Schurter favored to win at home
After hosting the Swiss championships two years ago, mountain bikers will return to Chur for the sixth round of the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup this weekend. For World Cup racers, it is the last chance to test the legs before the two North American rounds in early July.
Nino Schurter is the favorite to win and regain the Racer Bikes Cup series lead while Lisi Osl, Irina Kalentieva and Katrin Leumann are expected to battle in the women's race.
A sprint event in the city of Chur will kick off the action Friday night. Happening on Lower Station Road, the race is not far from Schurter's home. It will be tough for anyone to beat a well rested Schurter.
"I had three great weeks of training and furthered my good form," said Schurter of his recent break from racing. "Churchill is my final preparation for the next block of World Cup racing overseas. I want to feel strong and rebuild my confidence."
Florian Vogel has similar intentions. After winning his home race in Gränichen, he is also using this weekend's racing as final preparation for the World Cups.
Although riders from 13 nations are expected on the start line, Swiss riders Lukas Flückiger, Patrick Gallati, Fabian Giger, Martin Fanger, Thomas Litscher and Martin Gujan are probably the biggest challengers to the Scott-Swisspower Vogel-Schurter duo.
Schurter, Vogel and the Flückiger brothers Lukas and Matthias are all ranked in the top-10 of the world.
Looking at the women's race, two years ago at nationals, Leumann won the national title, and she'd be happy to win again in Chur. But her Ghost teammate Osl may have something to say about that. They'll both be working against former world champion Kalentieva, who won the race in Gränichen and is likely to be the toughest opposition for the two.
Following the sprint event on Friday night, the elite and junior racers will compete in the cross country on Sunday.
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