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MTB Worlds: Schurter takes his ninth cross-country title

It is no secret that Nino Schurter has been struggling - for him - in the past year, with no World Cup wins, missing the podium at the 2020 World Championships, and finishing out of the medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games. However, on Saturday at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy, he proved that he is still at the top by winning his ninth elite men's Cross-country (XCO) title. Compatriot Mathias Flückiger took silver and Victor Koretzky of France won the bronze medal.

Despite the absence of both Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) and Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), the list of contenders was large, but Schurter and Flückiger made it clear early on that this was a two-man race. The pair rode away from the rest of the field on the first lap and provided a near-perfect example of a two-up time trial on the dirt.

Flückiger was doing the majority of the pacesetting, with Schurter staying glued to his wheel. Unlike other races this season, in the final lap when Flückiger tried to shake his rival on the climbs, Schurter could not be dropped. Going into the final 500 metres, Flückiger was in front with seemingly few opportunities for Schurter to pass. However, 250 metres out, they had to slow to a near halt for a tight 180-degree turn to the left; Flückiger went a little wide, Schurter immediately dove to the inside to get to the front and then sprinted for the final 200 metres, punching the air as he crossed the line.

"It was a perfect race from the start," said Schurter. "I was in the lead with Mathias and we were able to work quite nicely together until the last two laps, and then the battle between us started. In the last lap, I was actually quite tired and tried to hang on to Mathias. When I saw that he couldn't drop me at one of the last steep climbs, I knew I needed to take my chance. I tried to pass him before the last downhill but I couldn't. From that, point, I knew I would need some luck, a good corner to pass him, and it was incredible to do it and sprint to the line."

Schurter also admitted to self-confidence issues. "I had some doubts about myself and whether I could still win races. I haven't been performing as I wanted, so it's really cool to be back."

Behind, Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) was the early solo chaser, before Koretzky bridged across mid-race. Koretzky attacked on Lap 5 (of 6), but at almost the same time, Cink got off his bike and had to run a section of uphill, hammering on his rear shifter. He managed to get back on a ride to the pits, but was down to 16th by the start of the last lap and out of contention.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 1:22:31
2Mathias Flückiger (Switzerland) 0:00:02
3Victor Koretzky (France) 0:01:08
4Vlad Dascalu (Romania) 0:01:36
5Maximilian Brandl (Germany) 0:01:43
6Samuel Gaze (New Zealand) 0:02:30
7Henrique Avancini (Brazil)
8Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 0:02:31
9Filippo Colombo (Switzerland)
10Milan Vader (Netherlands) 0:02:35
11David Valero Serrano (Spain) 0:02:44
12Titouan Carod (France) 0:02:50
13Marcel Guerrini (Switzerland) 0:03:12
14Lars Forster (Switzerland) 0:03:26
15Jonas Lindberg (Denmark) 0:03:29
16Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 0:03:40
17Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy) 0:03:41
18Christopher Blevins (United States Of America) 0:03:53
19Antoine Philipp (France) 0:03:57
20Gioele Bertolini (Italy) 0:04:00
21Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany) 0:04:15
22Martins Blums (Latvia) 0:04:19
23Nadir Colledani (Italy) 0:04:30
24Bartlomiej Wawak (Poland) 0:04:32
25Anton Sintsov (Russian Federation) 0:04:48
26Jordan Sarrou (France) 0:04:54
27Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) 0:04:56
28Leandre Bouchard (Canada)
29Ben Oliver (New Zealand) 0:05:06
30Georg Egger (Germany) 0:05:11
31Thomas Griot (France) 0:05:20
32Karl Markt (Austria) 0:05:23
33Niklas Schehl (Germany) 0:05:28
34Jan Vastl (Czech Republic) 0:05:39
35David Nordemann (Netherlands) 0:05:49
36Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 0:06:18
37Erik Hægstad (Norway) 0:06:25
38Daniele Braidot (Italy) 0:06:36
39Reto Indergand (Switzerland) 0:06:42
40Gregor Raggl (Austria) 0:06:59
41Marc Andre Fortier (Canada) 0:07:06
42Maxime Marotte (France) 0:07:13
43Stephane Tempier (France)
44Luiz Henrique Cocuzzi (Brazil) 0:07:29
45Martin Haring (Slovakia) 0:07:34
46Jens Schuermans (Belgium) 0:07:42
47Ismael Esteban Aguero (Spain) 0:07:47
48Anton Cooper (New Zealand) 0:08:09
49Ulan Bastos Galinski (Brazil) 0:08:17
50Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo (Mexico) 0:08:38
51Jan Škarnitzl (Czech Republic)
52Quinton Disera (Canada) 0:09:06
53Sebastian Fini Carstensen (Denmark)
54Lukáš Kobes (Czech Republic) 0:09:07
55Luke Vrouwenvelder (United States Of America) 0:09:13
56Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 0:09:18
57Pierre De Froidmont (Belgium) 0:09:23
58Tyler Orschel (Canada) 0:09:33
59Simon Andreassen (Denmark) 0:09:35
60Joshua Dubau (France) 0:09:37
61Guilherme Gotardelo Muller (Brazil) 0:10:16
62Dmytro Titarenko (Ukraine) 0:10:24
63Peter Disera (Canada) 0:10:41
64Daniel Mcconnell (Australia) 0:10:59
65Georwill Pérez Román (Puerto Rico) 0:11:25
66Alessio Agostinelli (Italy) 0:11:58
67Luca Braidot (Italy)
68Rok Naglič (Slovenia)
69Matthew Beers (South Africa)
70Sebastian Miranda Maldonado (Chile)
71Zsombor Palumby (Hungary)
72Stephan Davoust (United States Of America)
73Andrew L'Esperance (Canada)
74Krzysztof Lukasik (Poland)
75Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)
76Nicolas Delich Pardo (Chile)
77Jaime Miranda Jaime (Mexico)
78Patricio Farias Diaz (Chile)
79Amando Martinez Galvan (Mexico)
80Johan Sebastian Canaveral Vargas (Colombia)
81Maximilian Foidl (Austria)
82Edson Gilmar De Rezende Junior (Brazil)
83Eduardo Gelpes Sayavedra (Uruguay)
84Pedro Aviles Gangas (Chile)
85Tumelo Makae (Les)
86Oleksandr Koniaiev (Ukraine)
87Serdar Depe (Turkey)
88Volodymyr Kozlovskyy (Ukraine)
89Arnoldas Valiauga (Lithuania)
DNFMatej Ulik (Slovakia)
DNFFranco Nicolas Adaos Alvarez (Chile)
DNSManuel Fumic (Germany)
DNSSean Fincham (Canada)
DNSJuliano Cocuzzi (Brazil)

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