Nino Schurter has taken the win in Round # 4 of the XCO World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra and extends his overall lead with 820 pts. "This was a huge step in order to win the overall World Cup again this year," Nino said just after putting in a breathtaking performance in the final lap in the high altitude of the Pyrenées. The race was held at 2000m above sea level, a tough task for the endurance athletes.
Even though Nino is again on a winning streak this year, this victory was not taken for granted- Nino was losing air in his front tire in the beginning of the race and had to catch up to the leading group. Luckily he did not loose too much time and was able to continue the race in 11th position. Only in the very last lap was he able to take over Ondrej Cinq, the under 23 World Champion. With Florian Vogel in 7th and Marcel in 41st, SCOTT-Swisspower also took the win in the team ranking now leading with 64 pts.
From the second lap, Cinq was racing at an incredibly high pace on his full suspelsion 29er. But the high pace of the chasers melted the gap down to 18 seconds with half a lap to go. Then it was time for Nino to step up his game. He smelled the blood and took major risks during the long fast descent where he flatted on the first lap. Nino changed the race in one of the last downhill sections, literally flying down the rooty singletrack on his 27.5" hardtail. With a mind blowing acceleration in the next uphill he took the lead- and would not give it back, winning with a 6 sec gap over Cinq and French racer Stéphane Tempier.
In a very intense battle with the top three all finishing within 11 seconds of each other, Nino did not let go of his leading position to win his 3rd World Cup of this year- and the 10th of his career. He showed to be a real champion by winning even things didn't work perfectly for him. Vallnord was more proof that he is the best XCO athlete at the moment.
"This one really cames as a surprise. After the flat I wanted to finish in top five for the World Cup overall. Last lap I felt comfortable to go for second. And when I saw Cink not far ahead of us I got the wings and took a lot of risk on the downhills. It payed off perfectly to this sweet victory," the totally exhausted winner said at the finish.
7th place finisher Florian Vogel was happy with his result: "It's good to be back racing in the front row again. I'm only a little bit away from the podium and I'm moving in the right direction from now on."
Nino extended his lead in the overall World Cup ranking, because none of his main competitors made it in the top five at Vallnord. At 820 points with two races remaining, Schurter leads round one winner Daniel McConnell by 280 points, with Julien Absalon another 30 points back, tied with Cink.
SCOTT Swisspower is not only the most successful team in the XCO, but also mixes up the new Cross Country Eliminator races. Marcel Wildhaber finished 5th while Swedish Jenny Riessved came in 3rd in the finals.