The battle between the two best mountain bikers in the world continues. This time it was Nino Schurter's turn, with Nino grabbing his 12th World Cup victory!
Even the World Champion had to withstand a few critical moments during the race, in the process reminding his rival Julien Absalon just exactly what he still has in store taking back the crown of Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. With a 2nd in the Eliminator and a 3rd place in XCO, Jenny Rissveds is back strong. After a two month break the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup goes into its final three rounds this month.
First stop-the most classic of all mountain bike World Cups- Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. Usually the toughest of all MTB tracks, this year would be no different. On the steep climbs and in technical descents, talent shines through more obviously than usual. It was no surprise that it came down to the famous duel between the two best riders in the world- Absalon vs. Schurter.
The race unfolded in a pattern we've seen before. Together with Mathias Flückiger Nino put the hammer down in first lap while Absalon and Kulhavy where not in the top ten at the beginning. Both reacted with a good effort to make it to the front. Absalon made it all the way up to Schurter, Kulhavy got stuck in the group with the two Flückiger brothers and Spanish Sergio Mantecon. From that moment on it was one of these unpredictable eye to eye fights between Schurter and Absalon. Half way through the race the action peaked with a breath taking moment. On the most difficult descent- the famous Beatrice- Nino was riding in second position behind Julien and tried to take the inside line. He was the only one rider to be able to manage this section. Unfortunately Julien got into Nino's way. The result was a crash in a place where nobody wants to go down. Luckily, neither the body nor the bike did not sustain any damage.
After a hard chase back an angry Nino was up with Julien again to battle it out for the win. In Canada they say, "Don't poke the bear!" And like in a good Hollywood movie the excitement only gets bigger towards the end. Nino's attack came with 1 ½ laps to go on a longer climb. He managed to get 5-7 seconds out of Julien, but his French rival did not give up on the win. They both put each other into the hurt box until the end. That being said, Nino did not let go of this one, clinching his 12th World Cup victory in the process.
"Sweet how this triumph came together. Hard fighting in a tough duel and all of this here in Canada at one of the most classic of all MTB races. It is almost like a fairy tail. It is a miracle that I got out of this crash with no damage!"
– Nino Schurter, World Champion SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team
Florian Vogel was shooting for a top ten result and until two laps to go it looked like he could accomplish this mission. The heat and humidity started to take out of his performance which made him fade back to 15th at the end.
Flo Vogel and the Beatrice downhill: a love-hate relationship.[/caption] Here in MSA the double dose of work did not play out well for Marcel Wildhaber. In the Eliminator he missed the semi-final to finish in 9th. With tired lugs, Sunday was never going to be easy. In addition he had to start way back which was a big disadvantage here. He never got into a good racing rhythm and ended up in a disappointing 61st. Also, Andri Frischknecht was not satisfied with his 15th place in the U23 race. Like Florian he was close to a top ten finish until towards the end where cramps in his legs were holding him back.
Good news came from Jenny Rissveds. After a time of struggles with some health issues she is back on top of her game. In the Eliminator she only had to give way to Kathrin Stirnemann finishing 2nd. Jenny wouzld manage to get another podium spot in the XCO Women's U23 race. She finished solidly in 3rd place behind Yana Belomoina (UKR) and Margot Moschetti (FRA). This was good enough to hold on to her World Cup leader's jersey.