August 22, 2006 — On a day that saw every possible combination of weather greet the opening event of the 2006 MTB and Trials World Championships, Switzerland emerged victorious. From elite male, Florian Vogel’s start in the pouring rain and hail, to a sunny last lap by espoir Nino Schurter, the Swiss favourites were clearly the strongest on the day.
The Team Relay cross-country event uses a straighforward format with each team comprised of an elite male, an espoir male, a junior male, and an elite female rider. Each rider must complete one lap of the course before handing off a baton to their team mate. Canada was represented by Geoff Kabush, Max Plaxton, Alex Harvey and Alison Sydor.
Most countries opted to start with their strongest man hoping to avoid traffic on the course. Vogel established a gap on the first climb and maintained it through the end of the lap. Kabush came through in sixth place and handed off to espoir Max Plaxton. As the rain cleared Plaxton pushed hard to close much of the gap against Swiss junior Martin Fanger, who rode consistently for his country.
Petra Henzi, the potential weak link for Switzerland, rode another consistent lap arriving in second behind Spain. Canadian junior, Alex Harvey, rode a strong lap and anchor-woman Alison Sydor was in fifth when she took off on the final leg. Unfortunately for Spain’s former MTB world champ Margarita Fullana Riera and multiple MTB world champ Sydor, the other nations had stronger men in the hunt on the last leg.
Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, 2005 espoir bronze medalist, passed Fullana comfortably on the climb to cruise in for a solid victory for Switzarland. While Italy had an ace up their sleave sending their elite man, Jader Zoli, out last moving them from sixth to second in the last lap. Poland hung on to finish third. Sydor rode a strong lap as Canada finished 5.14 behind Switzerland in 9th overall.
1. Switzerland (Florian Vogel/Martin Fanger/Petra Henzi/Nino Schurter) 1.27.20
2. Italy (Tony Longo/Cristian Cominelli/Eva Lechner/Jader Zoli) 0.50
3. Poland (Marcin Karczynski/Adrian Dzialakiewicz/Maja Wloszczowska/Kryspin Pyrgies) 1.04
4. France (Alexis Vuillermoz/StÃ©phane Tempier/SÃ©verine Hansen/CÃ©dric Ravanel) 1.20
5. Germany (Benjamin Rudiger/Sebastian Lehr/Sabine Spitz/Moritz Milatz) 2.07
6. Sweden (Emil Lindgren/Mattias Wengelin/Maria Ostergren/Fredrik Kessiakoff) 2.13
7. Spain (Carlos Coloma/Ruben Ruzafa/David Lozano/Margarita Fullana) 3.00
8. Russian Federation (Yury Trofimov/Evguen Petchenine/Irina Kalentieva/Sergey Nikolaev) 3.02
9. Canada (Geoff Kabush/Max Plaxton/Alex Harvey/Alison Sydor) 5.14
10. New Zealand (Kashi Leuchs/Clinton Robert Avery/Rosara Joseph/Carl Jones) 6.05
11. The Netherlands (Jelmer Pietersma/Niels Wubben/Laura Turpijn/Rudi Van Houts) 7.20
12. United States Of America (Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski/Samuel Schultz/Tristen Uhl/Mary McConneloug) 7.56
13. Brasil (Daniel Rezende/Erika Gramiselli/Henrique Avancini/Edivando Cruz) 13.58
14. South Africa (Ryk Coetzee/Burry Stander/Yolanda Speedy/Justice Makhale) 15.45