Skip to main content

Schurter upsets Absalon for first elite world title

Image 1 of 33

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) on top after the cross country World Championship. Julien Absalon (France) and Florian Vogel (Switzerland), l & r.

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) on top after the cross country World Championship. Julien Absalon (France) and Florian Vogel (Switzerland), l & r. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 2 of 33

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) wins the cross country World Championship

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) wins the cross country World Championship (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 3 of 33

Sam Schultz's (USA) single Cr set up with a special chain guide.

Sam Schultz's (USA) single Cr set up with a special chain guide. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 4 of 33

Julien Absalon's single CR set up with chain guide.

Julien Absalon's single CR set up with chain guide. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 5 of 33

(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 6 of 33

South Africa's Burry Stander, who won the previous day's Under 23 men's title, shows off his new kit.

South Africa's Burry Stander, who won the previous day's Under 23 men's title, shows off his new kit. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 7 of 33

This group took an early lead and never looked back.

This group took an early lead and never looked back. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 8 of 33

(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 9 of 33

The lead group on the opening lap consisted of nine riders.

The lead group on the opening lap consisted of nine riders. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 10 of 33

Jelmer Pietersma (Netherlands) leading a chase group.

Jelmer Pietersma (Netherlands) leading a chase group. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 11 of 33

The US was well represented. Todd Wells eighth place would the best finish by an American on the day.

The US was well represented. Todd Wells eighth place would the best finish by an American on the day. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 12 of 33

Filip Meirhaeghe has come out of retirement (again) and finished 19th. Not bad for a guy who retired and has not raced since early May.

Filip Meirhaeghe has come out of retirement (again) and finished 19th. Not bad for a guy who retired and has not raced since early May. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 13 of 33

Liam Killeen (Great Britain).

Liam Killeen (Great Britain). (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 14 of 33

Sven Nys (Belgium) continues to improve as an XC rider. He was challenging for fifth until the final two laps.

Sven Nys (Belgium) continues to improve as an XC rider. He was challenging for fifth until the final two laps. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 15 of 33

Geoff Kabush (Canada) came out strong but couldn't stay with the leaders.

Geoff Kabush (Canada) came out strong but couldn't stay with the leaders. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 16 of 33

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) played a huge role in his team-mate's win.

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) played a huge role in his team-mate's win. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 17 of 33

(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 18 of 33

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) rode a very smart race.

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) rode a very smart race. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 19 of 33

Todd Wells (USA) got stronger as the race went longer.

Todd Wells (USA) got stronger as the race went longer. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 20 of 33

Swiss Christoph Sauser, 2008 World Champion, had no answers today.

Swiss Christoph Sauser, 2008 World Champion, had no answers today. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 21 of 33

Julien Absalon (France) couldn't shake Nino Schurter (Switzerland).

Julien Absalon (France) couldn't shake Nino Schurter (Switzerland). (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 22 of 33

Jos

Jos (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 23 of 33

Geoff Kabush (Canada)

Geoff Kabush (Canada) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 24 of 33

Jean-Christophe Peraud (France)

Jean-Christophe Peraud (France) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 25 of 33

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 26 of 33

Sven Nys (Belgium)

Sven Nys (Belgium) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 27 of 33

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) and Jose Hermida (Spain) drag race down the final stretch.

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) and Jose Hermida (Spain) drag race down the final stretch. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 28 of 33

Jose Hermida (Spain) realizes he is not going to do it.

Jose Hermida (Spain) realizes he is not going to do it. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 29 of 33

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) does a final check.

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) does a final check. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 30 of 33

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) cruises in and takes bronze.

Florian Vogel (Switzerland) cruises in and takes bronze. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 31 of 33

Celebration time.

Celebration time. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 32 of 33

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) is one happy guy.

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) is one happy guy. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 33 of 33

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) became a giant killer after out-racing Julien Absalon (France).

Nino Schurter (Switzerland) became a giant killer after out-racing Julien Absalon (France). (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

It took a team effort, but the Swiss duo of Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel were able to crack the puzzle of how to beat France's Julien Absalon.

Schurter, the Olympic bronze medalist and last year's Under 23 World Champion won the elite men's world title in Canberra, Australia. He finished three seconds ahead of Olympic champion Absalon.

"It's an amazing feeling," said Schurter. "It was the perfect race for me, the perfect course – really technical which is what I like – and I had a great day today. It's an amazing feeling after being the Under 23 World Champion and then straight to the elite World Champion. It's a dream has come true for me."

Vogel out-sprinted Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos of Spain for the bronze medal, 58 seconds behind Schurter., Canada's Geoff Kabush came back from a flat tire to take fifth.

The headwind in the opening section of the lap meant that it was much better to be in a group than on your own, as Kabush discovered.

"I had a slow leak in my tyre," said Kabush, "so I had to stop in the pits for a quick wheel change [on lap three], which lost me a few seconds. On this course, with the long climb into the head wind, it meant that I just couldn't catch back onto the front group."

At the start of lap two a sizable group had formed at the lead – Absalon, Schurter, Vogel, Hermida, Kabush, Jean-Christophe Peraud (France), Cedric Ravanel (France), Marco Fontana (Italy), Stephane Tempier (France), Sven Nys (Belgium), Emil Lindgren (Sweden), Daniel McConnell (Australia), Lukas Fluckiger (Switzerland) and Roel Paulissen (Belgium).

