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Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team).
Swiss star sticks to mountain biking through 2016 Olympics
Mountain bike world champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) spent a few weeks racing on the road earlier this season with the Orica-GreenEdge team. However, the Swiss star said that does not mean he'll be switching to the road any time soon.
"It was an awesome experience for me to see what the road world is like," said Schurter to Cyclingnews. "It was important for me to see if it was something I would like to do. Now I had the chance to do two big races and see how it goes there."
What is on Schurter's agenda is the 2016 Olympics in Rio. After getting the silver medal in 2012 in London, a gold medal is on his mind.
"I'm on the mountain bike definitely until 2016, and after that, it's open for me to do what I want to do."
"I would say it's not possible to do both at the same time on the highest level. That wasn't my goal though. My goal was to see how it is in the road world. I wanted to see if it was something I'd like to do at some point."
When asked what his impressions were of the experience of pro road racing, which he did during both the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse, Schurter said, "It was totally different racing on the road. As a mountain biker, it's hard because we're not used to riding in that kind of racing. A mountain bike race is really intense but short. On the road, you never go that hard like you do in a mountain bike race, but you have to perform over a longer distance, which is totally different."
Schurter enjoyed his time with Orica-GreenEdge, but didn't think he'd be likely to race more WorldTour races in the near future.
"It's not that easy to get in the ProTour. Normally, you're not allowed to have two difference licenses from two different teams," he said. "It was quite a bit of work to get that permission. So probably, it won't work again, but maybe I still do some smaller races. But if I had a chance to ride those races again, I'd do it.
"The Orica-GreenEdge team was super happy and they would take me again any time if we could work out the licensing."
Schurter took away many lessons from his time on the road. "I learned a lot of small things, like how they prepare, what they eat. I learned small details from a different kind of athlete. It was definitely an awesome experience."
Schurter will race next weekend in the final World Cup of the 2014 season, then he'll head to the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Norway in early September.