SCHURTER’S FIFTH VICTORY IN NOVÉ MĚSTO!
The Vysočina Aréna is slowly becoming Nino Schurter’s home ground. The Swiss phenomenon has won the first race of the 2017 World Cup XCO series that was held in the Vysočina Aréna. It was his fifth victory here. Last year, he put on the rainbow jersey, plus he has got four World Cup victories in his palmares.
“I was not nervous, I went absolutely relaxed into the race after my victory last year. I felt just great, this course suits me perfectly,” Schurter said. He was up in the front of the race from the very beginning, accompanied by his fellow countryman, Litcher. Throughout the race, the Swiss duo separated, and Nino got a new companion to ride with: Valero Serrano of Spain.
“David surprised me. He started to chase me, I waited for him and he set lovely pace that suited me absolutely. He tried to break away a few times, but I was strong enough to keep up with him. Then it was my turn to attack in the fourth lap, well, and it worked!” Schurter described the events.
Valero Serrano finished eighth in the last year’s World Championships so he obviously likes the local course. It was a heroic performance from him today, which brought him surprising silver medal, which is the best result of his career. “It was not so surprising for me. I had been attacking the top ranking the year before, but I always had experienced problems – either a flat tire or a crash. I like the course in NMNM, and I am very happy to have achieved such great result,” the Spaniard said.
The battle for the bronze was very dramatic. Eventually, it was decided by experience of the thirty-six-year-old Julien Absalon of France, who finished with a slight gap before other French riders: Marotte, Sarrou, Tempier, and Carod.
“I tried to give it everything. I said to myself that it would be better to give it a try and perhaps finish third, than do nothing. Honestly, I nearly stopped believing in it, but I succeeded. I know that even though I may not be feeling well in the last moments of the race, I am still capable of riding on the edge,” Absalon explained.
Mathieu van der Poel (22), the runner-up in the Cyclocross World Championship, and one of the youngest riders in the start list, made a great result. Despite starting with number 90 from the back of the pack, he finished eighth after flying all the way up to the TOP 10.
Jaroslav Kulhavý, the domestic favourite, experienced a true disaster and finished 55th. While warming up before the race, he crashed, and then he was held back by a flat tire in the fifth lap.