Schurter bests Absalon in Val di Sole

Once again, the men's race came down to World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) against World Cup leader Julien Absalon (Orbea) in a sprint, and Schurter both won the race and took over the World Cup lead. This makes it three times that Schurter has beaten Absalon in a sprint in the past 12 months.

The 6.3-kilometre course was dominated by a series of steep, climbs, which took their toll on the fields. In the men's race, only 88 of 190 starters finished on the same lap as the winner.

The men's six-lap race came down to three riders by the mid-point: Schurter, Absalon and last week's winner Florian Vogel, Schurter's teammate. Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) tried a move on the second lap, briefly setting the pace, but couldn't sustain it and fell back to eventually finish eighth.

The lead three worked well together for the first four laps, distancing themselves from everyone except Under 23 series leader Mathias Flückiger (Trek World Racing) and Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida). These two were the only riders to stay within two minutes of the leaders and eventually took fourth and fifth, respectively. Näf took over fifth from fellow Swiss rider Christoph Sauser (Specialized), the World Champion in Val di Sole on this course in 2008. Sauser was riding strongly until a drivetrain problem took him out of contention on the fourth lap; he eventually finished 63rd.

At the front, as the race entered the final two laps, Absalon was getting increasingly nervous at being stuck with the two rivals and teammates. He launched a series of attacks, but the steep climbs made it impossible to gain any sort of meaningful gap on his rivals. Vogel went off the front at the end of lap five, forcing Absalon to chase, and pull Schurter up with him.

The French rider was able to drop Vogel on the final lap, but the gap was small, so he had to stay at the front, while Schurter sat on his wheel. Absalon tried a series of attacks, but Schurter was able to respond to every one and, as they entered the final feed zone, with less than a kilometre and a half to the finish line, Schurter made his own move, getting in front for the series of turns on the final flat section, with nowhere left for Absalon to pass before the finish line.

"It was very good for both Florian and I to be together," agreed Schurter. "I think Julien was actually the strongest rider out there today, but we were able to work together against him. I knew that the place to attack was at the last feed zone, because there was nowhere to pass after that. And, I have been pretty good against Julien in sprints lately, so I was confident I could get by him there."

Absalon agreed that having Vogel there certainly helped Schurter, and virtually conceded the World Cup title to Schurter. "It was two against one, and they were very good together. I tried to attack a number of times, but on these steep climbs it is impossible to get a gap. You cannot get enough power to get away. The feed zone was the place where you had to be in front, but Nino was just a little bit faster and was able to get there first.

"But, I'm happy with my form, and now I will just focus on the World Championships; I have four weeks to prepare. I will ride Windham, of course, but the focus is the World Championships."

Schurter now has 936 points to Absalon's 910, with European champion Jaroslav Kulhavy third at 790.

American Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) was the top North American, in 17th, followed by Todd Wells (Specialized) in 19th. Wells now becomes the top North American in the World Cup series standings, moving up to 18th place after former top-ranked Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) dropped out at the halfway mark in the race.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing1:44:09
2Julien Absalon (Fra) Orbea0:00:04
3Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:00:20
4Mathias Flückiger* (Swi) Trek World Racing0:01:26
5Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:01:46
6Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Rubena-Birell-Specialized Cycling Team0:02:31
7Moritz Milatz (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:03:05
8José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:03:27
9Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Lapierre International0:03:45
10Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Factory Racing0:03:51
11Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:04:05
12Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spa) Orbea0:04:06
13Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active Bianchi0:04:23
14Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Giant Italia Team0:04:33
15Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:04:44
16Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:04:57
17Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:05:10
18Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:05:14
19Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing0:05:34
20Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Trek-Lorca Taller Del Tiempo0:05:43
21Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) MSC Bikes0:05:45
22Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:06:28
23Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:06:29
24Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek0:06:55
25Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:07:14
26Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team0:07:17
27Tony Longo (Ita)0:07:37
28Marek Konwa* (Pol) Elettroveneta-Corratec0:07:57
29Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH-Suntour0:08:12
30Niels Wubben* (Ned) Team Merida Combee0:08:20
31Alexey Medvedev (Rus) Elettroveneta-Corratec0:08:29
32Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:08:34
33Marco Minnaard* (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:08:35
34Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:08:48
35Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea0:08:53
36Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team New Cycling0:09:09
37Patrik Gallati* (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:09:23
38Marc Colom (Fra)0:09:28
39Robert Gehbauer (Aut)0:09:36
40Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:40
41Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek0:09:41
42Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:44
43Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant Factory Team0:09:51
44Pascal Meyer* (Swi) M.I.G. Team0:09:53
45Frank Schotman (Ned) Stappenbelt Specialized MTB Team0:10:01
46Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:10:03
47Alexander Gehbauer* (Aut)0:10:10
48Hannes Metzler (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:10:11
49Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team0:10:26
50Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team0:10:33
51Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:10:34
52Derek Zandstra (Can)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Sebastien Carabin* (Bel) Lingier-Versluys Team0:10:54
54Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Surfing Shop0:11:13
55Matous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:11:15
56Rene Tann (Ger)0:11:26
57Filip Eberl (Cze)0:11:47
58Thomas Litscher* (Swi) M.I.G. Team0:11:55
59Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:11:59
60Bas Peters (Ned) Team Merida Combee0:12:06
61Cristian Cominelli* (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:12:12
62Ruben Scheire* (Bel) Team Saeco0:12:15
63Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing0:12:17
64Andrew Watson (Can)0:12:38
65Marcus Schulte-Luenzum* (Ger) M.I.G. Team0:12:50
66Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:12:58
67Michal Lami (Svk)0:13:18
68Samuele Porro* (Ita)0:13:19
69Bjorn Brems (Bel) G-Skin-Deforche MTB Racing Team0:13:20
70Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn)0:13:22
71Yader Zoli (Ita) Surfing Shop0:13:27
72Andras Parti (Hun)0:13:51
73Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) ISD Cycling Team0:14:00
74Jiri Hudecek (Cze)0:14:23
75Jelmer Jubbega* (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team0:14:32
76David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)0:14:36
77Diego Rosa* (Ita) Giant Italia Team0:14:44
78Jérémy Huguenin* (Swi) Giant Swiss Team0:14:54
