The first of the three races of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup took place on the course in the unique setting of the ancient ruins of Amathus, near Limassol. As anticipated, Anne Terpstra (NED, Ghost Factory) dominated the women’s race, while Gil Ly Gonen from Israel emerged as the winner among the men.

It’s challenging to find a race in similar surroundings, with a circuit passing through the ruins of a former ancient harbor. The sun and the sea view added the true Mediterranean touch to the revived Sunshine Cup.

A total of 40 racers from 14 countries participated in the race, a number organizers consider good given the massive competition in the world calendar of XCO races.

In the women’s race, Anne Terpstra left no doubt that she is the clear favorite. Though Czech champion Jitka Čábelická (GAPP System Kolofix) closely followed, the race, consisting of one short and four regular laps, ultimately left them nearly 40 seconds apart. The bronze medal went to another representative from the Netherlands, Lotte Koopmans (KMC-Ridley), who trailed the winner by a minute and a half.

“It’s nice to be back in Cyprus; I really love it here. I’ve been coming regularly since 2014, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time here. It’s great that races have resumed after the break, and we can race again. I really enjoyed it today, and I’m glad I managed to win,” said the thirty-three-year-old Dutch winner.

Jitka Čábelická also reminisced about her beginnings in Cyprus and praised the fact that she could return to her favorite race. “I remember it very well; it’s been a long time since I was here for the first time, but the last time I raced here was in 2020. I like coming back, even though I know it’s a tough race. It was the first race of the season, and 2nd place is a great start. You never know what to expect, but today pleasantly surprised me,” said Jitka.

The men’s race was dominated by a twenty-three-year-old from Israel, whose name is not widely known yet. But perhaps remember it well: Gil Ly Gonen. The Israeli champion and the fiftieth man in the UCI ranking showed that his spring form is fantastic. He gave a 1:44 min lead to the second-place finisher, Oleksandr Hudyma from Ukraine (KMC-Ridley)!

“A beautiful circuit, but challenging. Anyway, it’s a perfect start to the season for me; I probably couldn’t ask for better. I’m looking forward to next week; I firmly believe I’ll succeed again,” said Gil Ly after the race that consisted of 1+5 laps.

“I’m in Cyprus for the first time, and I really like it here. I enjoyed the race and look forward to the weekend continuation,” Hudyma shared.

The bronze position and the next two places were occupied by Czech racers. Jan Sáska, who demonstrated the most strength in the final sprint and unveiled his new team, Subterra Santa Cruz, secured the bronze just ahead his compatriots Lukáš Kobes and Jan Škarnitzl.

“It was the first race of the season, so I was curious how it would go, especially after last season when things didn’t go according to plan. But it turned out great; the feelings are fantastic,” said the third-placed Jan Sáska.

The remaining two races of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup mini-series are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Results are available on the official race website: