The SCOTT-Swisspower Team is heading into its 12th season. Thomas Frischknecht and his team of young riders will rely on their winning formula from the past few years. The head of the crew is the current number one cross country racer, world champion Nino Schurter. Florian Vogel, European champion of 2008, will be at his side. The two leaders of the team will start the season with a big event: the Cape Epic in South Africa, the world’s most prestigious mountain bike stage race. The countdown is on for the "Tour de France of mountain biking", and Schurter and Vogel can`t wait to hit the race courses in the heat of the South African summer. In their second participation since 2010, they will hunt for stage victories and will also keep an eye on the overall.
South Africa, here we are: Frischi and his crew during a little break.
Their first big training camp of the season was based in Stellenbosch, which is a sport-obsessed university town about a 45 minute-drive from Cape Town. Schurter and Vogel have been focussing on almost the opposite of what they did this time last year. Last February they had Olympic success in their sights– Schurter was narrowly beaten in the race for gold in London, while Vogel finished 25th. While they excel in short races lasting up to 90 minutes, few would back them to be contenders for the overall win at the 800km, eight-day stage race, which starts on 17 March. But Vogel and Schurter are backing themselves for a shot at the overall podium in their second Cape Epic participation.
White is the color every MTB athlete aims for. Only a true champion deserves it...
“We have not been training to win just a stage. We have been training and preparing to do well in the overall,” said Vogel. “Yes, we are not stage race specialists, but then not many of our rivals are either. We think we have as good a chance as anyone else.”
Unlike the marathon specialists, the biggest goal of SCOTT Swisspower will remain the Olympic cross-country world cup and the world championship. In both events, Nino will try to defend his championship title as he won both in 2012- as well as the silver medal in London. “The world championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa is definitely my main target. As the world champion it is clear I want to defend my title. And even more so because I love the course in Pietermaritzburg." And his chances are not too bad: "In 2011 and 2012 I won the world cup there, so I know this course suits me. Though, right now I put my head into the Cape Epic. It is going to be a hard but exciting experience.”
Team shoot on some beautiful trails in South Africa.
Florian Vogel will try to get back into the top 5 in the world ranking. “My 2012 season unfolded not to my favor. But I know how to get back on the podium. I’m pretty optimistic that things will go a lot better, therefore I’m looking forward to this season."
Marcel Wildhaber remains the specialist for cyclo-cross racing. But more and more he will also become a contender on the mountain bike. The new Eliminator format is something that suits Marcel especially well. In the U 23 category Frischi`s son Andri Frischknecht will be on the start line. In his first year as an U23 he will most likely pay his dues, but hopefully will develop well for the future.
The new kids on the block are the juniors Manuel Fasnacht and Robing Gemperle. The tradition of the team to develop young talents continues to prevail.
Both get the chance to develop their riding on a world class team and benefit from the experience of the best pros such as Nino and Florian.
The brand new world champion helmet: SCOTT Vanish EVO
Schedule Team SCOTT-Swisspower 2013:
19.05.2013#1 Worldcup Albstadt (GER)
26.05.2013#2 Worldcup Move Mesto (CZE)
16.06.2013#3 Worldcup Val di Sole (ITA)
23.06.2013 CC European championships Bern (CH)
28.07.2013#4 Worldcup Vallnord (AND)
11.08.2013#5 Worldcup Mt. St. Anne (CAN)
31.08.2013 World championship CC, (RSA)
15.09.2013#6 Worldcup Final Hafjell (NOR)