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Schurter outduels Absalon in Val di Sole cross country

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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) celebrates victory in the men's cross country at the Val di Sole World Cup

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) celebrates victory in the men's cross country at the Val di Sole World Cup (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Mathias Flückiger (Stöckli Pro Team)

Mathias Flückiger (Stöckli Pro Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) charges off the front

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) charges off the front (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) leading Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team)

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) leading Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team)

Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing Xc)

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing Xc) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) & Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) through the feedzone for the last time

Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) & Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) through the feedzone for the last time (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) finishing 2nd - again

Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) finishing 2nd - again (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The Brothers Flückiger, finish 4/5

The Brothers Flückiger, finish 4/5 (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team)

Julien Absalon (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team)

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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arco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing)

arco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Thomas Litscher (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Thomas Litscher (Multivan Merida Biking Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Daniel Mcconnell (Trek Factory Racing)

Daniel Mcconnell (Trek Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Miguel Martinez (Factory FRM ISD)

Miguel Martinez (Factory FRM ISD) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing)

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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udi Van Houts (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

udi Van Houts (Multivan Merida Biking Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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World Cup leader Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team)

World Cup leader Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Men's cross country podium in Val di Sole (L-R): Mathias Flückiger, Julien Absalon, Nino Schurter, Jaroslav Kulhavy and Lukas Flückiger

Men's cross country podium in Val di Sole (L-R): Mathias Flückiger, Julien Absalon, Nino Schurter, Jaroslav Kulhavy and Lukas Flückiger (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Despite intense heat that saw many riders wilt, the cross-country mountain bike World Cup saw an intense battle between two riders right to the finish line at Val di Sole, Italy. World champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) outkicked his usual rival Julien Absalon (BMC) to win his second World Cup in a row, and now holds a commanding lead in the overall standings at the halfway mark of the 2013 World Cup series.

The Val di Sole course is renowned for steep climbs, technical singletrack and hot, humid conditions; and this year was no different. Many riders that went out hard early in the races were fading by the halfway point, including Italian favourite Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing).

However, two riders didn't appear to be bothered by the weather, with Schurter and Absalon attacking the rest of the field. Olympic champion and former Val di Sole winner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing XC) managed to stay with the duo for one lap before having to slow to his own pace. The two leaders steadily pulled away from the rest of the field, never gaining more than a bike length on each other as lap after lap went by.

Into the final lap the two were still neck-and-neck and, after more than 90 minutes of flat out racing, it came down to the final 200 metres and a sprint. Absalon initially tried to match Schurter, but fell back after 100 metres to finish three seconds down. Kulhavy held onto third, but was nearly two minutes behind the front two.

"It is awesome to win here again," said Schurter. "It is a really tough course with the steep uphills. It was amazing to battle with Absalon. The last years I was always battling here for the win - once I won - once I got second.

"I felt pretty strong in the beginning, then I saw Absalon was as well really strong . I never knew if he was playing with me, or if his attack is coming soon. I would say we are nearly the same, I am [just] a bit stronger in the sprint. I am very happy about my victory."

Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing), the surprise winner of round one, showed that his win was not luck. Starting a little slower, in the high teens, the Australian steadily worked his way up the rankings, and by the start of the last lap was up to sixth. He was closing on the two Fluckiger brothers - Lukas (BMC) and Mathias (Stockli Pro Team) - who were literally looking over their shoulders as he chased them down, finishing a scant four seconds back at the line.

Schurter now leads the men's standings with 570 points, followed by McConnell at 450 and Lukas Fluckiger with 440 points.

