Jürg Graf (Felt International MTB Team) and Elisabeth Osl (central GHOST Pro Team) took wins in the opening round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Schaan, Switzerland, on Sunday after favorites Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking Team) and Sabine Spitz (central GHOST Pro Team) surprised their fellow competitors by not winning their respective races. Spitz took fourth place in the women's race, but Näf pulled out of the men's race due to illness.
"I was up sick on Thursday and knew that I could not fight for victory," said Näf, who also praised the course.
Näf was at the front of the race for four laps along with Martin Gujan (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Graf. Gujan and Graf pushed each other until the end of the seventh lap. That's when Graf attacked Gujan on a climb. Then, it was a one-man show until the end as Graf extended his lead to over a minute at the finish. Gujan finished second and 37-year-old former road pro Alexandre Moos (BMC) took third. The top under 23 racer was Patrick Gallati (Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing) in fourth place overall.
In the women's race, 24-year-old Austrian Osl took off from the start. The Austrian National Champion left the rest of her competition behind.
Throughout the race multiple-time Swiss National Champion Petra Henzi (Fischer-BMC) raced in second place, and she was overjoyed with her finish, saying afterward, "The race was super. I'm really happy." She was two minutes behind Osl.
Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann (goldwurst-power / Sputnik) finished third. Olympic Champion Spitz was already off the pace on the first lap. She finished in fourth place.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup in Schaan.