It has been a fantastic weekend for the SCOTT riders. Not only did we have two riders in the top 10, but with Geoff Kabush in 12th and Derek Zandstra in 13th, both riding for our Canadian Team SCOTT 3 Rox Racing, the SCOTT family had a strong showing at the US World Cup in Windham, NY. Jenny Rissved's victory in the Eliminator World Cup was underlining the dominance of #scott2luvit.
One week after the battle royal in Mont Saint Anne the mission of both rivals was clear. Absalon wanted revenge, Schurter wanted validation. The course in Windham, New York is not the most exciting, not technical at all and has very long climbs- nothing that especially suits Nino. That being said, we learned that even a bad track can offer great racing action when the players are even. The course was more in favor of Julien- no doubt here. Nino on the other hand was in terrific shape. Going into it, anything could happen.
The podium at the end of the day was similar to that of Mt. Sainte Anne with the same guys in slightly different order. Much like last week, the battle for victory would be very similar once again- Schurter v. Absalon. Once difference to last week was the winning bike. This week, SCOTT-Odlo decided to ride the SCOTT Spark 700. The way the race panned out was a bit different than usual as well. This could have been due to the fact that Nino was on a full suspension bike, and Absalon on a hardtail.
At first the Flückiger brothers Mathias and Lukas held the lead together with Schurter and Absalon. Ultimately, they stayed out of the real battle. Schurter soon figured out that he could get his full suspension Spark down the hill a good 10-15 seconds faster than Absalon on his hard tail. But Absalon would not be Absalon if he would let it go this easily and always rode up the hill 10-15 seconds faster than Nino. The only time they rode together was a few meters at the top of the climb. Somehow they where even, yet they weren't technically speaking riding together. This made for a spectacular race to watch, and for good content for the hardtail v. fully in XC debate. In the end, Nino was able to get a few seconds out of Julien in the second to last lap, and did not let go. Was it the bike or the talent? Both?
Behind Absalon this time was Lukas Flückiger in third, followed by Australien Daniel Mc Connell and Mathias Flückiger. At the finish Nino was more than pleased about his double strike in North America. "It was somehow a cat and mouse game today. Even if I was always a bit ahead, I was hunted all race long. This was not a safe and comfortable situation. I'm happy it played out well in the end. I'm stoked to add two World Cup wins in 8 days to my bank."
A crash in front of Florian Vogel would slow him down in the first lap. Sitting in 16th he soon found a rythm that moved him up spot by spot. With the top ten in sight he had fire in his eyes to ride one of the fastest last laps. The effort payed out well to secure him a great 9th place.
After a few second places in the Eliminator discipline, Jenny Rissveds showed that she is hungry for more. With an impressive performance she beat World Cup leader Kathrin Stirnemann by a few centimeters to take her first Eliminator World Cup win of the year. Her 4th win at the sweet age of 20- not so bad! The Cross Country race was not as lucky. A crash in the first lap broke her saddle which had to be changed. She battled her way back to finish in 4th place. Only 5 seconds behind 3rd. And a third place was needed to keep the World Cup leaders jersey. Now it's on winner Margot Moschetti's (also riding on SCOTT bikes) shoulders. With Yana Belamoina there will be three girls in a tight points battle at the World Cup finals in Meribel, France in two weeks.
The men's Eliminator race saw Marcel Wildhaber advancing to the semi final where he finished in a solid 8th place. Andri Frischknecht finished in the top 10 in 9th. This came as a surprise as it was his first attempt ever in a Eliminator World Cup. His 6th fastest qualifying time showed he can get out of the gate quite fast.