Lakata wins the Leadville 100
Topeak-Ergon rocks the Wild West. Alban Lakata takes the win at the legendary Leadville Trial 100 MTB Race in Colorado/USA last Saturday. Sally Bigham finishes 2nd in the woman’s race. Robert Mennen finishes 7th. Topeak-Ergon’s US-Team with Sonya Looney and Yuki Ikeda is also very successful.
Alban Lakata put himself under a lot of pressure when he said that he wanted to win the Leadville 100 — a cult like race in the USA. In 2011 he finished second, but the 33 year old Topeak-Ergon rider was not satisfied. With a superb performance the 2010 World Marathon Champion followed up his words with actions. Winning the ’Race of all Races’ as it is known in America, the distance of just over 100 miles was covered in a winning time of 6:23:24.23 hrs, the first time that a non American has ever won the race.
The ride itself is far from easy. It is a struggle even for the fittest rider. The distance of just over 100 miles is one point, but for the riders attempting to win the race, this isn’t really the issue. What is, however, is the altitude. Starting at 3,100m above sea level in Leadville the two mile city the highest point of the race is 3,850m and by the time the racers finish, they have climbed a total of almost 4,300m. In addition, during the race, Alban and the lead riders were sent the wrong way about 25km in. Another challenge was the reigning Marathon Champion Christoph Sauser (CH) who was also looking to win. The win, therefore, was even more sweet.
“Following the bad luck which I had right at the start of the race last year, I was really fired up for this race“, the Austrian said, “I felt amazing on the morning of the race, it felt like my legs were just flying. It is an amazing feeling to have won. I felt that I had unfinished business here!“
In the women’s race, the British rider Sally Bigham was hoping for a win for Topeak-Ergon. Her preparation had been great, and acclimatization at altitude for over a week before the race had paid off. Unfortunately she had the same bad luck that Alban had, and followed the misdirection and went off course. She was in the lead at the time. It was enough to spoil her race, and Sally felt de-motivated by the whole thing. “It is difficult, you work so hard on these things, and something like that happens, it breaks your concentration.“ In the end though, she pushed through and finished in 2nd place.
“I really felt good on the day, and so took the lead from the gun. By the time that I got back on the official course though, I was down to 4th place. I was only able to fight my way forward to so far. That’s life I suppose. It wasn?t the first time that this has happened in a race, and it is unlikely to be the last.“
Back to the men’s race Robert Mennen was also riding. Like Lakata he is fresh from their Transalp win, and his 7th position was yet another sign of this rider’s development. “I went into the race with a lot of respect for the altitude. 100 miles at over 3,000m is no walk in the park. All the same, I was aiming for a top 10 finish and that is what I managed. I am really happy with the result, and want to thank our US Team and Leadville old hand Dave Wiens for the support they gave!“
From the US Team Sonya Looney and Yuki Ikeda were racing. Sonya rode a sensational race, with her wrist in plaster, finishing 6th while Yuki (Japan) also showed his strength finishing 17th.
Is there more to come? Well, yes, according to Lakata. “Following the navigational error, there was no chance to better the course record“, the Albanator continued, “so I’ll be back!“
Further information and results: www.leadvilleraceseries.com
Check also the video: Alban Lakata wins the 2012 Leadville 100
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