By the start of lap three, the group had thinned considerably, down to Absalon, Schurter, Vogel, Kabush, Hermida, Fontana and Lindgren. It came apart completely on lap three, when Kabush had his mechanical troubles. The lead group dropped to four: Schurter, Absalon, Vogel and Hermida. Hermida had his own issues on the same lap, when his chain jammed, but was able to chase back up.

The front five were set for the rest of the race, but there was still almost half the race to go. The Swiss began to use their numerical superiority to break things up.

Schurter and Absalon began attacking, and dropped Hermida and Vogel on lap five. With the wind, both pairs of riders stayed together for the rest of the race. At the front, Schurter and Absalon both launched attacks in the final lap, but neither could shake the other until a tremendous effort by Schurter in the final feed zone gained him a couple of seconds. The move came just before the last single track run in to the finish, with nowhere to pass, and Schurter was able to hold his gap to the line.

"I was never thinking that I could take the win until the last feed zone when I attacked there and saw that I had a small gap of ten metres. From there I was flying down into the finish," said Schurter.

Vogel and Hermida were even tighter, coming down to a sprint that Vogel led out from the final turn.

"Florian Vogel was in third position which was a good tactic for the Swiss guys," said Absalon. "I was in front and I did most of the race in front, but it is not often like this in a mountain bike race. This track was really fast and it was not possible to go alone because of the wind, and it was technical.

"Nino did a really good attack and it was a little bit bumpy.  I made a mistake with my chain, and I lost five metres and then it was finished for me."

Schurter's teammate Vogel made a tactical decision to let Absalon and Schurter go, and conserve his energy for third. "I was actually in a pretty good position for both Nino and myself. In the end, I realised that José had done a lot of work and he really tried to catch up to Nino and Julien and he wasted a lot of energy."

America's top finisher was Todd Wells in eighth place.

Results
1Nino Schurter (Switzerland)2:04:39
2Julien Absalon (France)0:00:03
3Florian Vogel (Switzerland)0:00:58
4José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain)
5Geoff Kabush (Canada)0:02:04
6Cédric Ravanel (France)0:02:35
7Jean-Christophe Peraud (France)0:02:59
8Todd Wells (United States of America)0:03:06
9Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic)0:03:22
10Christoph Sauser (Switzerland)0:03:45
11Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)0:03:56
12Stéphane Tempier (France)0:04:09
13Martin Gujan (Switzerland)0:04:24
14Sven Nys (Belgium)0:04:30
15Chris Jongewaard (Australia)0:04:35
16Roel Paulissen (Belgium)0:04:44
17Emil Lindgren (Sweden)0:04:51
18Adam Craig (United States of America)0:05:03
19Filip Meirhaeghe (Belgium)0:05:16
20Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spain)0:05:22
21Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Spain)0:05:23
22Max Plaxton (Canada)0:06:07
23Moritz Milatz (Germany)0:06:36
24Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spain)0:06:45
25Milan Spesny (Czech Republic)0:06:53
26Jelmer Pietersma (Netherlands)0:06:58
27Tony Longo (Italy)0:07:08
28Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain)0:07:28
29Samuel Schultz (United States of America)0:07:31
30Rudi Van Houts (Netherlands)0:07:32
31Rubens Valeriano (Brazil)0:07:48
32Daniel Mcconnell (Australia)0:08:19
33Karl Markt (Austria)0:08:30
34Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (United States of America)0:09:01
35Ben Henderson (Australia)0:09:16
36Jan Skarnitzl (Czech Republic)0:10:31
37Derek Zandstra (Canada)0:10:46
38Manuel Fumic (Germany)0:11:00
39Sid Taberlay (Australia)0:11:01
40Michal Lami (Slovakia)0:11:07
41Liam Killeen (Great Britain)0:11:16
42Seamus Mcgrath (Canada)0:11:37
43Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)0:11:48
44Maxim Gogolev (Russian Federation)0:11:52
45Anton Gogolev (Russian Federation)0:12:07
46Kohei Yamamoto (Japan)0:12:14
47Jianhua Ji (People's Republic Of China)0:12:36
48Bjorn Brems (Belgium)0:12:41
49Hannes Metzler (Austria)0:13:09
50Pavel Boudny (Czech Republic)0:13:18
51Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia)0:13:29
52Fabio Hernando Castaneda Monsalve (Colombia)0:13:50
53Edivando De Souza Cruz (Brazil)0:13:52
54Carl Decker (United States of America)0:14:27
55Dylan Cooper (Australia)0:14:53
56Periklis Ilias (Greece)0:16:46
57Stuart Houltham (New Zealand)0:16:51
58Ivan Seledkov (Russian Federation)0:17:09
59Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chile)-1 lap
60Ricardo Pscheidt (Brazil)-1 lap
61Andrew Blair (Australia)-1 lap
62Keiichi Tsujiura (Japan)-2 laps
63Shufeng Zhang (People's Republic Of China)-2 laps
64Kirill Kazantsev (Kazakhstan)-3 laps
65Michael Broderick (United States of America)-3 laps
66Alban Lakata (Austria)-5 laps
67Ken Onodera (Japan)-5 laps
68Marios Athanasiadis (Cyprus)-6 laps
DNFBas Peters (Netherlands)
DNFEvgeniy Pechenin (Russian Federation)
DNFJohnny Cattaneo (Italy)
DNFBrendon Sharratt (New Zealand)
DNFKlaus Nielsen (Denmark)
DNFMichael Northcott (New-Zealand)
DNFMarcin Karczynski (Poland)

Latest on Cyclingnews