Schurter outduels Absalon in Val di Sole cross country

Swiss increases World Cup lead

Despite intense heat that saw many riders wilt, the cross-country mountain bike World Cup saw an intense battle between two riders right to the finish line at Val di Sole, Italy. World champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) outkicked his usual rival Julien Absalon (BMC) to win his second World Cup in a row, and now holds a commanding lead in the overall standings at the halfway mark of the 2013 World Cup series.

The Val di Sole course is renowned for steep climbs, technical singletrack and hot, humid conditions; and this year was no different. Many riders that went out hard early in the races were fading by the halfway point, including Italian favourite Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing).

However, two riders didn't appear to be bothered by the weather, with Schurter and Absalon attacking the rest of the field. Olympic champion and former Val di Sole winner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing XC) managed to stay with the duo for one lap before having to slow to his own pace. The two leaders steadily pulled away from the rest of the field, never gaining more than a bike length on each other as lap after lap went by.

Into the final lap the two were still neck-and-neck and, after more than 90 minutes of flat out racing, it came down to the final 200 metres and a sprint. Absalon initially tried to match Schurter, but fell back after 100 metres to finish three seconds down. Kulhavy held onto third, but was nearly two minutes behind the front two.

"It is awesome to win here again," said Schurter. "It is a really tough course with the steep uphills. It was amazing to battle with Absalon. The last years I was always battling here for the win - once I won - once I got second.

"I felt pretty strong in the beginning, then I saw Absalon was as well really strong . I never knew if he was playing with me, or if his attack is coming soon. I would say we are nearly the same, I am [just] a bit stronger in the sprint. I am very happy about my victory."

Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing), the surprise winner of round one, showed that his win was not luck. Starting a little slower, in the high teens, the Australian steadily worked his way up the rankings, and by the start of the last lap was up to sixth. He was closing on the two Fluckiger brothers - Lukas (BMC) and Mathias (Stockli Pro Team) - who were literally looking over their shoulders as he chased them down, finishing a scant four seconds back at the line.

Schurter now leads the men's standings with 570 points, followed by McConnell at 450 and Lukas Fluckiger with 440 points.

