The first race of the MTB-Bundesliga on the last weekend of April in Heubach, South Western Germany almost was a little World Cup. At least according to the start lists and the U19 race actually was part of the Junior World Series. The first STEVENS MTB Racing Team rider to start was Markus Eydt in his first race in the U19 class. He was accordingly placed in the middle of a 120-strong field. Markus continuously advanced during the course of the race to eventually finish 38th after 1 hour and 17 minutes. Luis Blattner on the other hand soon realized that this was not his best day and reported to the STEVENS pit after only one lap.
In the Female Juniors’ race, Franziska Koch who had come in fifth at the most recent Worlds in Cairns, Australia, entered her race from a much more forward position. The German National Champion started well on her STEVENS Jura Carbon and soon was among the top five. Even a minor crash in the second of four laps could not throw her off track. It was in the final climb that she grabbed fifth place which she secured during the following descend. For Emma Eydt, who, like her twin brother Markus, premiered in the U19 category, everything went well, too. She worked her way forward position by position and finished 12th overall and as 3rd best German rider, respectively. Race winner became reigning Juniors’ World Champion Laura Stigger from Austria.
Another first in a new age category was Leonie Daubermann taking part in the U23 race. Considering this competition was held simultaneously with the Women’s Elite race, the 20th place she held for a long time during the race is even more impressive. In the end she came in as a respectable 23rd. First place was won by Elisabeth Brandau ahead of Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) and Yana Belomoina (Ukraine).
The starter field in the Men’s Elite was almost as strong as that of a World cup race and World and European Champion Nino Schurter, again, was the one to set the bar.
Christian Pfäffle steadily advanced from his starting position in the middle of the field. In the penultimate lap he had high hopes for a ninth place. Eventually he finished 12th overall and 3rd best German rider on his STEVENS Sonora SL so he was quite pleased with his beginning of the season: ”The start went much better than previously in the race in Haiming. Heubach is of course a pure climber’s circuit which is not necessarily to my advantage. Yet, I felt strong uphill and lap after lap I was able to pass many riders.”
In the downhill section of the first lap he was held up by several slower riders. ”But by the fourth lap I had room to go and together with Markus Schulte-Lünzum I was able to catch up to a group hovering around 10th place. In the final lap it became obvious that Christian was still in the recovery after a crash had forced him to pause for a while. In the end he still came in a respectable 12th in the Heubach ”little world cup”.
Now he, like the other cross country riders on STEVENS Sonora SL and Jura Carbon, will focus on the upcoming World Cup race in Albstadt. Christian Pfäffle will have a special preparation for this event as well as the Military Worlds next week.