SCOTT - Swisspower, London Calling
The SCOTT - Swisspower were quite successful at the UCI MTB World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium this past weekend. Team rider Nino Schurter powered his SCOTT Scale across the line in second, putting him on the box once again. Nino retains the leaders jersey going into round three. He and Olympic champion Julien Absalon battled it out and although Absalon came out on top, Nino is motivated to improve and maintain the World Cup lead. 2012 is a complex season for the XC World Cup being an Olympic year, there are many individual goals for the athletes but nearly all want to be selected for their countrys' Olympic Team. Florian Vogel put himself back into Olympic contention with his heroic charge from 61st on the start grid up to sixth at the finish line.
The new course in Houffalize was extremely challenging from all aspects. Nino drove the pace from the onset and was responsible for the breakaway with Julien Absalon. The duo left Fumic-Kulhavy-Fontana and Stander behind. From then on it was a great battle between the two champions. A surprise attack by the winner, who waited until the final lap to show his hand, put Schurter in Second place and still leading the WC points race.
"I felt good throughout the race, was confident too, but towards the end the steep climbs got me. Julien choose the right moment to attack me. He was the stronger one up the last climbs. It's not a shame to loose against a champion like him," said Nino after the race.
Florian Vogel made a steady charge from the gun and had put himself in 11th place after one lap. "I don't know how I did it, but it's pretty clear that besides good legs I also had a lot of luck finding the right holes after the start. From then on I was totally stoked riding full out for the rest of the race," remarked Vogel. "With a first row start the result would most likely be even better. But first of all I'm happy I'm back in the game for the Olympic selection".
A rider must rank in the top 8 of the World Cup to be selected for the Swiss Olympic team, which is a formidable force on the World Cup today. If more than two riders are in the top 8, and this will most likely be the case, the better rider is selected. Nino has already made the Team, however the current rankings show Florian and Lukas Flückiger are both in the top 8, meaning every point counts right now for these two. This may be one of the best battles we'll see unfold this season with the chance to compete in London on the line.
Geoff Kabush of SCOTT - 3Rox is finding his form aboard his new SCOTT bikes cruising to 11th place. Geoff has continued to select the 29'r, a new option available to him since his equipment changed this season. The North American based Team is headed to Sea Otter this week where the MTB season official 'kicks off' in Monterey, CA.
Elite Women's Race
Maja Wloszczowska of Poland's CCC team also had a great race taking 3rd place podium spot. Maja has also elected to ride the 29'r this week, a trend we've seen taking hold at the front of the Elite Women's race.
Another compelling race unfolded for the SCOTT-Swisspower juniors. Missing round one in PMB, Andri started 31st and Dominic in 81st position. Both riders performed well. Andri was in the lead for most of the race but in the end was overtaken by French Seigel to finished second. Dominic moved all the way up to 10th place- a remarkable acheivement starting from 81st.