Hadleigh Farm, England
– Felt Otztal X-Bionic rider Karl Markt
once again proved himself as one of the elite talents in XC racing, finishing third in the Olympic Test Event over the weekend. Markt, who just won the Austrian National Championship two weeks ago, arrived on the podium alongside two former XC World Champions. The 31-year-old Austrian is putting together a fantastic season with X-Bionic, taking multiple UCI wins and podiums.
The Olympic Test Event in Hadleigh Farm gave riders the opportunity to race the Olympic course for 2012. The racers completed seven laps of the rolling course in hot temperatures, which quickly separated the field. Markt, riding a full-suspension Felt Edict LTD
, was among the top four riders throughout the race.
After two-time Olympic XC champ Julien Absalon gained an advantage, Markt, former World Champion Christoph Sauser, and current World Cup points leader Jaroslav Kulhavy formed an elite chase group. The pace became too high for Kulhavy, who dropped off the blistering pace, and ensured a medal for Markt. Along with the Bronze, Markt also gained valuable experience on the Olympic XC course in preparation for 2012.
Next up for X-Bionic are the most important weeks of the XC season. The European Championships, two World Cup races, and the World Championships all take place in August, and Markt will look to capitalize on his good form in all of these events.