountain bike racers in the world trying to expand their portfolios.

    I'm not saying Christoph Sauser's career achievements are on par with Absalon's, but his 2008 season had him pulling off the double. He won XCO in Val di Sole and crossed the finish line first in XC marathon Villabassa only to be relegated to 2nd because of irregular sprinting (which was a bad call in my opinion). The person given the win, Roel Paulissen, got busted for doping a couple years later.

  3. #3
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    He's probably getting bored of those 3mi mtn crits.

    Although I am under the impression that enduros in europe are often multiple laps or a 10-20 mile course?

  4. #4
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    He will obliterate it.

    The depth of the marathon field is no where near that of the XC field.

    At Absalon's level, his body is so efficient and optimized for high performance, that he'll have a marked advantage, even at the 100km mark.

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    Course info here: http://www.veneto2011.it/

    It is not a multi-lap format...just one long loop.

  6. #6
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    Be interesting to see how Jeremiah stacks up against him.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    He's probably getting bored of those 3mi mtn crits.

    Although I am under the impression that enduros in europe are often multiple laps or a 10-20 mile course?
    The UCI requires marathon courses to be single loop or point to point. It is the US that does multiple short lap "marathon" events.
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    Quote Originally Posted by superlightracer View Post
    He will obliterate it.

    The depth of the marathon field is no where near that of the XC field.

    At Absalon's level, his body is so efficient and optimized for high performance, that he'll have a marked advantage, even at the 100km mark.
    I don't think it's going to be that easy.
    There are bunch of very successful and highly specialized marathon/enduro
    pro racers in Europe (Stefan Sahm, Karl Platt, or Alban Lakata - defending champ, just to name a few).
    You can hardly ever see any of this guys in the normal XC race, but they are acing it in anything
    longer than 50 km.

  9. #9
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    I don't think it'll be that easy for Absalon either. But I kind of like him a little bit more for trying. Being competitive at both events sounds extremely difficult; being a champion at both, can't fathom it.

    (Warning, swimming reference) It seems similar to a swimmer competing at the olympics in both the 200 free and the 1500. It just doesn't happen.
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    I don't doubt his fitness to keep up with anybody. He seems to be a great tactician in the short XC events, but I don't know his history with longer races. Anyone know of any "long" events that he has competed in and how he did?

  11. #11
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    Just have one of the Grand Tour riders get bored and show up to race Absalon, then we'll see whether Julien's optimization is not unlike that of a Next Power Climber by comparison


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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails View Post
    Just have one of the Grand Tour riders get bored and show up to race Absalon, then we'll see whether Julien's optimization is not unlike that of a Next Power Climber by comparison
    Grand Tour riders only do well at roadish marathons like Leadville 100! ;-) See how Roberto Heras and Gilberto Simoni (Grand Tour winners) get worked over when they enter more difficult marathons?!

    I've thought about it more and I think Blue Eyes is right, Absalon will face competition that specialize in this sort of thing and that are very much the top pros in the world at it. Top XC guys have been racing marathon worlds for a while and they don't dominate but they are main protagonists. Sauser, Stander, Naef, and Hermida all raced 2010 marathon worlds and filled out the lower steps of the podium. But I have no idea of Absalon's longer distance ability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bholwell View Post
    I don't think it'll be that easy for Absalon either. But I kind of like him a little bit more for trying. Being competitive at both events sounds extremely difficult; being a champion at both, can't fathom it.

    (Warning, swimming reference) It seems similar to a swimmer competing at the olympics in both the 200 free and the 1500. It just doesn't happen.
    This is the '08 results, but the top 5 or so (men and women) were regular WC XC top finishers.
    http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/mtb.p...rathonworlds08
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  14. #14
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    I wouldn't underestimate Absalon by any means. If he's going for Worlds Marathons (including skipping the North American XCO's) then this has been on his radar far longer than the story in the news. I've no doubt he's made the preparation and done the sufficient training and planning to be on the podium at the Marathon Worlds. He's one of the fastest & smartest racers out there and his racing talents will easily transfer over to the marathon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    This is the '08 results, but the top 5 or so (men and women) were regular WC XC top finishers.
    http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/mtb.p...rathonworlds08
    same with 2010.
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/uci...rathon/results
    1 Alban Lakata (Austria) 3:49:55
    2 Mirko Celestino (Italy) 0:00:05
    3 Burry Stander (South Africa) 0:00:06
    4 Ralph Naef (Switzerland) 0:00:06
    5 Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) 0:00:07
    6 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) 0:00:09
    7 Karl Platt (Germany) 0:00:25
    8 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 0:00:28
    9 Thomas Dietsch (France) 0:00:32
    10 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 0:00:59

    1 Esther Süss (Switzerland) 4:33:47
    2 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 0:01:57
    3 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 0:02:54
    4 Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 0:07:51
    5 Birgit Söllner (Germany) 0:07:54
    6 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) 0:08:12
    7 Kristine Noergaard (Denmark) 0:08:59
    8 Sally Bigham (Great Britain) 0:09:56
    9 Erika Dicht (Switzerland) 0:11:34
    10 Anna Villar Argente (Spain) 0:11:34

  16. #16
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    If you look at the results from Marathon worlds you see that the courses tend to be not as selective as an XC course (smaller gaps, bigger groups).

