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Schurter takes off with a bang in opening World Cup

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Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower)

Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Vuvuzelas were used along the track and made for a very unique African vibe

Vuvuzelas were used along the track and made for a very unique African vibe
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Todd Wells (Specialized)

Todd Wells (Specialized)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Burry Stander (Specialized)

Burry Stander (Specialized)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) was the home crowd favorite but had a bad crash

Burry Stander (Specialized) was the home crowd favorite but had a bad crash
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A sky diver made his way down to the race venue

A sky diver made his way down to the race venue
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Switzerland's Nino Schurter takes the opening World Cup round

Switzerland's Nino Schurter takes the opening World Cup round
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) celebrates his win.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) celebrates his win.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) on the podium

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) on the podium
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) takes a very fast line through a technical rock garden

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) takes a very fast line through a technical rock garden
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) made light work of the course.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) made light work of the course.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) in the UCI World Cup leader's jersey.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) in the UCI World Cup leader's jersey.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) was focused.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) was focused.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized)

Christoph Sauser (Specialized)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Rwandan Adrien Niyonshuti

Rwandan Adrien Niyonshuti
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida)

Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The elite men's cross country podium

The elite men's cross country podium
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) rides through a rock garden.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) rides through a rock garden.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) wins in Pietermartizburg.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) wins in Pietermartizburg.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Namibian Marc Bass

Namibian Marc Bass
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Julien Absalon (Orbea) would eventually finish second.

Julien Absalon (Orbea) would eventually finish second.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida)

Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) celebrates a win in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) celebrates a win in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
(Image credit: Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) showed himself to be the best technical rider on Sunday as he was the fastest consistently through the rock gardens

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) showed himself to be the best technical rider on Sunday as he was the fastest consistently through the rock gardens
(Image credit: Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) on his way to a win

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) on his way to a win
(Image credit: Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) topped the elite men's cross country World Cup at the opening round

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) topped the elite men's cross country World Cup at the opening round
(Image credit: Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing)
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Jose Antonio Hermida was all smiles on the podium

Jose Antonio Hermida was all smiles on the podium
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Julien Absalon (Orbea) descends through a rock garden

Julien Absalon (Orbea) descends through a rock garden
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Julien Absalon (Orbea)

Julien Absalon (Orbea)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Crowds lined the forest of Pietermaritzburg.

Crowds lined the forest of Pietermaritzburg.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A Swedish racer

A Swedish racer
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida)

World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida)
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Ralph Naf (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Ralph Naf (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)

Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing)

Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Liam Killeen (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)

Liam Killeen (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Samuel Schultz (Subaru-Trek)

Samuel Schultz (Subaru-Trek)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)

Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Burry Stander (Specialized Racing)

Burry Stander (Specialized Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing)

Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing)

Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)

Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Orbea)

Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Orbea)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team)

Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jos

Jos
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing)

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jos

Jos
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing)

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Podium: Hermida, Absalon, Schurter, Kulhavy, Fontana

Podium: Hermida, Absalon, Schurter, Kulhavy, Fontana
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julien Absalon (Orbea)

Julien Absalon (Orbea)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing)

Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) was blazing fast through the Treehouse rock garden

Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) was blazing fast through the Treehouse rock garden
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek)

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The first round of the cross country UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, served notice that riders are entering the season in top form, with the elite men averaging over 20 kilometre per hour for their 31.8-kilometre race.

In the elite men's cross country race, the top three finishers in the 2010 World Cup standings finished in exactly that order, with Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) beating rival Julien Absalon (Orbea) of France by a meager 16 seconds, with Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) of the Czech Republic in third at 1:07. World Champion Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida Mountain Bike Team) and Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) claimed the final two podium spots.

Constant rivals Schurter and Absalon rode away from the rest of the field, with Kulhavy only able to hold on for the first half of the race before the duo dropped him. Absalon had the power on the climbs, but it was in the all important technical sections where Schurter held the advantage.

In the Treehouse rock garden section, Schurter was noticeably smoother, and it was here on lap five of the six-lap race that the Swiss rider made his move.

"Again, it was a great fight between Julien and me," said Schurter. "We are so close, but I was a little faster in the technical section and was able to get a gap, which I could hold to the finish line. I could see that he was coming back a bit on the climbs on the last lap, but it was just enough to hold on. It is always special to win against Julien."

Schurter entered the last lap 20 seconds ahead of Absalon, a gap which shrunk to only a handful of seconds by the top of the climb before he was able to open it again to finish 16 seconds ahead.

