Instead of horses, mountain bikers occupied the horse race track in Muttenz, Switzerland, last weekend. In front of an ecstatic crowd, Florian Vogel (Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) won the men's event, while local woman Kathrin Leumann (Goldwurst-power / Sputnik) celebrated her first victory of the season in round #3 of the Swisspower Cup.
Christoph Sauser (Specialized), who turned 32 on Sunday, and legend Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) did their first race in Switzerland, both having recently returned from Cape Epic in South Africa. Non-starters were Nino Schurter, who is taking a break from racing, as well as Ralph Näf and last year's winner José Hermida, both of whom opted to start in the Bundesliga race instead.
The race on the Schänzli (little ramp) was held over three laps on the track before heading out on a nine-kilometre loop, to be done six times. The pace was fast right from the gun and the decisive move came already on the first lap, with Florian Vogel and Martin Gujan (Athleticum MTB Team) able to get off the front. Italian champion Marco Fontana (Hard Rock FRW) was able to catch the duo, with Sauser and Lukas Flückiger (Athleticum MTB Team) chasing behind.
Fontana tried to attack, but couldn't drop the other two. Vogel's attack was more successful, dropping both riders initially. Gujan was able to fight back and he and Vogel started the last lap together. One kilometre from the line they had 30 seconds on Fontana. Vogel (bird) flew away from Gujan in the finale and won the race, with Gujan celebrating his second place like a victory. Fontana hung on to third, ahead of Sauser and Andreas Kugler (Fischer-BMC). Frischknecht finished sixth.
In the women's event, Maroussia Rusca (Scott Allianz Suisse), who has won the race twice in the past, did not start. Right from the beginning of the race, a leading group developed with Swiss champion Petra Henzi (Fischer-BMC), Kathrin Leumann, Esther Süss (Wheeler Pro Team/RC) and Marielle Saner (Bikepark.ch / BMC). Henzi dropped out after two laps. Leumann was cheered on by "her" spectators and won the race ahead of Süss and Saner.
See full results from the Swisspower Cup in Muttenz.