Olympic champion Julien Absalon, World Champion Irina Kalentieva and World Cup overall winner Elisabeth Osl are among those on the start list for the second round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Lugano / Tesserete this weekend, April 11. A world-class field is expected to contest Sunday's Swiss National Series race on a demanding circuit in the forests around Turm von Redde.
Last year's winner Florian Vogel is still recovering from the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa. "Tesserete is one of the best rounds of the Racer Bikes Cup," he said. "The majority is on singletrack, and a fast start is very important to the race.
"Abaslon is the top favorite, and he will certainly try to depose everyone else at the beginning of the race. Depending on the weather conditions, the technical route may become even more difficult... this is something that would accommodate Absalon even more." The Frenchman, a multi-time World Champion, is known for his excellent technical skills.
Others to watch include the Swiss riders Lukas Flückiger and and Thomas Litscher, but young gunslike Matthias Flückiger, Patrick Gallati and Marco Arnold are capable of anything. Others like Italian champion Marco Aurelio Fontana, Italian Tony Longo, Germans Wolfram Kurschat and Moritz Milatz and Spaniard Ivan Alvarez are other promising foreign candidates for the top places.
"Half the world" will be at the start
Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann was impressed when she studied the start list for the women's race. "I tend to do smaller races like last year, where there is national-level competition, but it seems like half the world will be at the start," she said.
Leumann, who won in Lugano / Tesserete in 2009, will be joined by World Champion Irina Kalentieva and top-world-ranked rider Lisi Osl. French champion Cécile Ravanel and Italy's Eva Lechner are also expected.
"We will have to go full throttle. For the upcoming World Cup races, we Swiss women can only benefit from this strong competition, even though it will not be easy," said Leumann.
She described the course as very fluid with constant ups and downs on singletrack with plenty of roots. "In this race, a top five placing will be a super result," she said.
Nathalie Schneitter, Marielle Saner-Guinchard and Sarah Koba are the Swiss women to watch.
In the remaining licensed categories, Stefan Peter, Roger Walder und Jolanda Neff are favorites. Lukas Loretz and Markus Schulte-Lünzum are favorites in the amateur race as is last year's junior world championship medallist and Swiss Cyclist of the year Reto Indergand.
500 riders are pre-registered, and the weather forecast is favorable.