Full Results
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team1:32:47 
2Julien Absalon (Fra) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:00:03 
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing XC0:01:57 
4Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team0:02:28 
5Lukas Flückiger (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team  
6Daniel McConnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing0:02:32 
7Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:03:31 
8José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team  
9Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:19 
10Ondrej Cink (Cze) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:40 
11Alexander Gehbauer (Aut) TX Active Bianchi0:04:54 
12Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:05:20 
13Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Controltech Nevi0:05:33 
14Miguel Martinez (Fra)0:05:41 
15Thomas Litscher (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:06:10 
16Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing XC0:06:19 
17Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) Cycling Club Roma MTB Team0:06:42 
18Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:06:56 
19Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:07:12 
20Anton Sintsov (Rus) Titici LGL International Team0:07:30 
21Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team0:07:46 
22Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli0:07:59 
23Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing0:08:23 
24Jürg Graf (Swi) BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team0:08:26 
25Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:08:34 
26Michal Lami (Svk)0:08:47 
27Martin Gujan (Swi) TX Active Bianchi0:08:57 
28Castaneda Monsalve (Col)0:08:58 
29Andras Parti (Hun) Waberer's Areus Cube Mtb Team0:09:02 
30Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Focus XC Team0:09:07 
31Henrique Avancini (Bra) Caloi0:09:09 
32Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team0:09:13 
33Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team0:09:25 
34Ralph Naef (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:43 
35Martin Fanger (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:53 
36Martin Loo (Est) Merida Italia Team0:10:00 
37Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus XC Team0:10:18 
38Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls0:10:25 
39Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta-Corratec  
40Umberto Corti (Ita) Controltech Nevi0:10:52 
41Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Team Merida Wallonie MTB0:10:57 
42Zsolt Juhasz (Hun) Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team0:11:05 
43Marek Konwa (Pol) Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:11:45 
44Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:11:57 
45Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta-Corratec  
46Fabien Canal (Fra) Asptt Definitive Tec -1lap 
47Hans Becking (Ned) Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team  
48Frank Beemer (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team  
49Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra)  
50Paolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)  
51Giancarlo Sax (Swi)  
52Robby De Bock (Bel) Feenstra Felt p/b Kenda  
53Lucien Besancon (Swi)  
54Carl Jones (NZl)  
55Daniel Eymann (Swi)  
56Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)  
57Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)  
58Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC  
59Pascal Meyer (Swi) JB Felt Team  
60Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team  
61Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team  
62Patrik Gallati (Swi) Focus XC Team -2laps 
63Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing  
64Simon Scheiber (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team  
65Paul Oldham (GBr)  
66Karl Markt (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team  
67Pavel Priadein (Rus)  
68Jonas Baumann (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team  
69Ramon Sagues Portabella (Spa)  
70Matthias Wengelin (Swe)  
71Philip Buys (RSA)  
72Evgeniy Pechenin (Rus) Forward - Udmurtia  
73Michael Broderick (USA) -3laps 
74Kornel Osicki (Pol)  
75Florian Thie (Swi)  
76David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey Pro Team  
77Brice Scholtes (Bel) Team Merida Wallonie MTB  
78Marco Schätzing (Ger)  
79Umbert Almenara Verges (Spa)  
80Renay Groustra (RSA)  
81Tudor Oprea Ovidiu (Rom)  
82Sang Hoon Na (Kor) Calvisson VTT  
83Tim Wynants (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team  
84Martin Haring (Svk)  
85Timofei Ivanov (Rus) Forward - Udmurtia  
86Seiya Hirano (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team -4laps 
87Bostjan Hribovsek (Slo) Calcit Bike Team  
88Mykhaylo Batsutsa (Ukr) Cycling Club Roma MTB Team  
89Pascal Schmutz (Swi) Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli  
90Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)  
91Lucian Logigan (Rom)  
92Miguel Angel Hidalgo (Arg)  
93Volodymyr Zinovkin (Ukr)  
94Ali Cakas (Tur) -5laps 
95Mario Matijevic (Bel)  
96Mario Kojic (BiH)  
