A double win at Roc d'Azur

The Topeak-Ergon Racing Team ends the season on a high. Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham win the marathon at the Roc d’Azur, while Robert Mennen and Nadine Rieder both took 5th in their respective races in the Cross Country.

Who would have thought that the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team would end the season in such a successful way? In the traditional season finale — the Roc d’Azur in Frejus, France the teams were able to clean up. The performance of Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham being of note, as they were both able to win both the race of the UCI Marathon Series.

The men’s race covered 83km, and just as many races have been this season, it was a dual between European Champion Alban Lakata and the World Champion Cristoph Sauser. This time it was the Albanator who was able to keep his nose ahead. After 3hrs43m03s the Austrian was the winner, with 4 seconds lead on Jaroslav Kulhavy and 7 seconds on Sauser who took third.

As is usually the case, the marathon race at the Roc sees a lead group form following the long climb and the technical downhill. It remained like this for most of the race, until the 500 meters before the line, which is across a long, flat field. It was here that Alban played to his strengths and hammered towards the line. It was a move that none of his competition could counter.

Perfect season final
Following the win, Lakata explained: ”my legs were super today from the very start. I had no problems at all.” What was most impressive though, was that he wasn’t in the lead until the final 2km.

”You couldn’t end a season more perfectly. It was a race I had never won, only the cross country.” It was made all the more sweet thanks to the UCI Marathon points which come from a World Series Event.

For Alban it is now time for a holiday, but not without the 2010 World Champion stating his objectives for 2014. ”Next year it is about the Cape Epic and the World Championships, and also about retaining my European Champion’s title in Ireland.”

An amazing season summary for Sally
10 countries, 16 wins, and 3 second place finishes. That was Sally Bigham’s 2013 season. It almost goes without saying that the British National Champion won the women’s race at the Roc Marathon, with a time of 4hr41m07. It was the fourth victory for her at the race in a row. ”This year it was just about having fun and enjoying the trials”, the 35 year old said, ”but to win for the fourth time is a perfect end to a fantastic season.” Sally also knew exactly how she was going to celebrate. ”First of all we are off on holiday. Time to swap the bike for the bikini and energy drinks for a pina colada (or two).”

Robert and Nadine somewhat unlucky
Robert Mennen and Nadine Rieder decided to take on the XC race at the Roc, both facing the 56km course, and both finishing with a good solid 5th place. All the same, both suffered poor luck. Robert was held up 15km from the finish by triathletes taking part in a competition on the same day, and Nadine had a loose pedal cleat.

All the same, neither were really unhappy. ”It is a good end to the season, following the disappointment of Friday”, Mennen said, referring to the Marathon Race where he finished 15th. Nadine also found a few nice words: ”I am happy. It is lovely here, the trials are great fun.”

So that’s it. Thanks to the athletes of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team for another interesting and exciting 2013 season!

More information and results: www.rocazur.com

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