Age Is Just A Number: 40-Year-Old Brian Lopes Claims MTB World Cup Eliminator Victory
Oakley mountain bike legend Brian Lopes proved once again that age is nothing but a number when he took top prize in the inaugural MTB World Cup Eliminator held in Houffalize, Beligium. The forty-year old American Lopes took down a field full of younger mountain bike studs in the first World Cup running of this exciting new format. His convincing win in the men’s race gives him World Cup victories in three disciplines: dual slalom, four cross and now eliminator. Lopes has claimed more World Cup wins than any other male mountain biker in the sport’s history – why not add one more to the trophy case?
The eliminator format was introduced last year as a test event and became a legitimate World Cup series this year with three races and a world title on the line. The top 32 qualifiers from a timed lap of the circuit move onto the main competition; single lap races consisting of four riders. The top two from each heat move on to the next round. The course in Belgium was 530m long and displayed extremely steep climbs, which ultimately worked in Lopes’ favor.
Lopes, wearing the new Oakley RadarLock, qualified first in the event and went on to showcase his fitness and experience, coming out of the start in first position in every heat. He took advantage of all of the steep climbs and single-track format by jumping out in front early. No one could catch him from there.
“I’ve been training for a few months for these things,” Lopes said on the new format. “It is nice when you put in a lot of hard work and it pays off. I didn’t think at 40 years old I’d be racing World Cups again, but I’m back. It’s nice to get a victory.”
On the women’s side, Oakley’s Annie Last took the top spot on the podium by dominating the competition, just as her male counterpart had. Although she didn’t qualify in first position like Lopes, Last’s seventh place qualifier was enough to get her into the competition that really mattered. Once in the final four, she shined, despite a crash in the finals that took out the leaders. Last was the first to get back on the bike and raced to victory.
“I’m really please with this,” said Last. “It is a really, really tough course. Getting the lead after the start makes a massive difference, it means you have a bit more control of the race.”
Full results from the Cross Country Eliminator can be found below. Oakley athletes dominated the tops spots. Also held at the Belgium venue was the Cross Country Olympic race, which was similarly owned by Oakley riders. Lopes and Last definitely took control of their own races and their Oakley family congratulates them on an awesome weekend in Belgium!
Men’s Cross Country Eliminator
1 Brian LOPES USA – OAKLEY
2 Daniel FEDERSPIEL AUT
3 Simon GEGENHEIMER GER
Women’ s Cross Country Eliminator
1 Annie LAST GBR – OAKLEY
2 Eva LECHNER ITA
3 Jenny RISSVEDS SWE
Men’s Cross Country Olympic
1 Julien ABSALON FRA– OAKLEY
2 Nino SCHURTER SUI – OAKLEY
3 Marco Aurelio FONTANA– OAKLEY
4 Burry STANDER RSA– OAKLEY
5 Manuel FUMIC GER– OAKLEY
6 Florian VOGEL SUI– OAKLEY
Women’s Cross Country Olympic
1 Catharine PENDREL CAN– OAKLEY
2 Julie BRESSET FRA– OAKLEY
3 Maja WLOSZCZOWSKA POL
4 Pauline FERRAND PREVOT FRA
5 Blaza KLEMENCIC SLO