    It often comes down to who can go really hard in the last 20 minutes (much like road racing). Absalon has won a lot of XC races by attacking on the last lap, however being able to attack after 1.5hrs @ Max is different then 3.5hrs @85%.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The UCI requires marathon courses to be single loop or point to point. It is the US that does multiple short lap "marathon" events.
    Europe does shorter loops as well. The UCI requires that the distance be no less than 60k, no more than 120k, and for Continental and Worlds a minimum of 80k. It can be up to 3 loops but no more.

    From my experience, the marathons in Europe compared to the US tend to be opposite what you said. Most here in Europe that I have done or seen are multiple shorter loops.

    You can check out the rules at the top of page 9 here.

    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/BUILTIN/ge...34424&LangId=1

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slim83 View Post
    Europe does shorter loops as well. The UCI requires that the distance be no less than 60k, no more than 120k, and for Continental and Worlds a minimum of 80k. It can be up to 3 loops but no more.

    From my experience, the marathons in Europe compared to the US tend to be opposite what you said. Most here in Europe that I have done or seen are multiple shorter loops.

    You can check out the rules at the top of page 9 here.

    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/BUILTIN/ge...34424&LangId=1
    The 3-lap regulation is a change from the first season or two.

    There have been US marathon championships held on courses requiring 5-15 laps IIRC.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
    Grand Tour riders only do well at roadish marathons like Leadville 100! ;-) See how Roberto Heras and Gilberto Simoni (Grand Tour winners) get worked over when they enter more difficult marathons?!

    I've thought about it more and I think Blue Eyes is right, Absalon will face competition that specialize in this sort of thing and that are very much the top pros in the world at it. Top XC guys have been racing marathon worlds for a while and they don't dominate but they are main protagonists. Sauser, Stander, Naef, and Hermida all raced 2010 marathon worlds and filled out the lower steps of the podium. But I have no idea of Absalon's longer distance ability.
    Well if Cadel Evans, Francisco Mancebo, or Michael Rassmusen showed up there would be some looks of terror in the other racers.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bholwell View Post

    (Warning, swimming reference) It seems similar to a swimmer competing at the olympics in both the 200 free and the 1500. It just doesn't happen.
    just to keep the threadjack alive, read up on Grant hackett, he didn't pull it off at the olympics, but has done it at the world championships.

  21. #21
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    Just to stir the pot a little more, I've heard that while UCI XC races have more than a little bit of the "crazy," marathons in Europe are quite tame and Leadville-like, compared to most American endurance races, especially the NUE courses. Plus we measure things according to some king's foot and do 100 miles instead of 100k.

  22. #22
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    Yeah right

    Quote Originally Posted by chiva View Post
    Well if Cadel Evans, Francisco Mancebo, or Michael Rassmusen showed up there would be some looks of terror in the other racers.
    Maybe the packfill would be worried about finishing a place or two lower, but Lakata, Absalon, Hermida, Sauser, etc. won't be afraid of the roadies. Yes, I know that Evans and Rasmussen have strong mountain bike pedigree (in XC) and that Mancebo has won some marathon MTB races in Spain. But at WC? Unless they devoted some specific training on mastering mountain biking again, they would get beat by the dedicated marathon mountain bikers.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    If you look at the results from Marathon worlds you see that the courses tend to be not as selective as an XC course (smaller gaps, bigger groups).

    It often comes down to who can go really hard in the last 20 minutes (much like road racing). Absalon has won a lot of XC races by attacking on the last lap, however being able to attack after 1.5hrs @ Max is different then 3.5hrs @85%.
    I was thinking the same. The guy can be a beast when it comes down to a maximum effort attack at XC distance, but will he have the same effect after many hours of riding.

    Also, the course appears to have a lot of open road (dirt and paved). I don't think this suits his strengths, especially after watching Kulhavy pull away on the relative open course at Dalby.

    Perhaps he should run the Orbea Alma 29er at this course

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMi_rider View Post
    ...Perhaps he should run the Orbea Alma 29er at this course
    I would say that based on the bike selection we saw for the top teams at Cape Epic this year, we will see a lot of 29ers in the marathon!

  25. #25
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    Kulhavy is also racing worlds, but he is a bit busted up from an accident with a truck.
    http://singletrack.competitor.com/20...injuries_17534

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