World Champion Nino Schurter Wins Nove Mesto World Cup
It’s been all Julien Absalon in the Men’s Elite UCI Mountain Bike World Cup scene so far this season. While the two-time Olympic Champion had already secured World Cup victories in both Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and Cairns, Australia, the current World Champion, Schurter looked to regain control of the World Cup podium. The Swiss native did just that, topping the field by an eight second margin in front of 20,000 screaming fans in the Czech Republic. Absalon finished in the fifth position, twenty-nine seconds back.
In typical Schurter fashion, the eventual race winner attacked from the get-go leading the race from the very first lap, never looking back. The victory in Nove Mesto was the third at that venue for Schurter in his career, making it obviously a place where he enjoys racing.
“Nove Mesto is an awesome place,” Schurter said. “The spectators are so cool here. It is a really nice atmosphere to race here. I always come with a good feeling to this race.”
After sitting out of the second round of the World Cup Tour in Cairns, Australia, opting to compete in a road race with Orica Green Edge, Schurter came back to his native sport with a vengeance; earning 250 points towards his overall UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country standings and keeping him in the UCI Ranking lead.
“My plan was to start fast because Absalon is always struggling a bit at the start,” Schurter added. “I had a good start, I went from the beginning in the front. Mid-race I was not feeling that good, but then Martin Fanger flatted and I was again alone in the lead, and I just gave my best. Luckily I made it to the finish. I’m very happy about my third victory here.”
In the women’s elite race, Pauline Ferrand Prevot of France took the World Cup victory. The Under-23 rider, who is also a top road cycling athlete, shot out from the onset of the race, just like Schurter and put up the fastest lap splits on every lap from there on out. This was Prevot’s first career women’s elite UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country victory. Oakley’s Catherine Pendrel finished in second place after returning from a nasty collarbone injury just eight weeks prior..