It was a long time since the last World Cup (back in August 2015), and it was a long travel to get to this one!
We flew to the other side of the World to make the start line for the opening World Cup of 2016, but it was worth every mile!
There are a number of things to take into consideration when you are racing in Cairns, Australia. Namely jet lag, the weather, and an unhealthy abundance of deadly animals! Thankfully we were lucky on all three fronts.
After a few days of adjustment, Shlomi and Martin were ready and raring to race. The course in Cairns is a special one – it uses the only cycle tracks allowed in a World Heritage certified rainforest. Where the track finishes, dense rainforest starts, with dangling vines, beautiful bright flowers and an unnerving buzz of life.
Shlomi and Martin both loved the course. It consists of a main climb, a main descent and then a flat open section that brings you back to the finish line. The climb snakes up over rocks and roots, with multiple line-choices and constant natural features to interrupt the rhythm.
The reward for this hard climb was a fast, flowing descent with plenty of jumps, punctuated with technical rock gardens. It suited the boys perfectly!
Come race day, Shlomi and Martin were tested with seven laps of this physical track, in hot and humid conditions.
Sunday afternoon came around quickly. Warm up; start box; grid; 30 second warning; go!
Both Martin and Shlomi missed a start-straight crash by a fraction of a second. Martin had to brake and unclip but he managed to get around and get going. Any hold-ups at the start are costly, but Martin was on a mission.
After completing lap 1 in 50th position, Martin began to climb through the ranks. He was strong and smooth, but also clever – following wheels and tagging onto groups of riders. Experience from the Cape Epic (and from his partner, Sascha Weber) was helping him along. That and some fine form!
Whilst Martin was racing through the field, Shlomi was more settled. He finished lap 1 in 38th place and never strayed too far from that position.
This was a particularly important race for Shlomi as it was one of three races that counts towards his Olympic qualification. Across these three races he must post the highest finishing position of an Israeli rider, so securing a good result in Cairns would stand him in very good stead.
To this end, Shlomi was very happy with his race. He rode strongly, with no mistakes and no misfortune. He finished in 41st position – a strong stand-alone position, and way ahead of his Israeli compatriot.
Martin’s mission was highly successful. Picking his way past riders all race, he finished in 35th position. He high-fived down the finish line to the delight of the crowd, and has been wearing a huge smile ever since!
We’re really pleased with how the start of the World Cup series went. Now the season is in full swing and we can’t wait for the next races!
For videos, photographs and updates posted live throughout the race, check out our Twitter and Instagram pages.
Thanks for your support…