Nino Schurter added the UCI World Cup Champion jersey to his current UCI Cross Country World Champion jersey with his second place at the weekend’s series final, but a dispute over those very jerseys has seen the Swiss rider handed a 5,000 Swiss Franc ($4865 US) fine. Schurter committed a mountain biking faux pas by starting the series’ New York round in his world champion jersey instead of the World Cup leader colours.
Team director Thomas Frischknecht claimed that the leader's jersey he had been provided with was too small to race in, which is why the world championship jersey was worn. Frischknecht also pointed to Julien Absalon as the source of the protest that saw Schurter fined.
Frischknecht distributed an inflammatory e-mail afterwards, which read:
“Julien was at all times a great sportsmen when I raced against him and after too. I did not only respect him for his great results, I liked him as a person as well. Now he showed his real face of a sorry loser. Nino beat him over the whole season fair and square. A wrong jersey does not change the fact that Nino was better in 2010.
“When I raced against the French armada with Martinez, Dupouey, Chiotti and Absalon I had to live with a second place many times. Sometimes even under special circumstances [when Chiotti won the world title and later admitted to doping]. But I tried to be a fair loser. A champion, and as such I counted Julien up ‘till today, also is a champion in losing.
“Sorry Julien. I don't know what you were thinking!”
The fine was 12.5 times that issued when Carlos Barredo (QuickStep) and Rui Alberto Costa (Caisse d'Epargne) came to blows at the Tour de France this year. In that incident Barredo struck Costa with the front wheel he’d removed from his bicycle, before the pair fell to the ground brawling. Each rider was slugged 400 Swiss francs for the incident.
Despite the protest Schurter’s second place at the New York round secured him the overall title with 1136 points, followed by Absalon who claimed second place on a count-back after he and Jaroslav Kulhavy tied on 1040 points.