Eins Zwei Drei and Vier
Nino Schurter cannot lose in front of home fans
Scott – SRAM rider Nino Schurter has won UCI World Cup races this season at Nové Město, Albstadt, Andorra, and now Lenzerheide, Switzerland. At this point, saying that the World and Olympic Champion is unbeatable seems a bit less like hyperbole and more like simple observation
Schurter, who lives just 20 minutes away from Lenzerheide, admitted to feeling a bit more stress at his “home” World Cup than other events, stating that the extra pre-race appearances and the added number of friends, family and sponsors adds some pressure. Though you never would have known it from the performance he laid down on Sunday afternoon.
Nino had the race under control from the gun — as we’ve become accustomed — forcing the pace brutally when it suited him and backing off when he was able. The crowd favorite clearly conducted a master class in the art of XC to win his fourth in a row this year
The Swiss superstar is enjoying a stellar season. Incredibly, though, he’s feeling less pressure overall — despite the weight of an Olympic Gold medal, and the World Championship jersey on his back.
“For me, this year is totally different than last year,” Schurter explained. “Last year, I felt so much pressure from myself, but also from outside; I really wanted to do everything perfect. This year, I still can benefit from all of those investments we did last year, but I have much less stress. I’m not really nervous anymore — I enjoy it much more. I feel super strong and without so much pressure — and that makes a super good combination.”
Take a quick look at the Elite Women’s results, and one of the columns reads like this: 1990, 1973, 1992, 1993, 1992. Those are the birth years of the top five finishers. That’s right, 2nd place finisher Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa is 20 years older than many of the other top competitors, but the two decades of added experience can pay off at the World Cup level. Gunn-Rita battled in and out of the top spots for the entire race, and finished just 13 seconds short of the win.
The Fast One
Myriam Nicole takes the Lenzerheide World Cup win and her first-ever World Cup leader’s jersey
Confidence is everything for an athlete. Just a few short weeks ago, Myriam “Pompon” Nicole took top honors in the downhill at Crankworx Les Gets. She followed it up last weekend with a premier podium spot at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill at Vallnord, Andorra. And she repeated this past weekend with another World Cup win in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Suffice to say, Pompon is on a roll. The French rider has found the mythical “form” that the ancient Tour de France riders talked about — still talk about. And her current form has taken her all the way to the UCI World Cup leader’s jersey — a first for the 27-year-old.
Given the race weekend’s intermittent rain, racers were challenged to change their lines throughout practice, qualifying and race runs — and Nicole was no exception.
“There is one line I changed this morning because it was a bit wet,” she explained. “And I changed it again in my race — it was a line I never took — and I think this was the fast one.”
World Cup downhill, with few exceptions, is an extremely dynamic and exciting sport. The time gap that separates the winner from, say, 10th place is never much more than a few scant seconds, and fans are typically pinned to the edges of their seats until the final rider crosses the finish line. And the Elite Men’s race at Lenzerheide delivered another great show.
Troy Brosnan, fresh off his first World Cup win in a few years, bobbled a bit in practice, but still laid down a qualifying run that was good enough for second quickest. When he crossed the line in Lenzerheide, the Aussie was good for another 2nd — just 0.162 of a second away from the win.