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Scott-Swisspower's Schurter, Vogel among favorites in Plaffeien

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower)

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

After the first rounds of the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup were won by foreign racers, chances are good that round four in
Plaffeien will be won by a Swiss rider. Two Scott-Swisspower riders, World Champion Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel are the favorites for this weekend's cross country race. However, Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud from France will also be racing and may surprise the duo.

With this tough competition, it will be difficult for Martin Fanger (Giant Swiss Team) to repeat his victory of last year. In 2009, he prevailed ahead of teammates Jérémy Huguenin and Ralph Naef.

In the women's race, marathon specialist Esther Süss surprised many by winning her first cross country race. The victory motivated her to do more targeted cross country training, and within a year, she has moved into the top level of international cross country racing. She won the round in Solothurn and took third place at the World Cup in Offenburg last weekend.

Petra Henzi, who dominated the Swiss racing scene for years, is likely to be the strongest opponent of Süss.

In the junior category, Roger Walder, runner-up at Offenburg is the favorite, but look out also for Jolanda Neff, Linda Indergand in the junior women's race. Last year's Racer Bikes Cup junior champion Matthias Stirnemann, Lukas Loretz and Reto Indergand are the favorites for the amateur & masters races.

The 5.4km circuit will be a technically challenging one, with a high proportion of singletrack. Hard climbs are rewarded by fun descents.

The cross country races will happen on Sunday, May 31.

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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.