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Litscher powers to victory

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Under 23 men's cross country world championship podium: Marek Konwa, Thomas Litscher, Henk Jaap Moorlag

Under 23 men's cross country world championship podium: Marek Konwa, Thomas Litscher, Henk Jaap Moorlag (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The start

The start (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thomas Litscher wins

Thomas Litscher wins (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thomas Litscher starts his last lap

Thomas Litscher starts his last lap (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thomas Litscher (Switzerland)

Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands)

Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Stephen Ettinger raced with a broken hand

Stephen Ettinger raced with a broken hand (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Shlomi Haimy (Israel)

Shlomi Haimy (Israel) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Ruben Scheire (Belgium)

Ruben Scheire (Belgium) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland)

Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Diego Rosa (Italy)

Diego Rosa (Italy) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy)

Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) wins the under 23 men's cross country

Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) wins the under 23 men's cross country (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jack Hinkens (USA) finished the day in 41st place.

Jack Hinkens (USA) finished the day in 41st place. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Thomas Listcher added to the Swiss medal account at this year's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on Friday evening when he won the under 23 men's cross country race. Marek Konwa gave Poland its first medal of the championships with a silver while Henk Jaap Moorlag rode to bronze for the Netherlands.

"I had a dream race today, and everything went very smooth," said Listcher, who had helped the Swiss team to a team relay silver medal earlier in the week. "The course was good, I felt strong. Everything was perfectly. I was encouraged by the fans."

Listcher dominated for most of the race, sharing the lead only in the first part of the race with Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy).

"For me, my goal for the start was not to go too fast, but to be in the front because when you are behind, there are risks of crashes," said Litscher.

The Swiss rider was first on the initial downhill with a slight gap to Kerschbaumer, who was just behind him. "I waited a bit for Kerschbaumer because it's so hard to go alone. I thought he could follow me, but after that second uphill, I was alone. So I concentrated hard on the technical sections in order to build my lead from then on."  Litscher stopped the clock at 1:32:30.

"The race was very hard and very fast. Today was not my day," said Kerschbaumer after the finish.

As the Italian fell back from Litscher, he was part of the initial battle for second with Moorlag, Konwa and Diego Rosa (Italy), but later dropped back further to finish in sixth place.

On lap four of six total, Konwa got ahead of Moorlag for good. Both seemed likely at that point to keep their second and third spots, too, barring any catastrophe.

"On the first lap, I had a crash," said Konwa, who had been feeling good during the past few weekends of World Cups. "Later, I went on alone. The second and third laps were good for me. I went very fast in the technical sections."  Konwa finished 1:42 after Litscher.

"I had a good start, but it was hard to follow the lead guys," said Moorlag, who is halfway toward meeting qualification for the Dutch Olympic team. "I tried to ride my own race and with that, I got a bronze medal, so I'm happy with that." 

"The other guys were stronger on the technical parts," he said," but on the uphills and flats, I was strong today."  Moorlag finished at 2:13.

Switzerland had a very good day with three finishers in the top five. Matthias Stirnemann and Reto Indergand were fourth and fifth respectively. The two riders never looked like they would break into the medals, but they looked strong throughout the race.

"I had a mechanical in the second last lap," said Stirnemann. "I had a flat front tire, but I didn't lose all the air, so I could ride it to the tech zone, where I got it fixed."

Indergand had what he called a "super" race. "I started as number 37, so it was impossible to be at the front with the group initially, but in the following laps, I worked my way up. My legs felt good." Two years ago as a junior, he won a silver medal at the Worlds in Australia.

Race notes

The top North Americans were Leandre Bouchard (Canada) and Kerry Werner (United States). "It went out hard today, and it stayed hard the whole time," said Werner. "There was no group work, it felt like you were charging from the start. Everyone was resting in different places, so you might pass them on the climb and they'd pass you back on the next flat."

