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The next round of the Swiss BMC Cup is happening in Gränichen this weekend. 2012 Swiss Olympians Florian Vogel, Nino Schurter and Ralph Näf will be competing as will Esther Süss and Kathrin Leumann. Gränichen has previously hosted the Swiss Cup as well as the national championships in 2000, 2007 and 2010.
The course features singletrack, steep climbs, fast descents and technically demanding parts. One week after the European Championships and one week before the next World Cup, athletes from 20 nations will test their form en route to the Olympic Games in London.
Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti from Rwanda will be joining a host of top-ranked men at the start. Schurter, last year's winner Vogel, Ralph Näf, Lukas Flückiger, Fabian Giger and local U23 racer Matthias Stirnemann will be there for Switzerland.
"I wish for a home victory and above all, great weather and a new attendance record," said Vogel.
The foreign contingent lining up will include Frenchman Maxime Marotte, newly crowned European champion Moritz Milatz of Germany and former world champion Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain.
In the women's race, Esther Süss had battled Irina Kalentieva last year, with Kalentieva coming out the victor.
"I succeeded two years ago in Gränichen and would like to top the podium again," said a motivated Süss.
She will be challenged by local Kathrin Stirnemann, who won her first elite race earlier this year in Lugano / Tesserete. "My goal is to do a top five placing and offer the audience a spectacular race," said Stirnemann, who was fourth last year.
Kathrin Leumann of Switzerland, Olympic champion Sabine Spitz of Germany and Tereza Hurikova of Czech will be racing, too, along with newly crowned U23 European champion Jolanda Neff of Switzerland.
The elites will race the cross country on Sunday.