N1NO Schurter in 7th Heaven
N1NO Schurter today added the 7th World Champion Title to his list of victories and the 4th in a row. In front of 24.000 spectators- and at the biggest XC race in history- N1NO dominated the race from the Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer was the only one who managed to keep the fight alive- until the end of the 6th lap, when N1NO decided to brake away and set the final attack.
Racing on his home turf, N1NO pushed himself to the next level: "It was hard, and harder than it maybe looked like. I didn't have the best legs today. However, my fans made me forget about all the pain- it was truly epic."
Before N1NO set the attack to get away, he and his Italian rival kept a bigger chasing group including Henrique Avancini (BRA), Florian Vogel (SUI), Mathieu van der Poel (NEL) and Matthias Flückiger (SUI) at a solid distance for several laps. "I knew that Kerschbaumer would be the strongest competitor today as he had a super strong season", N1NO stated. After an attack from van der Poel, things were getting even more exciting as the Dutch Champion pushed an unbelievable hard pace from the middle of the race. It became obvious that this World Champion race would be decided between the three main rivals of the 2018 World Cup season- N1NO, Kerschbaumer, and van der Poel.
But N1NO not only knew every single root of this track. He also was patient and smart enough to keep calm and wait for the best moment to launch the final attack. With a 11sec lead, N1NO crossed the finish line ahead of Kerschbaumer and van der Poel (+1:14). The arena of Lenzerheide was upside-down, thousands of fans gathered at the finish and cheered to their local hero, the old- and new - World Champion.
"Together with the Olympic Gold medal, which I could win in 2016 in Rio, this probably is my sweetest victory. It felt like racing in standing ovations. Finally watching all the spectators at the ceremony going crazy is something which I would have not imagined, not in my wildest dreams. The great atmosphere in Lenzerheide is not only because of me and my success, it also a statement for mountain biking in Switzerland", N1NO said.
"I'm speechless. To win this race in front of my fans here in Switzerland is what money can't buy! The crowds literally pushed me to deliver. It was so incredibly loud, and simply the best feeling I've ever had racing a mountain bike. Thanks to everyone who came up here."
As of today, N1NO Schurter calls three Olympic medals (a bronze, a silver and a golden one) his own, he is a 7x World Champion, and a 6 time World Cup Champion. In addition, he has 30 World Cup wins to his name- three WC wins still missing to equalize Julien Absalon's record of 33 wins.
N1NO Schurter's Spark RC 900 Special Edition for Lenzerheide
Nino Schurter rides one of the lightest, stiffest and fastest bikes available on the market, the Spark RC 900 World Cup. This 9.86 kg (incl. pedlas) race-dedicated full-suspension weapon is bred to win. For the UCI Worlds at Lenzerheide, SCOTT and Sram's designers worked together on a Swiss Army Knife style race design with tons of nice details. Learn more about all Specs and details here.
First Elite World Championships for Andri Frischknecht
Andri Frischknecht finished in an excellent 13th place ahead of Maxime Marotte (FRA) "If you don't enter the Top Ten in the first descent on this course, you're in trouble. Manuel Fumic (GER) crashed just in front of me in the very first descent so everyone was forced to walk down the first downhill", Andri said. "I was fighting my way back to the race step-by-step. It was unreal racing in front of this crowd- it was actually hard to stay focused because the fans were cheering so loud and so enthusiastic."
"My goal was to enter the Top 10. Finishing in 13th is what I am super proud of though! It was my first elite World Championships and the experience was amazing! Racing in front of 24.000 fans cheering at you is what you'll never forget. With two Top Ten results in the World Cup and today, I am looking forward to next season with an hopefully even greater consistancy."
Andri Frischknecht, SCOTT- SRAM MTB Racing
SCOTT Juniors sweeping podiums at UCI Worlds
Not only Nino Schurter delivered at Worlds. SCOTT rider Laura Stigger was also successfully defending her junior women's XCO title in Lenzerheide. The young Austrian was riding away from the pack on the first climb, and extending her lead throughout the race. Laura won the Junior category with a lead by over three minutes.
Alexandre Balmer of SCOTT's Development Team is the third World Champion of this years' competitions on SCOTT bikes. The young Swiss was fighting hard to close a 40 sec gap he suffered from the beginning of the Junior's race. He managed to win by a 2 sec lead over German Leon Kaiser. Balmer, one of the biggest swiss talents in cycling, is junior national champion in TT, Road and MTB. "My goal is to stick with mountain biking and once take part at the Olympics", Balmer stated after the race.
Both Balmer and Stigger are preparing now for the Road World Championships in Innsbruck.
Photos: Sven Martin, Jochen Haar, Armin M. Küstenbrück/ego-promotion