Marcel Wildhaber is the new Swiss eliminator national champion. He succeeded in defeating defending champion Thomas Litscher in the championship race, staged as part of the BMC Racing Cup in Lenzerheide. Patrick Lüthi earned bronze. Jolanda Neff from Thal defended her title in the women's race, taking the win over Andrea Waldis and Linda Indergand.
In the big final of the top four men, Thomas Litscher got the best start. Due to his powerful pedaling, Wildhaber, however, passed Litscher shortly before the end of the long climb leading up to the first descent. Behind the two, a short gap opened to Patrick Lüthi.
In the descent, Litscher tried to overtake Wildhaber by choosing a different line, but he did not succeed.
"With an eye on Sunday, you don't take too much of a risk. Anyway, Marcel has earned it. Today he turned the pedals a bit faster than me," said Litscher.
Wildhaber celebrated the very first Swiss title of his career. "That's a huge success for me. Now I'll have the honor of racing the eliminator competitions in the champion's jersey all year long," said a happy Wildhaber.
About the race itself, Wildhaber said, "I was not sure about my capabilities before the race, but doing the eliminator, you have to keep cool. The track was good for me, I had a great day."
Surprisingly, world champion Ralph Naef was eliminated as early as the quarter finals, as well as European Championship bronze medalist Sepp Freiburghaus and last year's third placed Nicola Rohrbach.
In the women's big final, Jolanda Neff delivered the best start. Even before the highest point of the course was reached, Andrea Waldis attacked her one year older country-mate. But Neff managed to fend off the attack and was the first in the downhill.
This was the preliminary decision, because passing was difficult in the remaining part of the course. "I did not see who was catching up to me. I tried to stay ahead, and fortunately I was the first to enter the downhill. After that, all you had to do was to not make a mistake," said Neff.
"This feels great. It's my first victory this year, and I'm really happy that I can keep the jersey for another year," said the 20-year-old, who was emotional at the finish. She had suffered a great disappointment only being fourth in the U23 race at the European Championships in Bern.
Waldis was "extremely pleased" with her silver medal. "It was a tight decision, but overall it was a great race for me."
On the second climb, Linda Indergand, fastest qualifier, left behind Kathrin Stirnemann ("my legs were like rubber today") and won bronze, with Stirnemann finishing fourth.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)|
|2||Thomas Litscher (Swi)|
|3||Patrick Lüthi (Swi)|
|4||Stefan Peter (Swi)|
|5||Pascal Schmutz (Swi)|
|6||Lucien Besancon (Swi)|
|7||Claude Koster (Swi)|
|8||Lukas Flückiger (Swi)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Jolanda Neff (Swi)|
|2||Andrea Waldis (Swi)|
|3||Linda Indergand (Swi)|
|4||Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)|
|5||Ramona Forchini (Swi)|
|6||Nathalie Schneitter (Swi)|
|7||Alessandra Keller (Swi)|
|8||Sabrina Maurer (Swi)|
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