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Schurter wins Sea Otter cross country title

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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) was all smiles in his team tent before the race

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) was all smiles in his team tent before the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Former USA Champion Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air Cannondale) on the front row

Former USA Champion Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air Cannondale) on the front row
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) is one of the pre-race favorites

Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) is one of the pre-race favorites
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Rebecca Henderson and Dan McConnell (Trek) are husband and wife, and both Australian Champions

Rebecca Henderson and Dan McConnell (Trek) are husband and wife, and both Australian Champions
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Adam Morka (Trek Canada) celebrating a top ten finish

Adam Morka (Trek Canada) celebrating a top ten finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) riding alone on lap one

Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) riding alone on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Colin Daw (Mike’s Bikes) riding well at the end of lap one

Colin Daw (Mike’s Bikes) riding well at the end of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) giving maximum effort on the final climb of lap one

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) giving maximum effort on the final climb of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM) leading a top ten group on lap one

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM) leading a top ten group on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) attacked the leading group at the base of the final climb on lap one.

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) attacked the leading group at the base of the final climb on lap one.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) takes the lead near the end of lap one

Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) takes the lead near the end of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A huge group stayed together throughout lap one of the two-lap race

A huge group stayed together throughout lap one of the two-lap race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The leaders descend into a valley before starting the final climb back to the race track

The leaders descend into a valley before starting the final climb back to the race track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The leaders could be seen for nearly two miles from the top of the ridge at Sea Otter

The leaders could be seen for nearly two miles from the top of the ridge at Sea Otter
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Pro Men’s field totaled nearly 120 riders

The Pro Men’s field totaled nearly 120 riders
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Pro Men starting on the Laguna Seca track

Pro Men starting on the Laguna Seca track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Rotem Ishay (Jamis) starting his season at Sea Otter

Rotem Ishay (Jamis) starting his season at Sea Otter
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) has been in the best form of his career

Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) has been in the best form of his career
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) and Sergio Mantecon (Trek) shake hands at the start

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) and Sergio Mantecon (Trek) shake hands at the start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sam Gaze (Specialized) finishing just behind the leaders

Sam Gaze (Specialized) finishing just behind the leaders
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) edges out Howard Grotts to win the Sea Otter Classic

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) edges out Howard Grotts to win the Sea Otter Classic
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) celebrates two wins on the weekend

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) celebrates two wins on the weekend
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) moments before he snapped a chain

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) moments before he snapped a chain
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Fernando Paez (Raleigh Clement) was pleased with his top ten finish

Fernando Paez (Raleigh Clement) was pleased with his top ten finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Fellow Oregon buddies (L to R) Carl Decker, Barry Wicks, Spenser Paxson

Fellow Oregon buddies (L to R) Carl Decker, Barry Wicks, Spenser Paxson
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) is ushered by Richard Fries for an interview

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) is ushered by Richard Fries for an interview
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) riding in the third chase group

Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) riding in the third chase group
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Max Plaxton (Sho-Air Cannondale) did not seem to have his normal Sea Otter speed today

Max Plaxton (Sho-Air Cannondale) did not seem to have his normal Sea Otter speed today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Barry Wicks (Kona) and Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding together near the end of the first lap

Barry Wicks (Kona) and Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding together near the end of the first lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) made an attempt to fix his chain but had to eventually run to the tech zone

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) made an attempt to fix his chain but had to eventually run to the tech zone
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ben Sonntag (Cliff Bar) riding in a chase group at the end of lap one

Ben Sonntag (Cliff Bar) riding in a chase group at the end of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) trying to keep Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) close

Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) trying to keep Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) close
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Simon Andreassen (Specialized) pulls away from Russell Finsterwald

Simon Andreassen (Specialized) pulls away from Russell Finsterwald
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air Cannondale) was riding extremely well on lap one

Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air Cannondale) was riding extremely well on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) capitalizes on the chaos created after Sauser broke his chain

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) capitalizes on the chaos created after Sauser broke his chain
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) takes the lead after Christoph Sauser breaks a chain

Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) takes the lead after Christoph Sauser breaks a chain
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Howard Grotts (Specialized) at the start

Howard Grotts (Specialized) at the start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Nino Schurter of Switzerland, the three-time cross country world titlist, claimed his fourth straight race Saturday, winning a three-rider sprint to claim the 34-mile men's pro cross country title at the Sea Otter Classic.

Schurter, 28, the Scott-Odlo rider who also won Friday's short track, completed the two-lap route that began and finished on the asphalt at Laguna Seca Raceway in just under two hours.

