After the first three races, the Arabian Epic series seems to be clearly controlled by the endurance specialists Steffen Thum (GER/34) and Rémi Laffont (FRA/27). The two of them dominated the field in the third race together with their team colleague Simon Gegenheimer (GER/29). While Daniel Gathof (GER/37) won the race, they finished on rank two, three and four.
This time, Abu Dhabi was the setting for the mountain bikers of the professional team from Aachen in Germany. All three athletes proved to be in very good shape over the 87 kilometres. There were not very many metres in altitude, which means that a lot could be achieved with a strong team and good tactics. “I felt really good after the race in Rio and, as long as the climbs are not too long„ I can survive three or four hours on a World Cup level,“ said Gegenhei- mer, who sprinted to rank two in the overall standings just five days ago in Brazil.
The three teammates let Daniel Gathof escape directly at the start in order to be able to dominate the field more easi- ly. Gathof is considered to be a strong fighter, yet in the overall standings, he is no danger for Laffont and Thum. “At first, we waited and watched how the others react. Only after 40 kilometres, we increased the pace to try to get away together. Simon had a very good day and when we are together with the three of us, World Cup winners in Sprint and Marathon, that’s really accumulated power,” commented Thum after the finish. The trio was able to escape in a wind- ing section and attacked as soon as a small gap opened in the field. After this, the others were not able to catch up with them anymore over the entire marathon distance of 87 kilometres. Only Daniel Gathoff, who had escaped right at the start, was able to save his lead over the sand tracks around Abu Dhabi until the finish. Places two, three and four went to Laffont, Gegenheimer and Thum, who thus continued to control the overall lead safely. However, the two of them always point out that it is of no importance who is in the lead, but that they are only aiming at winning as a team. After Rio and Abu Dhabi, they now return to their families in France and Germany. A week of regeneration and train- ing at home is scheduled, before the fight for the Arabian Epic racing series continues on December 14th.