Schurter races to birthday win in Nove Mesto cross country

As the end of the Olympic qualification period approaches, the intensity of racing keeps increasing at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. In round 3 of the elite men's cross country series, in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) increased his lead in the men's series, after a fierce battle with defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), who was racing before a home crowd.

In the men's field, the competition was expected to be between Schurter, Julien Absalon (Orbea) - the winner of round two - and Kulhavy, who won here last year and was expected to up his game considerably for this race.

Five riders opened a gap after the start loop, but Absalon wasn't one of them; after a crash in the rock garden and struggling to stay in the mid-20s, the rumoured to be sick French champion abandoned on lap four.  The lead group of five included Schurter, Kulhavy, Marco Fontana (Cannondale), Burry Stander (Specialized) and Ralf Naef (Multivan Merida).  Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower) had been in the top five on the first lap, but faded from the leaders.

At the front, Kulhavy and Fontana opened a small gap after one lap on a chase group containing Schurter, Burry Stander (Specialized), and Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida), but all five riders would regroup repeatedly after many of them took turns attacking at various times.  For the first four laps, they mostly stayed together.

On lap five, first Naef and then Fontana were dropped by the other three.  Stander tried an early attack on the final lap, but couldn't hold the pace and dropped off Kulhavy and Schurter.  Then Schurter attacked the former world champion to record the only sub-13 minute lap of the race. It was only slightly faster than Kulhavy, pushed along by the roar of the crowd, but it was enough to give the Swiss rider a six-second gap on his rival, and his second win of the season; on his birthday, no less. Stander soloed in for third, with Fontana finishing just ahead of Naef for fourth and fifth respectively.

"It was a real hard race," said Schurter. "I had a small mechanical on the first lap; my chain dropped off and then I had to gain connection with the leading group, and that was quite hard for me. It was a really awesome race here in front of the Czech crowd. The crowd here is unbelievable, so great. On the uphill it was so loud - everybody was cheering - it makes it fun to race in front of a crowd like this. And they are really fair, they cheer for a Swiss guy too, not just for Kulhavy."

"The best is when you can win on your birthday," said Schurter. "I had some more energy today, being my birthday, and I wanted to win. It is really a great feeling to win a World Cup on your birthday."

Schurter leads the overall World Cup rankings with 700 points, followed by Burry Stander with 510 and Kulhavy at 425. Absalon dropped from second to fifth, behind Fontana.