Full Results
1Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team1:32:47
2Julien Absalon (Fra) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:00:03
3Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing XC0:01:57
4Mathias Flückiger (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team0:02:28
5Lukas Flückiger (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
6Daniel McConnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing0:02:32
7Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:03:31
8José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team
9Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:19
10Ondrej Cink (Cze) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:04:40
11Alexander Gehbauer (Aut) TX Active Bianchi0:04:54
12Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:05:20
13Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Controltech Nevi0:05:33
14Miguel Martinez (Fra)0:05:41
15Thomas Litscher (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:06:10
16Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Specialized Racing XC0:06:19
17Sergji Rysenko (Ukr) Cycling Club Roma MTB Team0:06:42
18Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:06:56
19Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:07:12
20Anton Sintsov (Rus) Titici LGL International Team0:07:30
21Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team0:07:46
22Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli0:07:59
23Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing0:08:23
24Jürg Graf (Swi) BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team0:08:26
25Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:08:34
26Michal Lami (Svk)0:08:47
27Martin Gujan (Swi) TX Active Bianchi0:08:57
28Castaneda Monsalve (Col)0:08:58
29Andras Parti (Hun) Waberer's Areus Cube Mtb Team0:09:02
30Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut) Focus XC Team0:09:07
31Henrique Avancini (Bra) Caloi0:09:09
32Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team0:09:13
33Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team0:09:25
34Ralph Naef (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:43
35Martin Fanger (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:09:53
36Martin Loo (Est) Merida Italia Team0:10:00
37Shlomi Haimy (Isr) Focus XC Team0:10:18
38Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) Team Bulls0:10:25
39Michele Casagrande (Ita) Elettroveneta-Corratec
40Umberto Corti (Ita) Controltech Nevi0:10:52
41Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Team Merida Wallonie MTB0:10:57
42Zsolt Juhasz (Hun) Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team0:11:05
43Marek Konwa (Pol) Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team0:11:45
44Moritz Milatz (Ger) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:11:57
45Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa) Elettroveneta-Corratec
46Fabien Canal (Fra) Asptt Definitive Tec-1lap
47Hans Becking (Ned) Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team
48Frank Beemer (Ned) MPL Specialized MTB Team
49Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra)
50Paolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)
51Giancarlo Sax (Swi)
52Robby De Bock (Bel) Feenstra Felt p/b Kenda
53Lucien Besancon (Swi)
54Carl Jones (NZl)
55Daniel Eymann (Swi)
56Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)
57Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)
58Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC
59Pascal Meyer (Swi) JB Felt Team
60Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team
61Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr) ISD MTB Team
62Patrik Gallati (Swi) Focus XC Team-2laps
63Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing
64Simon Scheiber (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
65Paul Oldham (GBr)
66Karl Markt (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team
67Pavel Priadein (Rus)
68Jonas Baumann (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team
69Ramon Sagues Portabella (Spa)
70Matthias Wengelin (Swe)
71Philip Buys (RSA)
72Evgeniy Pechenin (Rus) Forward - Udmurtia
73Michael Broderick (USA)-3laps
74Kornel Osicki (Pol)
75Florian Thie (Swi)
76David Fletcher (GBr) Orange Monkey Pro Team
77Brice Scholtes (Bel) Team Merida Wallonie MTB
78Marco Schätzing (Ger)
79Umbert Almenara Verges (Spa)
80Renay Groustra (RSA)
81Tudor Oprea Ovidiu (Rom)
82Sang Hoon Na (Kor) Calvisson VTT
83Tim Wynants (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team
84Martin Haring (Svk)
85Timofei Ivanov (Rus) Forward - Udmurtia
86Seiya Hirano (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team-4laps
87Bostjan Hribovsek (Slo) Calcit Bike Team
88Mykhaylo Batsutsa (Ukr) Cycling Club Roma MTB Team
89Pascal Schmutz (Swi) Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli
90Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)
91Lucian Logigan (Rom)
92Miguel Angel Hidalgo (Arg)
93Volodymyr Zinovkin (Ukr)
94Ali Cakas (Tur)-5laps
95Mario Matijevic (Bel)
96Mario Kojic (BiH)
97Besik Gavasheli (Geo)
DNFSven Nys (Bel)
DNFSepp Freiburghaus (Swi)
DNFErik Groen (Ned) Feenstra Felt p/b Kenda
DNFJan Skarnitzl (Cze) SRAM Rubena Trek
DNFMax Plaxton (Can)
DNFPierluigi Bettelli (Ita)
DNFAndy Eyring (Ger)
DNFGerman Dorhmann (Arg)
DNFJosé Juan Escarcega (Mex)
DNFFabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team
DNFJochen Kass (Ger)
DNFMartino Fruet (Ita)
DNSSilvio Busser (Swi) Wheeler - IXS Team

Teams
1Multivan Merida Biking Team66pts
2BMC Mountainbike Racing Team63
3Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team58
4Specialized Racing XC47
5TX Active Bianchi43
6Stöckli Pro Team30
7Trek Factory Racing26
8Cannondale Factory Racing24
9Controltech Nevi18
10Cycling Club Roma MTB Team14
11Topeak Ergon Racing Team13
12Titici LGL International Team11
13Giant Pro XC Team10
14Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli9
15Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing8
16BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team7
17Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team2
18Focus XC Team1

