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MTB World Cup XC #5 & DH #3 - CDM
Fort William, Scotland, June 6-8, 2008
Race 4 - June 7: Elite men cross country
Swiss dominate at the Fort
By Luke Webber in Fort William
Just two weeks before the World Championships in Italy, the Swiss squad sent a strong message with three riders a class above the rest in round five of the World Cup in Fort William, Scotland. Florian Vogel (Swisspower MTB), Nino Schurter (Swisspower MTB) and Christoph Sauser (Specialized Factory) dominated the second part of the race to take a podium clean-sweep. There was no love lost in a tactical finish however, as SwissPower team-mates Schurter and Vogel worked over lone Specialized rider Sauser.
Over 100 riders took to a dry, dusty and worn Fort William track, which was essentially made up of one big climb, lasting over ten minutes and one descent back to the bottom. Under the shadow of Ben Nevis and in good weather, Burry Stander and Todd Wells (both GT Bicycles) led an early charge. Behind them a crash held up mid-pack riders including Thomas Frishkneckt, whose race ended as his rear derailleur went into his spokes.
Through the first lap Stander, Sauser and Vogel led before the race came back together. By lap four the race-wining group formed with Stander just ahead of the rest. Post-race he commented about lacking a real punch on the top section of the climb and that this was the only difference between first and fifth.
Even in the final stages nothing could separate the three Swiss, and it was down to the McKenzie Road section of the course and the final singletrack into the arena. "Nino and I were pretty much on the limit on the climbs; Sauser was so fast on the climbs but he could not quite drop us," said Vogel. The two dug in and it paid off. "I really knew how to play the finish. I had to be first in the last singletrack, and then I had the best chance to win it. Christoph started sprinting way too early. In the past I have been third so I knew where I made my mistakes and this time there were no mistakes."
And with the Worlds and Olympics just around the corner Vogel was quick to add why the Swiss riders were so strong, "Right now we are in the selection for the Olympics, too, and that is what is producing so many [good] rides; we all want in and it's so competitive."
Sauser did not have the sprint in the finish today, but considering his recent training preparations for the World Championships he was more than happy with his position. "That's probably the best result I could have got coming into the Worlds. During the race in the downhill I could drop the guys but there was too much pedalling in between and I couldn't make the difference. In the climbs I could not drop them and in the flat they could recover. It just wasn't technical enough for me."
One of the big surprises in the race came just off the podium as Sven Nys, usually a cyclo-cross specialist, finished in sixth overall, even after starting in the fifties. He is targeting the mountain bike event at the Olympics.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine / www.trailwatch.net
1 Florian Vogel (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 2.06.27 2 Nino Schurter (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 0.01 3 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing 0.09 4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Cannondale-Vredestein 0.47 5 Burry Stander (RSA) GT Bicycle 1.00 6 Sven Nys (Bel) 1.19 7 Christoph Soukup (Aut) 1.20 8 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It 1.21 9 Oliver Beckingsale (GBr) Giant Mountain Bike Team 1.31 10 Martin Gujan (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 1.56 11 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea 2.14 12 Jürg Graf (Swi) Swisspower Mtb Team 2.25 13 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bicycle 2.50 14 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 3.04 15 Cédric Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International 3.15 16 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mountain Bike Team 3.36 17 Lado Fumic (Ger) Fumic.Brothers.International 3.53 18 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 3.55 19 Milan Spesny (Cze) Merida Biking Team 4.05 20 Karl Markt (Aut) 4.08 21 Seamus Mcgrath (Can) 4.25 22 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale-Vredestein 4.28 23 Andreas Kugler (Swi) Fischer-BMC 4.29 24 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 4.56 25 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team 5.00 26 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racing 5.02 27 Wolfram Kurschat (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 5.07 28 Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa) ECP-Tau Ceramica 5.14 29 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Full-Dynamix-It 5.19 30 Michael Weiss (Aut) 5.27 31 Jochen Kass (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 5.32 32 Gion Manetsch (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 5.44 33 Anders Hovdenes (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 6.09 34 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 6.20 35 Tim Bohme (Ger) Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike 6.41 36 Alban Lakata (Aut) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 6.43 37 Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 7.01 38 Sid Taberlay (Aus) 7.07 39 Ian Bibby (GBr) 7.16 40 Fabian Giger (Swi) 7.31 41 Jiri Friedl (Cze) Merida Biking Team 7.55 42 Mattias Wengelin (Swe) 8.00 43 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 44 Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein 8.32 45 Frank Schotman (Ned) 8.42 46 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) Central Ghost Pro Team 8.53 47 Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) 9.00 48 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) Athleticum-MTB-Team 9.42 49 Connor Mcconvey (Irl) 9.44 50 Josef Kamler (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB 9.53 51 Ian Wilkinson (GBr) 9.59 52 Bas Peters (Ned) 10.04 53 Bjorn Brems (Bel) 10.10 54 Javier Eduardo Puschel (Chi) 10.42 55 Christof Bischof (Swi) 10.55 56 Lachlan Norris (Aus) 11.00 57 Mattias Nilsson (Swe) 11.04 58 Ji Jianhua (Chn) 11.11 59 Ian Field (GBr) 11.14 60 Michael Broderick (USA) 11.38 61 Paul Oldham (GBr) 11.44 62 Gareth Montgomerie (GBr) 12.01 63 Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam 12.29 64 Ola Kjören (Nor) 12.44 65 Pierre Geoffroy Plantet (Fra) Team Lapierre International 13.07 66 Robert Gehbauer (Aut) Multivan Merida Biking Team 13.18 67 David Fletcher (GBr) 13.54 68 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus) 14.00 69 Ludovic Mottet (Bel) Windose Houffalize 14.38 70 Rene Tann (Ger) 14.55 71 Calle Friberg (Swe) 15.12 72 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW 15.33 73 Ross Creber (GBr) 16.23 74 Hannes Metzler (Aut) Giant Mountain Bike Team 16.31 75 Jo Thorson Nordskar (Nor) Team Etto Hoydahl 17.15 76 Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 18.34 77 Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 19.56 78 Lee Williams (GBr) 20.37 Behind one lap 79 Rumen Voigt (Ger) 80 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 81 Anders Ljungberg (Swe) 82 Tobias Ullmann (Ger) Team Xlc Haibike Behind two laps 83 Ricardo Hazbun Velasquez (Chi) 84 Anthony O'boyle (GBr) Mojo Orange 85 Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher Teams 1 Swisspower Mtb Team 94 pts 2 GT Bicycle 46 3 Cannondale-Vredestein 39 4 Specialized Factory Racing 37 5 Giant Mountain Bike Team 37 6 Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 30 7 Full-Dynamix-It 25 8 Athleticum-MTB-Team 21 9 Orbea 20 10 Team Lapierre International 16 11 Fumic.Brothers.International 14 12 Merida Biking Team 12 13 Fischer-BMC 8 14 Team Maxxis 7 15 Multivan Merida Biking Team 6 16 Topeak Ergon Racing Team 4 17 ECP-Tau Ceramica 3