Specialized topped the team results for the day and the overall World Cup standings.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team1:26:46
2Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing0:00:06
3Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing0:00:17
4Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:00:46
5Ralph Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:00:47
6Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:01:14
7Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:01:20
8Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:01:32
9Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:01:43
10José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:01:47
11Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Racing0:02:03
12Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:02:15
13Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:02:23
14Max Plaxton (Can)0:02:32
15Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing0:02:57
16Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:03:13
17Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra)0:03:15
18Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:03:17
19Liam Killeen (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:03:28
20Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru - Trek0:03:29
21Jiri Novak (Cze)0:03:36
22Stéphane Tempier (Fra) TX Active BianchiRow 21 - Cell 2
23Sven Nys (Bel)0:03:51
24Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta - CorratecRow 23 - Cell 2
25Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Lapierre International0:04:24
26Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:04:25
27Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:04:31
28Henk Jaap Moorlag* (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:04:39
29Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta - Corratec0:04:42
30Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry0:05:04
31Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized0:05:08
32Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:05:10
33Jochen Kass (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:05:11
34Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:05:19
35Marek Konwa* (Pol) Milka- Superior MTB Racing Team0:05:25
36Lukas Sablik (Cze) Rubena Auto-Mencik Specialized0:05:26
37Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Trek World Racing0:05:27
38Daniel Mcconnell (Aus)0:05:33
39Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) Wildwolf - Trek Pro Racing0:05:50
40Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:06:00
41Periklis Ilias (Gre) Team Protek0:06:10
42Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Milka- Superior MTB Racing TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:06:11
44Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Spa) Orbea Racing Team0:06:17
45Tony Longo (Ita) TX Active BianchiRow 44 - Cell 2
46Umberto Corti (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.0:06:19
47Martino Fruet (Ita)0:06:20
48Kristian Hynek (Cze)0:06:26
49Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru - Trek0:06:27
50Thomas Litscher (Swi) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:06:34
51Andras Parti (Hun)0:06:38
52Jürg Graf (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team0:06:44
53Milan Spesny (Cze) S&H Superior MTB Team0:06:51
54Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:06:54
55Philip Buys (RSA)Row 54 - Cell 2
56Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing0:06:55
57Kevin Pauwels (Bel)0:07:01
58Michal Lami (Svk)Row 57 - Cell 2
59Jérémy Huguenin (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour0:07:16
60Martin Loo (Est) Hard Rock Canossa Merida0:07:24
61Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team0:07:31
62Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Racing TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus MIG Team0:07:36
64Martin Fanger (Swi) Giant Swiss SR - Suntour0:07:46
65Pavel Boudny (Cze)0:07:55
66Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Cédric Ravanel (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix0:08:09
68Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:08:16
69Lachlan Norris (Aus) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:08:23
70Ludovic Dubau (Fra) Team Newcycling0:08:42
71Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3Roxracing0:09:15
72Tom Meeusen (Bel)0:09:22
73Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys Team0:09:26
74Giancarlo Sax (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team0:09:35
75Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team0:09:41
76Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Col) TX Active Bianchi0:09:44
77Simon Scheiber (Aut) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:09:50
78Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team0:09:54
79Marc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)0:10:06
80Markus Bauer (Ger)0:10:20
81Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Felt Oetztal X - Bionic Team0:10:31
82David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey-Cannondale0:10:36
83David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)Row 82 - Cell 2
84Adam Morka (Can)0:10:38
85Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:10:39
86Pascal Meyer (Swi)0:10:58
87Jan Jobanek (Cze) Merida Biking Team0:11:02
88Andy Eyring (Ger)0:11:09
89Tiago Jorge Oliveira Ferreira (Por) Bi&Esse - Infotre Protek0:11:21
90Daniel Geismayr (Aut)0:11:22
91Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:11:31
92Dariusz Batek (Pol)0:12:01
93Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix0:12:14
94Hannes Metzler (Aut)0:12:58
-1lapSid Taberlay (Aus)Row 94 - Cell 2
-1lapDaniel Eymann (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
-1lapHans Becking (Ned) Milka- Superior MTB Racing TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
-1lapSpencer Paxson (USA) KonaRow 97 - Cell 2
-1lapLukas Kaufmann (Swi) Team Fujibikes RocketsRow 98 - Cell 2
-1lapMartin Haring (Svk)Row 99 - Cell 2
-1lapTim Lemmers (Ned) Feenstra Stevens Bike TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
-1lapPierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Lapierre InternationalRow 101 - Cell 2
-1lapPaolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)Row 102 - Cell 2
-1lapMichael Broderick (USA)Row 103 - Cell 2
-1lapPatrik Gallati (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
-1lapRafal Hebisz (Pol)Row 105 - Cell 2
-1lapJavier Eduardo Puschel (Chi)Row 106 - Cell 2
-1lapMatous Ulman (Cze) S&H Superior MTB TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
-1lapSang Hoon Na (Kor)Row 108 - Cell 2
-1lapDavid Escolar Ballesteros (Spa)Row 109 - Cell 2
-2lapsDerek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3RoxracingRow 110 - Cell 2
-2lapsSteffen Thum (Ger)Row 111 - Cell 2
-2lapsMariusz Gil (Pol)Row 112 - Cell 2
-2lapsRafal Alchimowiz (Pol)Row 113 - Cell 2
-2lapsMilan Barenyi (Svk)Row 114 - Cell 2
-2lapsAdrien Niyonshuti (Rwa)Row 115 - Cell 2
-2lapsJan Fojtik (Cze)Row 116 - Cell 2
-2lapsChristopher Maletz (Ger)Row 117 - Cell 2
-2lapsGiuseppe Lamastra (Ita)Row 118 - Cell 2
-2lapsCristobal Silva Ibaceta (Chi)Row 119 - Cell 2
-2lapsVitalii Zubchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
-2lapsSimon Seehofer (Aut)Row 121 - Cell 2
-2lapsKirill Kazantsev (Kaz)Row 122 - Cell 2
-2lapsWeisong Tong (Chn)Row 123 - Cell 2
-2lapsTomasz Drozdz (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
-3lapsFelix Euteneuer (Ger)Row 125 - Cell 2
-3lapsMatthias Waldhart (Aut)Row 126 - Cell 2
-3lapsBostjan Hribovsek (Slo)Row 127 - Cell 2
-3lapsZdenek Mlynar (Cze)Row 128 - Cell 2
-3lapsFrantisek Zilak (Cze)Row 129 - Cell 2
-3lapsIoan Tudor Radu (Rom)Row 130 - Cell 2
-3lapsBrian Lopes (USA)Row 131 - Cell 2
-3lapsGabor Bogar (Hun)Row 132 - Cell 2
-3lapsArtyom Golovaschenko (Kaz)Row 133 - Cell 2
-4lapsElisei Miron (Rom)Row 134 - Cell 2
-4lapsMiha Halzer (Slo) Energijateam.ComRow 135 - Cell 2
-4lapsGeorge Vlad Sabau (Rom)Row 136 - Cell 2
-4lapsLubomir Vojta (Cze)Row 137 - Cell 2
-4lapsBesik Gavasheli (Geo)Row 138 - Cell 2
DNFPiotr Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFKazuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn)Row 140 - Cell 2
DNFKevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFSeverin Disch (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 142 - Cell 2
DNFJulien Absalon (Fra) Orbea Racing TeamRow 143 - Cell 2
DNFMarek Galinski (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
DNFChristoph Soukup (Aut)Row 145 - Cell 2
DNFMatthias Wengelin (Swe) Team Herbalife 24 RaumerrittetRow 146 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Brzozka (Pol) JBG - 2 Professional MTB TeamRow 147 - Cell 2
DNFDavy Huygens (Bel)Row 148 - Cell 2
DNFSimon Gegenheimer (Ger)Row 149 - Cell 2
DNFSepp Freiburghaus (Swi) Thoemus Racing TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFUwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Muskelkater Genesis TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFRobby De Bock (Bel)Row 152 - Cell 2
DNSOla Kjören (Nor) Team Herbalife 24 RaumerrittetRow 153 - Cell 2
DNSMarco Schätzing (Ger)Row 154 - Cell 2
DNSMarkus Loisl (Aut)Row 155 - Cell 2
DNSDennis Ebert (Ned)Row 156 - Cell 2
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Specialized Racing87pts
2Multivan Merida Biking Team64Row 1 - Cell 3
3Scott - Swisspower MTB