Nino Schurter of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team won the Gran Premio Apertura in Rivera, Switzerland, which was held on the 2003 World Championship track near Lugano. Spectators at Monte Tamaro saw a dominat race from the World Champion, leaving behind Julien Absalon (BMC) and Thomas Litscher (Multivan-Merida). Nino`s team mate Florian Vogel finished in 4th. The C2 race was the season opener for European XC racers.
2014 Race Season, here we are! World Champion Nino Schurter of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing crossing the finish line in 1st place- familiar territory.
Nino Schurter's focus in 2014 is a bit different to previous years: The 3x World Champion and 3x World Cup Overall winner is looking for new ways to develop his skills and therefore he will switch disciplines part-time to race the Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie on the road. Another season highlight starts already on Sunday- The ABSA Cape Epic, the most prestigious stage race for mountain bikers in the world. He will race the Cape Epic together with his new racing partner Philip Buys, the 2014 African Champion.
"Over the winter I put in a lot more training hours and especially more basic and long distance training in order to pervail at the Cape Epic and in my road experiences. The GP Apertura was the perfect warm up for South Africa," stated Nino. The 27 year old dominated the race from the start line. Only Absalon, Litscher and Vogel could stay in sight with him but were never close to beating him. "The track was a perfect showcase for a 27.5" bike: It was technically demanding with a lot of switchbacks and speed changes," Nino explained aftre the race. "I'm happy to see that the change in my preparation did not have any bad influence on my agility and power."
Nino Schurter on top of the podium at Monte Tamaro.
The Bonelli Park Cup was the first HC-categorized event to take place in America, and as a result of the UCI points up for grabs, a world class grid lined up in Bonelli Park, California.
Geoff Kabush (SCOTT-3Rox) coming off a second place in Austin at the Mellow Johny’s race was fired up to do well here. The race developed with a seven man lead group that included Olympic bronze medalist Marco Fontana and Vice-World Champion Manuel Fumic (both Cannondale Factory Racing), US Short Track National Champion Todd Wells (Specialized), Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Trek Factory Racing), Kabush and US Cross Country National Champion Stephen Ettinger (BMC).
At just over an hour and half of racing Kabush crossed the line to take his first ever UCI HC-categorized win. "It's been a lot of 2nd's the last several years in the National series, so it's really nice to stand atop the podium", said Kabush. With a 2nd place in Austin and a win in Bonelli, Kabush also takes over the US Cup series lead.
Click on the image to listen Geoff's race recap on Cyclingdirt.