Howard Grotts (Specialized) of Durango, Colo., was second. Daniel McConnell (Trek) of Australia was third for the second straight day as warm temperatures and blue skies were prevalent for the third day of the four-day event 25th edition. The runner-up and third-place finishers were given the same time.

"I had a little gap and I tried get away on the final hit, but they were both very strong so it came down to a sprint," said Schurter, who last raced at the event a decade ago as under-23 competitor. "It's great to see sprint finishes in mountain bike races."

Following its 11 a.m. start, the large men's field quickly evaporated into a pack of more than 20 riders. The lead group completed the first loop in 1 hour and 1 minute and the leaders stayed intact until Schurter, the two-time Olympic medallist, made his move.

One expected contender wasn't in the mix. Former two-time World Cup winner Christoph Sauser, who claimed the Sea Otter Classic cross country title last year and in 2009, had an early first-lap mechanical and withdrew. That changed the strategy for the Specialized team.

"Christoph won here last year so were here to ride for him," said Grotts, the former collegiate national road titlist. "Unfortunately, he had a mechanical so we had to improvize."

With Schurter's sprinting skills well-known, Grotts wasn't confident when the trio came onto the track together and then came off the final turn for the culminating final sprint. "I didn't think I had a chance," said Grotts. "But I was happy to get second."

With the lead group trio battling for on final winding downhill, the second lap time was more than a minute faster than the opening lap.

Sam Gaze (Specialized) of New Zealand finished fourth, two seconds behind the top three. Canadian Raphael Gagné (Rocky Mountain) wad fifth, trailing by 1:29. Simon Andreasseen (Specialized) of Denmark was sixth, trailing the winner by 1:34.

Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing), who has won the Sea Otter Classic cross country title three times, dating to 2005, finished 11th, trailing by 1:50. Andri Frischknecht (Scott-Odlo) of Switzerland, the son of retired multiple world titlist Thomas Frischknecht, was 12th, trailing by 2;04.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott-Odlo1:59:56
2Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized
3Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
4Sam Gaze (NZl) Specialized0:01:02
5Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain0:01:29
6Simon Andreassen (Dnk) Specialized0:01:35
7Luis Mejia Sßnchez (Col) Coopenae/7C
8Stephen Ettinger (USA) Team Show Air Cannondale0:01:43
9Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada0:01:45
10Fernando Riveros Paez (Col) Raleigh-Clement Cycling0:01:47
11Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing0:01:50
12Andri Frischknecht (Swi) Scott-Odlo0:02:05
13Russell Finsterwald (USA) Scram 1 Tld Racing Team0:02:47
14Kerry Werner (USA) Raleigh-Clement Cycling0:03:04
15Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) Team Clif Bar0:03:31
16Keegan Swenson (USA) Team Show Air Cannondale0:03:43
17Michiel Van Der Heijde (Ned) Scott-Odlo
18Sergio Mantecon Gutie (Spa) Trek Facotry Racing0:04:16
19Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing0:04:17
20Mitchell Bailey (Can) Trek Canada0:04:29
21Evan Mcneely (Can) Norco Factory Team0:04:57
22Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles0:05:33
23Egan Arley Bernal (Col) Team Specialized-Tugo Col0:05:46
24Evan Guthrie (Can) Norco Factory Team0:05:47
25Marc-Antoine Nadon (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing0:05:56
26Colin Daw (USA) Specialized0:05:57
27Antoine Caron (Can) Pivot Cycles Ote0:06:12
28Luke Vrouwenvelder (USA) Champion-System/Cann0:06:17
29Mitchell Hoke (USA) Pros Closet / Optum0:07:10
30Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Bicycles0:07:51
31Todd Wells (USA) Specialized
32Justin Lindine (USA) Competitve Cyclist0:08:17
33Diyer Rincon (Col) Arpo Bike Station0:08:29
34Carl Decker (USA) Giant Facotry Off-Road Te0:08:31
35Tom Sampson (USA) Vittoria/Yeti0:08:32
36Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized0:08:33
37Julien Bourdevaire (USA) Blackstar0:08:40
38Ryan Standish (USA) Steam Works Brewing - San0:08:53
39Tinker Juarez (USA) Ride Biker Alliance
40Ryan Woodall (USA) Team Tgb0:09:19
41Peter Disera (Can) Norco Factory Team0:09:34
42Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Bicycles0:09:46
43Ken Onodera (Jpn) Miyata-Merida0:10:04
44Tristan Uhl (USA) Competitve Cyclist0:10:23
45Cameron Jette (Can) Scott - 3 Rox Racing Rider /0:10:30
46Jett Chandler (USA) Doug Chandler Performac0:10:49
47Eric Bostrom (USA) Ridebiker Cannondale
48Adam Bucklin (USA) Thump Coffee
49Joseph Maloney (USA) Bnl Bicycle Truck0:11:01
50Brodie Stringer (USA) Sdg Bellweather0:11:03
51Jose Aurelio Hernande (USA) Bikes And More Poc/Niner0:11:04
52Ben Swanepoel (RSA) Squirt0:11:07
53Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar0:11:19
54Max Plaxton (Can) Team Show Air Cannondale
55Cody Kaiser (USA) Lange Twins0:11:42
56Cole House (USA) Isagenix / Seasucker / Guttenplan0:11:49
57David Flaten (USA) Us Military Cycling/
58Cole Oberman (USA) Rare Disease Cycling0:12:04
59Jose Alfredo Pacheco (Mex) Buena Park Bicyles0:12:07
60Alexandre Vialle (Can) Espresso Sport0:12:12
61Cory Wallace (Can) Kona Bicycles0:12:39
62Quinn Moberg (Can) Rocky Mountain Factory T
63Ingvar Omarsson ISL Kria Racing0:13:11
64Payson Mcelveen (USA) Competitve Cyclist0:13:30
65Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniels0:13:53
66Brad Bingham (USA) Kent Ericksen Cycling0:13:58
67Gustavo Pedroza (Mex) Fuji Bikes Mexico0:14:27
68Kalan Beisel (USA) Giant Co-Factory Racing T0:14:56
69Samuel Samuel (USA) Ojio Sport/Nbbs0:15:05
70Elliot Reinecke (USA) Book A Bike Mechanic0:15:06
71Jean-Louis Bourdevair (USA) Blackstar0:15:21
72Jim Hewett (USA) Acme Bikes
73Alex Wild (USA) Trail Head Racing Specialzi0:15:45
74Jeff Bender (USA) Kuhl Clothing0:16:52
75Jon Slaughter (Can) Csbjcc P/B Norco Lg0:17:09
76John Nobil (USA) Bear Valley Bikes0:17:18
77Alexandre Mantovani (USA) Gelato Borelli/Aroeira/Ra0:17:35
78Nolan Brady (USA) Giant Co-Factory Off Road0:17:45
79Lucas Rowton (USA) Montros Bike Shop0:18:07
80Will Curtis (USA) Santa Cruz X Fusion0:18:13
81Justin Desilets (USA) Revolution Peak Cyclers0:18:15
82Alec Pasqualina (USA) Giant Co Facotry Off-Road0:18:44
83Scott Lynch (Can)0:19:05
84Joshua Brown (USA) Nate Wade Subaru P/B Boun0:19:09
85Kevin Day (USA) Endurance 3600:19:11
86Charles Faucher -Robe (Can) Pivot Cycles Ote0:19:23
87Brad Auen (USA) Midwest Mountain Project0:19:28
88Dana Weber (USA) Stage 210:19:29
89Thomas Gauthier (Can) Pivot Cycles Ote0:19:32
90Niklas Podhraski (Aut) Fc-Donald St. Ruprecht0:19:54
91Joel Titius (USA) Baghouse0:20:37
92Jason Moeschler (USA) Wtb-Cannondale0:23:00
93Jun Matsuo (Jpn) Miyata-Merida
94Felix Belhumeur (Can) Pivot Cycles Ote0:23:43
95Nick Truitt (USA) Breck Bike Guides0:24:03
96Jakub Valigura (USA) 9250
97Nick Thomas (USA) Azdevo0:24:45
98Guillaume Larose-Ging (Can) Pivot Cycles Ote0:25:09
99Stephane Roch (USA) Team Ninja/Apx/Trek Store0:25:16
100Jesse Kelly (USA) Toasted Head Racing0:25:41
101Jason Blodgett (USA) Sram - Scott0:26:07
102Brady Kappius (USA) Clif Bar0:26:08
103Geoffrey Montague (USA) Onyx Summit0:26:09
104Mason Shea (USA) Coach Ahmadi0:27:19
105Clint Claassen (USA) Santa Cruz/Fox0:28:59
106Jt Toepel (USA) Groove Subaru Excel Spor0:29:26
107Jordan Anderson (USA) Owens Healthcare0:29:33
108Andrei Sobennicov (Mda) Moldavian National Team0:31:01
109Jono Paulo Firmino Per (Bra) Jono Paulo Pereira0:31:02

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