World Cup standings - Individuals
1Nino Schurter (Swi)570pts
2Daniel McConnell (Aus)450
3Lukas Flückiger (Swi)440
4Julien Absalon (Fra)400
5Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)374
6Thomas Litscher (Swi)326
7Mathias Flückiger (Swi)318
8Ondrej Cink (Cze)310
9Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita)294
10Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa)260
11Max Plaxton (Can)260
12Maxime Marotte (Fra)255
13Rudi Van Houts (Ned)254
14Martin Fanger (Swi)251
15Alexander Gehbauer (Aut)212
16Emil Lindgren (Swe)210
17José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)200
18Fabian Giger (Swi)200
19Geoff Kabush (Can)196
20Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned)196
21Marek Konwa (Pol)171
22Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)166
23Martin Loo (Est)164
24Andrea Tiberi (Ita)160
25Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita)153
26Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel)152
27Uwe Hochenwarter (Aut)148
28Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn)146
29Marcel Wildhaber (Swi)146
30Martin Gujan (Swi)141
31Florian Vogel (Swi)128
32Sergji Rysenko (Ukr)116
33Jürg Graf (Swi)106
34Miguel Martinez (Fra)105
35Wolfram Kurschat (Ger)104
36Fabien Canal (Fra)104
37Jiri Novak (Cze)100
38Stéphane Tempier (Fra)95
39Jan Skarnitzl (Cze)95
40Michal Lami (Svk)92
41Andras Parti (Hun)88
42Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spa)82
43Derek Zandstra (Can)78
44Anton Sintsov (Rus)66
45Moritz Milatz (Ger)66
46Hans Becking (Ned)62
47Michele Casagrande (Ita)61
48Shlomi Haimy (Isr)59
49Patrik Gallati (Swi)54
50Fabio Hernando Castaneda Monsalve (Col)50
51Alban Lakata (Aut)50
52Oleksandr Gerashchenko (Ukr)48
53Sebastien Carabin (Bel)48
54Jochen Kass (Ger)46
55Giancarlo Sax (Swi)46
56Henrique Avancini (Bra)44
57Simon Stiebjahn (Ger)43
58Raphael Gagne (Can)43
59Sepp Freiburghaus (Swi)42
60Umberto Corti (Ita)42
61Paolo Cesar Montoya Cantillo (CRc)40
62Ralph Naef (Swi)38
63David Joao Serralheiro Rosa (Por)36
64Karl Markt (Aut)36
65Filip Eberl (Cze)35
66Lucien Besancon (Swi)34
67Pascal Meyer (Swi)33
68Jonas De Backer (Bel)32
69Matous Ulman (Cze)30
70Philip Buys (RSA)30
71Zsolt Juhasz (Hun)26
72Mitchell Hoke (USA)26
73Daniel Eymann (Swi)25
74Matthias Wengelin (Swe)24
75Kornel Osicki (Pol)23
76Catriel Andres Soto (Arg)21
77Frank Beemer (Ned)20
78Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (Fra)19
79Pavel Boudny (Cze)18
80Todd Wells (USA)17
81Andy Eyring (Ger)17
82Robby De Bock (Bel)16
83Simon Scheiber (Aut)16
84Carl Jones (NZl)14
85Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)12
86Ismael Ventura Sanchez (Spa)12
87Marcel Fleschhut (Ger)11
88Ludovic Dubau (Fra)10
89Tim Wynants (Bel)10
90Kristian Hynek (Cze)9
91Cameron Jette (Can)9
92Dmytro Titarenko (Ukr)8
93Pavel Priadein (Rus)8

World Cup standings - Teams
1BMC Mountainbike Racing Team203pts
2Multivan Merida Biking Team198
3Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team129
4Giant Pro XC Team115
5Specialized Racing XC98
6Trek Factory Racing79
7BH - SR Suntour - KMC72
8TX Active Bianchi70
9Cannondale Factory Racing61
10Stöckli Pro Team60
11Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing43
12Scott-3Roxracing40
13Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team35
14Controltech Nevi27
15Merida Italia Team21
16Goldwurst-Power / Stöckli17
17Topeak Ergon Racing Team16
18Cycling Club Roma MTB Team14
19Versluys Team12
20Titici LGL International Team11
21SRAM Rubena Trek11
22BSK Graf-Rollmat-Koba MTB Team9
23Asptt Definitive Tec8
24Focus XC Team8
25Waberer's Areus Cube MTB Team2
26ISD MTB Team2

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