Tough circumstances were holding back Nino Schurter while Andri Frischknecht steps up to take the overall lead in the Swiss Bike Cup.
Solothurn, Switzerland. Heavy rain just arrived on race day. In addition a series of flat tires caused some troubles. This is why we didn’t see Olympic champion Nino Schurter crossing the line as the first of team SCOTT-SRAM, but runner up Andri Frischknecht, who finished 3rd just ahead of his mentor Nino. The great performance of Frischi jun. put him into the leaders jersey of the Swiss Bike Cup.
Stepping up in the 2017 spring season. Andri Frischknecht at the Bundesliga race in Heubach
The weekend prior at the Bundesliga in Heubach, Germany, Andri Frischknecht showed one of his best performances as an neo elite pro. 6th place in a very well attended “hors category” race, riding on the tail of Julien Absalon, helped building even more confidence after an already successful start into the 2017 season. At the Swiss Bike Days riding conditions changed to the bad, but Frischi jun. managed to turned things to the good.
top: Andri Frischknecht keeping things together on tough terrain
left: the boss Nino Schurter with his protégé Andri
right: Nino fighting his way back after a flat tire
At the SCOTT-SRAM pit things sure went smoother in the prior races. The rain came in, tire change was the call and already first lap Matthias Stirnemann suffered a flat tire. Meanwhile a lead group of five riders including the two Flückiger brothers, Lars Forster and the two SCOTT-SRAM riders Nino and Andri got away. Julien Absalon did not seem to be in the shape to close the gap as the pace at the front was high. Andri Frischknecht was the next one with a flat tire, dropping back to the followers.
Left: Matthias Flückiger, Lars Forster, Nino Schurter with Andri Frischknecht behind
Right: tough guys wanted in the cold rain, Frischi jun.
Down to three leading riders it was than Nino Schurter as the next one with flat tire. Somehow it must of have something to do with the whole team choosing the SCOTT Scale 900 hardtail, which they are not used to race on so much anymore. The fact you just can’t go as fast on the downhills as if you ride a full suspension bike, they had to learn the hard way. Only Michiel van der Heijden did get trough without a mechanical. The original lead group of five was all spread out, everyone riding by it’s own.
Last lap Lars Forster catches leading Matthias Flückiger to take the win in style. While Andri got back on Nino’s wheel to overtake him and finish in 3rd place. 4th place Olympic champion for the first time in many years did not win this event, but sure is ready for the World Cup start to come.
Top: flying Nino Schurter
Bottom: hard work pays of. Andri in front of Nino
With consistent good results and the big guns not placing high in all three Swiss Bike Cups so far, Andri Frischknecht takes over the overall lead from Julien Absalon. The new leader of the Swiss Cup comments: “Unlike the year before when I was injured, I had a very good winter to prepare this season. The Cape Epic gave me confidence that even as a neo pro, I can keep up with the big names. I don’t mind the mud and the cold while racing. Despite the flat tire in 3rd lap I’m pretty stoked about what I pulled of today.”
“Unlike the year before when I was injured, I had a very good winter to prepare this season. The Cape Epic gave me confidence that even as a neo pro, I can keep up with the big names. I don’t mind the mud and the cold. Despite the flat tire in 3rd lap I’m pretty stoked about what I pulled of today.”
After a flat tire in first lap, Matthias Stirnemann had a solid comeback to 10th place. Just behind him Michiel van der Heijden crosses the line in 11th.
Jenny Rissveds stayed in Sweden focusing on her training to be ready for the World Cup who starts in two weeks in Nove Mesto, Czech.
Top: Flat tire early in the race was holding back Matthias Stirnemann
Bottom: Michiel van der Heijden making his way trough the slippery conditions
Images by EGO-Promotion and Balz Weber