79Dmytro Titarenko* (Ukr) ISD Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Balz Weber (Swi)0:15:19
81David Fletcher* (GBr)0:15:36
82Michael Broderick (USA)0:15:52
83Gerhard Kerschbaumer* (Ita)0:16:11
84Thibaut Bellanger* (Fra)0:16:30
85Ondrej Cink* (Cze) Merida Biking Team0:16:39
86Stephen Ettinger* (USA)0:16:41
87Reto Indergand* (Swi) Frm Tg Zentralschweiz0:17:14
88Tim Wynants (Bel) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:18:35
-1lapPeriklis Ilias (Gre) ISD Cycling TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
-1lapIrjan Luttenberg* (Ned) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
-1lapGiancarlo Sax* (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
-1lapOla Kjören (Nor) Team Fokus-DanicaRow 91 - Cell 2
-1lapCristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)Row 92 - Cell 2
-1lapPeter Glassford (Can)Row 93 - Cell 2
-1lapMatthias Hoi* (Aut)Row 94 - Cell 2
-1lapDirk Peters* (NZl)Row 95 - Cell 2
-1lapMattias Nilsson* (Swe)Row 96 - Cell 2
-1lapChristopher Maletz (Ger)Row 97 - Cell 2
-1lapRoberto Giacobazzi* (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.Row 98 - Cell 2
-1lapTim Lemmers* (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
-1lapMatthias Stirnemann* (Swi)Row 100 - Cell 2
-1lapMarco Schätzing (Ger) Team Firebike-DroessigerRow 101 - Cell 2
-1lapMatthias Rupp* (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-RacingRow 102 - Cell 2
-1lapBenjamin Sonntag (Ger)Row 103 - Cell 2
-1lapJakub Magnusek* (Cze) S&H Superior MTB TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
-1lapElia Silvestri* (Ita) Elettroveneta-CorratecRow 105 - Cell 2
-1lapHugo Drechou* (Fra)Row 106 - Cell 2
-1lapZsolt Juhasz* (Hun) Euro One-Cube MTB TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
-1lapThomas Lapeyrie* (Fra) Scott Les SaisiesRow 108 - Cell 2
-1lapOleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD Cycling TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
-1lapGuillaume Vinit (Fra) BH-SuntourRow 110 - Cell 2
-1lapRoberto Crisi* (Ita) Hard Rock Frw A.S.D.Row 111 - Cell 2
-1lapSebastian Szraucner (Ger)Row 112 - Cell 2
-1lapMarcel Fleschhut* (Ger)Row 113 - Cell 2
-1lapBenjamin Buchi* (Swi)Row 114 - Cell 2
-1lapFabien Canal* (Fra) Keops ItwoRow 115 - Cell 2
-1lapKornel Osicki* (Pol) Jbg-2 Professional MTB TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
-1lapOlof Jonsson* (Swe) Eliza-Orbea TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
-1lapGilles Sarrazin* (Fra)Row 118 - Cell 2
-1lapRussell Finsterwald* (USA) Subaru-TrekRow 119 - Cell 2
-1lapRobby De Bock* (Bel)Row 120 - Cell 2
-1lapCameron Jette (Can)Row 121 - Cell 2
-2lapsFrank Beemer (Ned) Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
-2lapsKyosuke Takei (Jpn)Row 123 - Cell 2
-2lapsFabian Rabensteiner* (Ita)Row 124 - Cell 2
-2lapsFlorian Thie* (Swi)Row 125 - Cell 2
-2lapsOle Christian Fagerli (Nor)Row 126 - Cell 2
-2lapsHeiko Gutmann (Ger)Row 127 - Cell 2
-2lapsJoshua Carlson (Aus)Row 128 - Cell 2
-2lapsSteven Garcin (Fra)Row 129 - Cell 2
-2lapsMarcus Nicolai* (Ger)Row 130 - Cell 2
-2lapsDaniel Eymann* (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
-2lapsMarek Rauchfuss* (Cze)Row 132 - Cell 2
-2lapsAdrian Jackson (Aus)Row 133 - Cell 2
-2lapsManfred Zöger* (Aut)Row 134 - Cell 2
-2lapsFabrice Leguevaques* (Fra)Row 135 - Cell 2
-2lapsMatej Nepustil* (Cze) Merida Biking TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
-2lapsDavid Simon* (Ger)Row 137 - Cell 2
-2lapsChristoph Schwab* (Aut)Row 138 - Cell 2
-2lapsChristian Bickel* (Swi)Row 139 - Cell 2
-2lapsRicardo Paulo Reis Marinheiro* (Por) TX Active BianchiRow 140 - Cell 2
-2lapsTomas Pesek* (Cze)Row 141 - Cell 2
-2lapsAdam Morka (Can)Row 142 - Cell 2
-2lapsDaniel Kaufmann* (Swi)Row 143 - Cell 2
-2lapsUmberto Corti (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.Row 144 - Cell 2
-2lapsJack Hinkens* (USA)Row 145 - Cell 2
-2lapsJonas De Backer* (Bel) Team SaecoRow 146 - Cell 2
-2lapsCal Britten* (Aus)Row 147 - Cell 2
-2lapsOleksandr Kachanov* (Ukr)Row 148 - Cell 2
-2lapsMartino Di Pierdomenico* (Ita) Hard Rock Frw A.S.D.Row 149 - Cell 2
-2lapsRob Vangenechten* (Bel) Team SaecoRow 150 - Cell 2
-2lapsSimon Stiebjahn* (Ger)Row 151 - Cell 2
-2lapsMichael Pesse* (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.Row 152 - Cell 2
-2lapsNicolas Jeantet* (Ita) ISD Cycling TeamRow 153 - Cell 2
-2lapsJoris Massaer (Bel) G-Skin-Deforche MTB Racing TeamRow 154 - Cell 2
-2lapsFrançois Bailly Maitre (Fra) Scott Les SaisiesRow 155 - Cell 2
-3lapsAndrew Blair (Aus) Torq Performance NutritionRow 156 - Cell 2
-3lapsDana Weber (USA)Row 157 - Cell 2
-3lapsKerry Werner* (USA)Row 158 - Cell 2
-3lapsMark Csielka* (Hun) Euro One-Cube MTB TeamRow 159 - Cell 2
-3lapsFrancesco Niccoli* (Ita) Hard Rock Frw A.S.D.Row 160 - Cell 2
-3lapsArtyom Golovaschenko* (Kaz)Row 161 - Cell 2
-3lapsJohn Whittington* (GBr)Row 162 - Cell 2
-3lapsAndras Szatmary* (Hun) Euro One-Cube MTB TeamRow 163 - Cell 2
-3lapsMirco Widmer* (Swi) Giant Swiss TeamRow 164 - Cell 2