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Jose Antonio Hermida, Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter at the front on the start loop.
Swiss national series detailed for 2011
The third annual Racer Bikes Cup will kick off with its opening round on March 26-27 in Schaan in the Principality of Liechtenstein. The rest of the eight-round Swiss cross country national series will happen across Switzerland and will conclude in late August.
Current world champion José Antonio Hermida of Spain, Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France and overall World Cup champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland are expected to start in Schaan. Top world ranked female Elisabeth Osl of Austria will be competing in the women's race.
The series, which is again sponsored by Athleticum, draws the best Swiss racers and many from abroad, too.
"For many years, we've had good internal competitions at a high level," said Andi Seeli of the Racer Bikes Cup of the top notch competition at most Racer Bikes Cups.
Such strong levels of racing on home soil have only helped the Swiss maintain their dominance in elite cross country mountain biking. The nation is currently ranked number one by the UCI.
Last year, Swiss mountain bikers earned medals at the European Championships in Israel, the marathon Worlds in Italy and at cross country Worlds in Canada. They also won three of the six elite men's cross country World Cups and the overall with Nino Schurter in the elite category and Matthias Flückiger among the under 23s.
The high level of competition at all levels within the series benefits the next generation of mountain bikers, too, as the have the opportunity race among the best as they mature.
"Thanks to the Racer Bikes Cup, young Swiss bikers of the future are recognized very early and the development of these athletes is better than in other countries," said Seeli.
For more information on the Racer Bikes Cup, visit www.racerbikescup.ch.
2011 Swiss Racer Bikes Cup
March 26-27: Schaan
April 9-10: Lugano/Tesserete
May 6-8: Solothurn Bike Days
June 4-5: Gränichen
June 11-12: Engelberg-Titlis
June 25-26: Chur
July 16-17: Plaffeien (run as Swiss National Championships)
August 27-28: Basel/Muttenz