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Absalon, Schurter face off again at Swiss Racer Bikes Cup

Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol) on her way to her first World Cup win .

Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini Sudtirol) on her way to her first World Cup win . (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Round three of the Racer Bikes Cup will head to Solothurn this weekend, May 8-9, in conjunction with the Velofestival Bike Days, which last year attracted 15,000 people. Olympic Champion Julien Absalon and World Champion Nino Schurter are set for another round of a battle they most recently waged at the Dalby World Cup two weeks ago. In the women's race, local hero Nathalie Schneitter will race two-time World Champion Irina Kalentieva, among others, as she attempts to defend last year's win.

The festival weekend will include a four cross-style cross country on city streets. On Friday evening, 16 men and eight women will race throug brief rounds of four riders in an urban setting. The Flückiger brothers, Christoph Sauser and Moritz Milatz are among those starting the men's short race. Schneitter, World Cup winner Eva Lechner, Swiss champion Katrin Leumann and Esther Süss will contest the women's short race.

The feature event of the weekend, the elite cross country on Saturday, is looking like a mini World Cup given the level of competition as many riders stay in Europe between the Houffalize and Offenburg World Cups. In addition to Schurter and Absalon, Swiss champion Florian Vogel, multiple World Cup winner and Swiss champion Sauser, the Flückiger-Brothers, Thomas Litscher, Martin Fanger and Milatz will be on the start line.

The 24-year-old Schneitter will be looking to repeat her cross country victory of last year, but fresh off her win at the Houffalize World Cup, Lechner will be tough competition. Dalby World Cup winner Kalentieva will add to the challenge to the defending champion. Others expected to contend for podium places are Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann, the marathon specialist Esther Süss, Marielle Saner-Guinchard and Petra Henzi. The latter has resigned from international racing, effective this year.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.