by Dave Anderson
September 13, 2013
UK’s Catherine Williamson takes overall victory at the Mongolian Bike Challenge, here’s the round up of all the stages…
The 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea came to a successful close last week. Now in its fourth year, the race attracted 108 professional and high level athletes from 23 countries – its biggest field yet. The field was also especially deep this year with a number of notable stage racing and endurance mountain bikers on the start list, including Matt Page (UK), Jason Sager (USA), Catherine Williamson (UK) and returning Champion, Cory Wallace (Canada).
Six out of seven stages were completed (Stage 3 cancelled due to heavy rains) on the newly-redesigned 850 kilometre course. Riders experienced all that Mongolia has to offer and as race reports start to roll in, it was every bit the adventure and ‘Challenge’ the organizers promised.
In the end it was Cory Wallace (Kona Factory Team) and Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) taking the overall titles. Early Bird Registration for the 2014 event is already underway at www.mongoliabikechallenge.com
September 2 (Mongolia) – Stage Two took the racers of the 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea 126 kilometres through an increasingly remote area of Mongolia with 2440 metres of climbing. The route followed the Tuul River, traversing the majestic forests of the Zamt Hills and ended at Jalman Camp.
In the Men’s race, the lead group of racers, including Cory Wallace (Kona), Mark Frendo (Oyu Tolgoi), Kysosuke Takei (Forza/Crankpunk), Jason Sager (Jamis), Altanzol Altansukh (Genco Tour Bureau), Antonio Ortiz (Selle SMP) and Pau Zamora (Buff-Niner) rode into the second refilling station together. Ortiz and Zamora got out of the station first and were able to hold a gap they created to take First and Second on the stage putting over two minutes into Wallaceís GC lead. Mongolian rider, Altanzol Altansukh lead the chase group and was able to grab Third on the day.
In the Women’s race appears to be taking its shape as the top four women repeated their positions from Stage One with Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) taking the Stage Win followed by Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon), Erin Greene (Endura NZ)) and Jessica Douglas (Liv Giant) respectively.
Riders are in high spirits but starting to realize the difficulty of the race and what is still ahead of them. Stage Three starts tomorrow from the banks of the Tuul River and runs 148 kilometres to Kavcir Ganga Camp.
September 3, 2013 (Mongolia) – Stage Three of the 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea was suspended at the 40 kilometre mark due to heavy overnight rains which made one of the larger rivers impassable. Athletes were transferred to the Stage Three camp after spending some time visiting local nomad families. Results will be updated as soon as possible and Stage Four is planned to proceed tomorrow. It’s always an adventure in Mongolia!
September 4, 2013 (Mongolia) – Stage Four of the GENCO Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea began from the camp at 2000 meters in the Khan Khentii Mountains and ended in the Berkh Mountain along the Kherlen River. The track conditions were dry and fast and a tail wind followed the racers most of the day. Welcome conditions from the wet, muddy condition of the Stage 3. The race organizers choose to abbreviate the stage from the original 175 kilometres to 95 kilometres due to the logistical challenges the athletes were required to endure during the transfer in the afternoon of Stage Three which was cancelled after the 40 kilometre mark due to high river levels.
The Men’s race continued to involve a number of strong athletes. The lead pack consisting of Wallace (Kona), Turner (Jamis), Sager (Jamis), Frendo (Oyu Tolgoi), Ortiz (Selle SMP) and the Mongolian rider, Altanzol Altansukh (Genco Tour Bureau). The top three places came down to a sprint with Sager taking the stage followed closely by Frendo and Turner.
The Men’s GC results after Stage Four have Wallace in the lead with Ortiz 6:43 minutes back and Frendo 9:57 back.
In the women’s race Williamson’s road racing pedigree proved valuable as she was able to stay in the peloton with the higher end of the men’s field and add to her lead over Looney, Greene and Douglas.
The Women’s GC remains Williamson(Bizhub-Energas), Looney (Topeak Ergon) and Greene (Endura NZ) respectively.
September 5, 2013 (Mongolia) – The sun came out for Stage Five of the Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea. It was a 96 kilometre loop with 1400 metres of climbing from the Berkh Mountains along the Kherlen River. The stage began with a GPM at the 30 kilometre marker and another climb to follow soon after at the 52 kilometre marker. Soon after the second climb a course marking issue caused the lead riders to go off course. Times were recorded for the men’s leaders at this point. Wallace (Kona) came first followed by Frendo (Oyu Tolgoi) and Sager (Jamis). The top three in the GC remains Wallace, Ortiz then Frendo.
Catherine Williamson continued to dominate the women’s race, however the group behind her saw some new faces today with Bethany Thompson and Jennifer Shulz riding in the group with Sonya Looney, Jessica Douglas, and Erin Greene. The race concluded with Williamson, Looney and Greene taking first, second and third, respectively.
September 6, 2013 (Mongolia) – Stage Six of the 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea is the longest stage of this edition at 170 kilometres. Mike Blewitt (Subaru-MarathonMTB.com) and Maral-erdene Batmunkh (Genco Tour Team) jumped ahead of a large peloton of 30 riders (including the top 5 women in the GC Category) early in the race and were able to build their lead to thirteen minutes. At 120 kilometres in, Marcel Zamora (Buff-Niner), who lead a break from the main peloton, was able to overtake them and hold his lead to the finish-line. Wallace (Kona) and Sager (Jamis) lead a surge from the main peloton to gather up the rest of the riders and finish second and third on the day.
In the Women’s category, Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) came in a strong first followed by Sonya Looney (Topeak-Ergon) while Erin Wallace was able to fight off an early charge from Douglas, Schulz and Thompson to secure third place on the day.
In the Team of Three category Maral-erdene Batmunkh, Altansukh Altanzul and Munkhtulga Erdensuren were able to maintain their overall lead heading into tomorrow’s final stage.
Stage Seven Official Race Report
The 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea concluded with Stage Seven. The route was 86 kilometres with 1400 metres of climbing and brought the athletes to the 13th Century National Park Historical Ger Camp.
In the Men’s Elite Category, Pau Zamora (Buff-Niner) attacked on the first GPM and brought Wallace (Kona), Ortiz (Selle SMP) and Sager (Jamis) with him. The four GC leaders battled it out for the rest of the stage with Wallace riding away from the group to take the final stage by 50 seconds over Sager. The Final GC standings remained unchanged with Wallace retaining the Pink Jersey for the second straight year. Ortiz finishes second overall followed by Pau Zamora in third.
In the Women’s Category, Sonya Looney (Topeak-Ergon) made a charge midway through the race to take the second GPM and was able to hold on for the stage victory. In the GC, Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) took the Pink Jersey followed by Looney (Topeak-Ergon) and Erin Greene (Endura NZ), respectively.
Maral-erdene Batmunkh, Altansukh Altanzul and Munkhtulga Erdensuren (Genco Tour Team) took the Yellow Jersey for the Team of Three GC Category.
The remaining GC category winners include Thomas Vandendaele (Sportsman),
Tom Smets (Master 1), Timothy Goulding (Master 2) and Robert Bleeker (Veteran).