“I managed my race very well, at my maximum throughout the race. I raced well, and despite a few mistakes, I always came back. I think I may have gained 10-15 positions in the second half of the race, which is very encouraging,” said Bouchard. “It was slippery, yes, but in mountain biking, riders have to adapt to the conditions. Typically I do very well in those conditions."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Litscher (Switzerland)1:32:30
2Marek Konwa (Poland)0:01:42
3Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands)0:02:13
4Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland)0:03:33
5Reto Indergand (Switzerland)0:04:17
6Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy)0:05:00
7Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Germany)0:05:13
8Diego Rosa (Italy)0:05:27
9Sebastien Carabin (Belgium)0:05:35
10Jordan Sarrou (France)0:06:03
11Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)0:06:46
12Ruben Scheire (Belgium)0:07:05
13Timofei Ivanov (Russian Federation)0:07:13
14Nicholas Pettina (Italy)0:07:42
15Paul Van Der Ploeg (Australia)0:07:58
16Andy Eyring (Germany)0:08:06
17Luca Braidot (Italy)0:08:34
18Piotr Brzozka (Poland)0:08:46
19Jérémy Huguenin (Switzerland)0:09:07
20Marcel Fleschhut (Germany)0:09:14
21Marek Rauchfuss (Czech Republic)0:09:29
22Zsolt Juhasz (Hungary)0:09:33
23Fabien Canal (France)0:09:46
24Sherman Paiva (Brazil)0:10:04
25Henrique Avancini (Brazil)0:10:12
26Kenta Gallagher (Great Britain)0:10:14
27Dmytro Titarenko (Ukraine)0:10:41
28Shlomi Haimy (Israel)0:10:42
29Leandre Bouchard (Canada)0:10:48
30Matej Nepustil (Czech Republic)0:11:02
31Rourke Croeser (South Africa)0:11:09
32James Reid (South Africa)0:11:10
33Kerry Werner (United States Of America)0:11:11
34Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic)0:11:27
35Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)0:11:44
36Dirk Peters (New Zealand)0:11:51
37Pavel Priadein (Russian Federation)0:12:03
38Markus Bauer (Germany)0:12:18
39Ivan Smirnov (Russian Federation)0:12:35
40Julian Schelb (Germany)0:12:58
41Jack Hinkens (United States Of America)0:13:11
42Jeremy Martin (Canada)0:13:52
43Mario Luis Miranda Costa (Portugal)0:14:53
-1lapMarc Metzler (Switzerland)
-1lapKornel Osicki (Poland)
-1lapTrenton Day (Australia)
-1lapJonas Pedersen (Denmark)
-1lapDaniel Eymann (Switzerland)
-1lapOlof Jonsson (Sweden)
-1lapMitchell Bailey (Canada)
-1lapAntoine Caron (Canada)
-1lapEvan Guthrie (Canada)
-1lapJeff Luyten (Belgium)
-1lapRussell Finsterwald (United States Of America)
-1lapJhonnatan Botero Villegas (Colombia)
-2lapsEvan Mcneely (Canada)
-2lapsDaniele Braidot (Italy)
-2lapsCameron Ivory (Australia)
-2lapsCristofer Bosque Ruano (Spain)
-2lapsGregor Raggl (Austria)
-2lapsDominic Calitz (South Africa)
-2lapsRicardo Paulo Reis Marinheiro (Portugal)
-2lapsDimitrios Antoniadis (Greece)
-3lapsMykhaylo Batsutsa (Ukraine)
-3lapsJaime Yesid Chia Amaya (Colombia)
-3lapsFabian Strecker (Germany)
-3lapsUrban Ferencak (Slovenia)
-3lapsJavier Altamirano Rodrigo (Argentina)
-3lapsFederico Andres Mallo (Argentina)
-3lapsBenjamin Buchi (Switzerland)
-3lapsSamuel Shaw (New Zealand)
-3lapsBrad Hudson (New Zealand)
-3lapsAnton Liyubuy (Ukraine)
-3lapsMatthias Hoi (Austria)
-3lapsTakuji Noda (Japan)
-3lapsMichael Crosbie (Australia)
-3lapsRicardo Javier Hazbun Velazquez (Chile)
DNFStephen Ettinger (United States Of America)
DNFMarco Minnaard (Netherlands)
DNFFilip Turk (Croatia)
DNFOndrej Cink (Czech Republic)
DNFSascha Bleher (Germany)
DNFJose Maria Sanchez Ruiz (Spain)
DNFGerman Dorhmann (Argentina)
DNSMarko Popovic (Serbia)
DNSFelix Euteneuer (Germany)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
6Czech Republic170
7Russian Federation166
12South Africa131
13United States Of America127
19Great Britain59


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