97Besik Gavasheli (Geo)  
DNFSven Nys (Bel)  
DNFSepp Freiburghaus (Swi)  
DNFErik Groen (Ned) Feenstra Felt p/b Kenda  
DNFJan Skarnitzl (Cze) SRAM Rubena Trek  
DNFMax Plaxton (Can)  
DNFPierluigi Bettelli (Ita)  
DNFAndy Eyring (Ger)  
DNFGerman Dorhmann (Arg)  
DNFJosé Juan Escarcega (Mex)  
DNFFabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team  
DNFJochen Kass (Ger)  
DNFMartino Fruet (Ita)  
DNSSilvio Busser (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team  
1Multivan Merida Biking Team66pts
2BMC Mountainbike Racing Team63 
3Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team58 
4Specialized Racing XC47 
5TX Active Bianchi43 
6Stöckli Pro Team30 
7Trek Factory Racing26 
8Cannondale Factory Racing24 
9Controltech Nevi18 
10Cycling Club Roma MTB Team14 
11Topeak Ergon Racing Team13 
12Titici LGL International Team11 
13Giant Pro XC Team10 
14Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli9 
15Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing8 
16BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team7 
17Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team2 
18Focus XC Team1 
World Cup standings - Individuals
1Nino Schurter (Swi)570pts
2Daniel McConnell (Aus)450 
3Lukas Flückiger (Swi)440 
4Julien Absalon (Fra)400 
5Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)374 
6Thomas Litscher (Swi)326 
7Mathias Flückiger (Swi)318 
8Ondrej Cink (Cze)310 
9Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita)294 
10Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa)260 
11Max Plaxton (Can)260 
12Maxime Marotte (Fra)255 
13Rudi Van Houts (Ned)254 
14Martin Fanger (Swi)251 
15Alexander Gehbauer (Aut)212 
16Emil Lindgren (Swe)210 
17José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)200 
18Fabian Giger (Swi)200 
19Geoff Kabush (Can)196 
20Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned)196 
21Marek Konwa (Pol)171 
22Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)166 
23Martin Loo (Est)164 
24Andrea Tiberi (Ita)160 
25Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita)153 
26Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel)152 
27Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut)148 
28Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn)146 
29Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)146 
30Martin Gujan (Swi)141 
31Florian Vogel (Swi)128 
32Sergji Rysenko (Ukr)116 
33Jürg Graf (Swi)106 
34Miguel Martinez (Fra)105 
35Wolfram Kurschat (Ger)104 
36Fabien Canal (Fra)104 
37Jiri Novak (Cze)100 
38Stéphane Tempier (Fra)95 
39Jan Skarnitzl (Cze)95 
40Michal Lami (Svk)92 
41Andras Parti (Hun)88 
42Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa)82 
43Derek Zandstra (Can)78 
44Anton Sintsov (Rus)66 
45Moritz Milatz (Ger)66 
46Hans Becking (Ned)62 
47Michele Casagrande (Ita)61 
48Shlomi Haimy (Isr)59 
49Patrik Gallati (Swi)54 
50Fabio Hernando Castaneda Monsalve (Col)50 
51Alban Lakata (Aut)50 
52Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr)48 
53Sebastien Carabin (Bel)48 
54Jochen Kass (Ger)46 
55Giancarlo Sax (Swi)46 
56Henrique Avancini (Bra)44 
57Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)43 
58Raphael Gagne (Can)43 
59Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)42 
60Umberto Corti (Ita)42 
61Paolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)40 
62Ralph Naef (Swi)38 
63David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)36 
64Karl Markt (Aut)36 
65Filip Eberl (Cze)35 
66Lucien Besancon (Swi)34 
67Pascal Meyer (Swi)33 
68Jonas De Backer (Bel)32 
69Matous Ulman (Cze)30 
70Philip Buys (RSA)30 
71Zsolt Juhasz (Hun)26 
72Mitchell Hoke (USA)26 
73Daniel Eymann (Swi)25 
74Matthias Wengelin (Swe)24 
75Kornel Osicki (Pol)23 
76Catriel Andres Soto (Arg)21 
77Frank Beemer (Ned)20 
78Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra)19 
79Pavel Boudny (Cze)18 
80Todd Wells (USA)17 
81Andy Eyring (Ger)17 
82Robby De Bock (Bel)16 
83Simon Scheiber (Aut)16 
84Carl Jones (NZl)14 
85Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)12 
86Ismael Ventura Sanchez (Spa)12 
87Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)11 
88Ludovic Dubau (Fra)10 
89Tim Wynants (Bel)10 
90Kristian Hynek (Cze)9 
91Cameron Jette (Can)9 
92Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr)8 
93Pavel Priadein (Rus)8 
World Cup standings - Teams
1BMC Mountainbike Racing Team203pts
2Multivan Merida Biking Team198 
3Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team129 
4Giant Pro XC Team115 
5Specialized Racing XC98 
6Trek Factory Racing79 
7BH - SR Suntour - KMC72 
8TX Active Bianchi70 
9Cannondale Factory Racing61 
10Stöckli Pro Team60 
11Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing43 
13Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team35 
14Controltech Nevi27 
15Merida Italia Team21 
16Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli17 
17Topeak Ergon Racing Team16 
18Cycling Club Roma MTB Team14 
19Versluys Team12 
20Titici LGL International Team11 
21SRAM Rubena Trek11 
22BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team9 
23Asptt Definitive Tec8 
24Focus XC Team8 
25Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team2 
26ISD MTB Team2 

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