It was the fourth round of the season and after the scorching weather in Lenzerheide, you would expect the riders to be glad of some Canadian drizzle. However, the rain turned the rocky course into an ice-rink and many riders suffered as a result.
It made for some exciting racing though and our reports and videos are below:
Men’s Mont Sainte Anne cross country race
The men’s Mont Sainte Anne cross country race was a cagey affair. An initital break of of Nino Schurter, Andrea Tiberi, Mathias Flückiger, Florian Vogel, Andrej Cink and Ralph Naef got out front early on lap one and pushed a punishing pace.
Not known for his fast starts, Julien Absalon had transitioned across to this group by lap two and soon Naef, Tiberi and Vogel were dropped leaving a leading group of four.
The tone for the rest of the race was set on the switchback climb on lap four. The climb is affectionately known as the “Alpe d’Huez of mountain biking” and it proved too much for Flückiger and Cink.
We were left with a familiar scene – Absalon and Schurter going head to head in an attempt to grind out a win.
It seemed like we might have a repeat of the thrilling Albstadt round, where the riders were neck-and-neck until the final descent, but Schurter attacked at the start of the last lap. The pace was too much for Absalon and he ended up rolling home 14 seconds after the Swiss rider.
This was Schurter’s first win of the season and it put him at the top of the overall standings with two races to go. A puncture for Jaroslav Kulhavý saw him roll home in a disappointing 13th place, he now sits 90 points behind Shurter in second despite his two wins this year.