Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) won his first elite World Championship at age 23 in 2009, but it wasn't until this past weekend that he took his first World Cup victory. Along with the Olympic Games in 2010, winning a World Cup has been one of the young Swiss rider's major goals.
On Sunday, In Dalby Forest in Yorkshire, England, a new venue on the World Cup circuit, Schurter rode to victory, after a sprint finish with 2009 World Cup overall champion Julien Absalon (Orbea).
Among a lead group of nine, only Absalon and Schurter could answer Under 23 World Champion Burry Stander's attack. Absalon then attacked on the final lap, and Schurter was just barely able to hang on while Stander dropped off.
It came down to a replay of the 2009 World Championship final with Absalon battling Schurter to the end, but this time it was Absalon who came out of the final corner first for the sprint up the long finish straight.
Up until 20m to go, it looked like Absalon would get his revenge, but Schurter came around in the final meters to take the win by a mere 10cm, the closest sprint finish in the 20 years of mountain bike World Cup racing.
Schurter will get another shot at a World Cup win this weekend at round two in Houffalize, Belgium.