New Cross Country World Champion Nino Schurter has his sights set on ousting taking the gold medal from Julien Absalon at the next Olympic Games in London. France's Absalon had no answers for Switzerland's Schurter today in Canberra, Australia, who topped Absalon in a strategic battle to the finish.
Schurter won last year's Under 23 title and became the first rider to win the elite men's cross country race on debut. He believes the mental advantage he gained standing up against Absalon was key to his victory.
"I was in a really good situation riding on his back wheel, where I could preserve a lot of energy. It proved that we have such a strong team and that helped a lot," said Schurter.
Schurter refused to think of winning until the final 3.1 kilometres of the race despite bravery in attacking four-time champion Absalon
"It's amazing, he is the best mountain biker ever," Schurter said. "It's a great feeling. This morning I wasn't thinking that I could beat him and now I've done it.
Schurter said it was the perfect course, technical with slightly short climbs.
"Maybe on the second half of the last lap [I started to believe I could win]," he added. "I was thinking he was making a lot of mistakes and he was not able to get the gap on me. So I started think, well, maybe I should try it."
Absalon is undefeated at the Olympic Games, having won on debut at the 2004 Athens Games. He said he plans to win a third gold in 2012, but Schurter has newly found confidence.
"I had a lot of luck today to beat him," he said. "If we can beat him again in the next races, maybe in London, that would be great."
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