"I expected Nino would do well," said Absalon. "This track suited him very well, and I was having trouble with the rocky section each time. On lap five, I didn't crash, but I hit a tree and lost some time. And after that, we were both going full gas, so there was no chance to catch him."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing1:34:50
2Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea0:00:16
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:01:07
4José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:01:15
5Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:46
6Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:01:48
7Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea0:01:51
8Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi0:01:54
9Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing0:02:33
10Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:02:36
11Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing0:02:45
12Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry0:02:57
13Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing0:03:08
14Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:03:11
15Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:03:30
16Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Giant Italia Team0:03:45
17Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team0:03:53
18Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing0:04:08
19Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:04:22
20Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:47
21Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team0:05:11
22Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:05:32
23Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team0:05:36
24Rudi Van Houts (Ned)0:05:44
25Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team0:05:56
26Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss SR-Suntour0:05:59
27Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team
28Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:06:06
29Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Newcycling0:06:14
30Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:06:34
31Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea0:06:53
32Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:07:06
33Lukas Kaufmann (Swi)0:07:18
34Derek Zandstra (Can)0:07:28
35Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:07:37
36Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team0:07:51
37Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek0:07:52
38Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team0:08:08
39Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:08:20
40Oliver Beckingsale (GBr)0:08:23
41Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG-2 Professional MTB Team
42Andras Parti (Hun) Euro One-Cube MTB Team0:08:27
43Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Elettroveneta-Corratec0:08:29
44Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team
45Jiri Friedl (Cze) Rubena - Birell - Specialized Cycling Team0:08:30
46Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:08:34
47Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team
48Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)0:09:02
49Pascal Meyer (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team0:09:03
50Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:09:26
51Jiri Novak (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:09:41
52Martino Fruet (Ita)0:09:58
53Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:10:07
54Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek0:10:13
55Chris Jongewaard (Aus)
56Hannes Metzler (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:10:22
57Marc Colom (Fra) Team Newcycling0:10:24
58Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:10:45
59Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.0:11:02
60Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:11:13
61Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:11:18
62Rene Tann (Ger)0:11:48
63Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team0:12:03
64Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:12:20
65Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team0:12:22
66Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:12:23
67Ben Henderson (Aus)0:12:29
68Andrew Watson (Can)0:12:33
69Giuseppe Lamastra (Ita) Elettroveneta-Corratec0:12:42
70Adam Morka (Can)0:13:10
71Matthys Beukes (RSA)0:13:41
72Martin Loo (Est) Infotre - Bi&Esse- Leecougan0:14:02
73Torsten Marx (Ger)0:14:14
74Evgeniy Pechenin (Rus) Forward-Udmurtia0:14:25
75Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Team Newcycling0:14:42
76Steffen Thum (Ger)0:14:59
77Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:15:21
78Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:15:56
79Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)-1 lap
80Frank Schotman (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
81Christopher Maletz (Ger)
82Irjan Luttenberg (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
83Michael Broderick (USA) Kenda/Seven/No Tubes
84Severin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
85Troy Wells (USA)
86Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
87Mattias Wengelin (Swe)
88Lee Williams (GBr)
89Bjorn Brems (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team
90Renay Groustra (RSA)
91Oliver Munnik (RSA)
92Pierre Lebreton (Fra) BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry
93Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta-Corratec-2 laps
94Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA)
95Alexey Medvedev (Rus) Elettroveneta-Corratec
96Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Qhubeka
97Matthias Waldhart (Aut)
98Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team-3 laps
99Jelmer Jubbega (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team
100Christoph Soukup (Aut)
101Lee John (Zim)
102Martinus Esmeyer (RSA)
103Christopher Wolhuter (RSA)-4 laps
104Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
DNFAlexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International
DNFHenk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team
DNFPhilip Buys (RSA)
DNFJan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena - Birell - Specialized Cycling Team
DNFCédric Ravanel (Fra) Gt Skoda Chamonix
DNFAdrian Brzozka (Pol) JBG-2 Professional MTB Team
DNFBrandon Stewart (RSA)
DNFMarc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)
DNFFrancois Theron (RSA)
DNSMax Knox (RSA)

Elite men cross country World Cup standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing250pts
2Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea200
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing160
4José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team150
5Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing140
6Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing130
7Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea120
8Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi110
9Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing100
10Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing95
11Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing90
12Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry85
13Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing80
14Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing78
15Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing76
16Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Giant Italia Team74
17Patrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team72
18Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf-Trek Racing70
19Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain68
20Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team66
21Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team64
22Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing62
23Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team60
24Rudi Van Houts (Ned)58
25Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team56
26Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss SR-Suntour54
27Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team52
28Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team50
29Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Newcycling48
30Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing46
31Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea44
32Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team42
33Lukas Kaufmann (Swi)40
34Derek Zandstra (Can)38
35Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team36
36Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team34
37Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek32
38Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team30
39Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active Bianchi29
40Oliver Beckingsale (GBr)28
41Marek Galinski (Pol) JBG-2 Professional MTB Team27
42Andras Parti (Hun) Euro One-Cube MTB Team26
43Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Elettroveneta-Corratec25
44Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys-Evenza Team24
45Jiri Friedl (Cze) Rubena - Birell - Specialized Cycling Team23
46Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team22
47Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team21
48Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)20
49Pascal Meyer (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team19
50Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team18
51Jiri Novak (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team17
52Martino Fruet (Ita)16
53Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team15
54Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek14
55Chris Jongewaard (Aus)13
56Hannes Metzler (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team12
57Marc Colom (Fra) Team Newcycling11
58Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team10
59Umberto Corti (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.9
60Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team8

Elite men cross country teams World Cup standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Specialized Racing73pts
2Cannondale Factory Racing71
3Orbea59
4Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing41
5Multivan Merida Biking Team41
6Wildwolf-Trek Racing35
7Trek World Racing25
8TX Active Bianchi23
9BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team22
10BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry19
11Giant Italia Team15
12Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain12
13Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team10
14Milka Trek MTB Racing Team6
15Giant Swiss SR-Suntour5
16Giant Factory Off-Road Team4
17Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team3
18Team Newcycling2

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