September 08, 2012 (Saalfelden, AUT) – The Elite Men’s UCI MTB XC World Championships is soon underway as sunny and warm conditions continue in Austria. Reigning World Champ Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) is a marked man as many contenders would like to unseat him including Nino Schurter (Switzerland), Julien Absalon (France), South Africa’s Burry Stander and more. Geoff Kabush leads the Canadian men with Derek Zandstra, Raphael Gagne, and Cameron Jette on the start line – the men will complete 1 start loop and 8 laps for a total of 38.3km…
Schurter jumps with and aggressive start – Absalon is there.
Absalon is leading with Schurter in second – Kabush is in the 20s – Fontana is 3rd all strung out behind.
Now starting the first lap at 5:06 it’s Absalon leading with Schurter 2nd and Fontana 3rd – Kulhavy is up there.
Stander is 20th and Kabush is 23rd.
Schurter takes over the lead with Fontana 2nd – Absalon is now 4th.
Kulhavy is around 8th…
Schurter has a small gap on Fontana – Vogel (Sui) is third then Absalon with Lukas Flückiger (Sui) follwing in 5th.
Kabush has moved up to 19th
Fontana takes over the lead.
Fontana starts the second lap with a time of 16:46 with Schurter on his wheel.
It’s Fabian Giger (Sui) not Vogel in 3rd – Kulhavy is 13 at 28s
Kabush is 18th at 50s
The three leaders have a 30s gap over a chase group of about 8-10 riders lead by Absalon, Vogel, Tempier, Flückiger…
Fontana takes over the lead again.. the lap will soon be over.
Fontana leads the trio across the line in 28:34 – two Swiss Schurter and Giger and one Italian Fontana.
Behind two Swiss riders Vogel and Flückiger lead three Frenchman Absalon, Martotte and Tempier at 30s – Fumic is there as well…
Kulhavy is 12th at 42s – Kabush is alone in 16th at 1:15
Schurter and Fontana have gapped Giger… trying to catch on – he does but now he’s trailing again.
Schurter and Fontana are on the descent and will soon finish lap 3
Schurter and Fontana begin the fourth lap at 40:31 – Giger is at 9s in third.
Tempier is alone in fourth at 24s.
Then it’s Absalon, Vogel, Fumic and Lukas Flückiger together at 36s.
Behind is another small group at 54s lead by Stander in 9th with Marotte and Kulhavy… Mathias Flückiger is there as well.
Tempier is gainging on Giger
Fontana now leading as lap 4 is soon done.
Schurter and Fontana dominate at 52:41… Tempier takes over third at 14s with Giger 4th.
Mathias Flückiger is 5th at 20s
Then it’s Absalon in 6th at 36s, Fumic is 7th and Lukas Flückiger is 7th.
Mathias Flückiger has caught Giger.
Schurter tries to escape and gaps Fontana – but he closes it down.
Lukas Flückiger has dropped Absalon and Fumic and trying to bridge to his brother.
Fontana takes over the lead from Schurter as they have a chat about the gap.
Behind Giger and the two Flückiger are together.
With three to go it’s Fontana and Schurter at 1:04:43 with Tempier in 3rd.
Then it’s three Swiss riders – the Flückiger bros and Giger at 28s.
Now Lukas Flückiger attacks and is closing on Tempier.
Fontana slips up and Schurter pushes ahead…
Flückiger takes over third.
Mathias Flückiger passes Tempier as well and takes over 4th.
Schurter has 16s on Fontana….
Lukas Flückiger catches and passes Fontana
Schurter is solid at 1:16:40 – behind it’s Fontana and the two Flückiger bros at 25s – two laps to go.
Behind it’s Fontana and the two Flückiger bros at 25s – Tempier is 5th at 39s.
Then its Giger in 6th at 43s, Fumic is 7th at 58s and Absalon is 8th at 1:04
Lukas Flückiger takes over second as his brother battles with Fontana.
Kabush is around 15th…
Fontana is dropped – it’s looking like an all-Swiss podium.
Absalon has moved up into 6th passing Tempier.
Schurter is almost finished lap 7…
Lap 8 FINAL
Schurter starts his final lap at 1:28:48… behind is teammate Lukas Flückiger at 23s – then it’s Mathias Flückiger at 42s.
Fontana is 4th at 1:04 but Giger is gaining in 5th at 1:11 with Absalon 6th at 1:20
Kabush is mid teens – Zandstra is in the 20s
Giger is trying to close on Fontana…
Fontana gets dropped – now Absalon is 4th and Giger is 5th.
Schurter is thru the final descent…
Schurter takes it -
A Swiss podium sweep
1. Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 1:40:55
2. Luka Flückiger (Switzerland) 0:29
3. Mathias Flückiger (Switzerland) 0:51
4. Julien Absalon (France) 1:04
5. Fabian Giger (Switzerland) 1:16
6. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) 1:45
7. Manuel Fumic (Germany) 1:58
13. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) 4:01
18. Geoff Kabush (Canada) 5:01
23. Derek Zandstra (Canada) 6:10
36. Raphael Gagne (Canada) 9:37
56. Cameron Jette (Canada) – 3 laps
Full results HERE.