At the first XCO race of the season, the two Olympic Champions showed who’s boss!
Rivera, Switzerland. The season opener at the Swiss Bike Cup in sunny Ticino gave us proof that the great results from Cape Epic have a good foundation. Still a bit tired from from the tough racing in South Africa, all riders performed well with Nino Schurter and Jenny Rissveds even winning in impressive style.

What a way to start the XCO season. Bottom left: The Olympic champion was in good spirits with her mechanic Yanick Gyger.
Bottom right: The only one to follow Jenny Rissveds, was her own shadow.

The women’s race story is told in few words. With the Bundesliga race in Bad Säckingen and the Italian Cup in Nalles on the same day, Jenny’s competition was not huge. French ex-world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Swiss U23 European champion Sina Frei were the ones to watch. But the Olympic champion decided to take off right from the start. After creating a good gap on the first longer decent, Jenny put down the fastest lap times for each single lap. At the finish line it was a 2:30 minute difference to Pauline Ferrand Prevot. No sign of slowing down from Cape Epic for Jenny. In a good mood Jenny comments, “I actually got pretty nervous before the start. It’s the first XCO race of the season and I was not sure how fast my legs would be able to turn after the long distance races at Cape Epic. But it seems the plan of this years preparation is working out excellently.”

“I actually got pretty nervous before the start. It’s the first XCO race of the season and I was not sure how fast my legs would be able to turn after the long distance races at Cape Epic. But it seems that the plan of this years preparation is working out excellently.”

Jenny Rissveds
Olympic Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

Perfect start into the XCO season for the World`s Nr. 1, Nino Schurter.
Nino Schurter considers the technical track of Rivera to one of his favorites. The steep climbs and rocky sections are in his favor. His main competition was the BMC team who tried to hang on to the Nr. 1 rider. In the first lap no less than four BMC riders did hang on to Nino’s wheel. Reto Indergand, Lukas Flückiger, Titouan Carod and Lars Forster. Forster was the one who stayed on the longest until he flatted. In the mean time Julien Absalon recovered from a slow start and made time up on Nino. After the SCOTT rider realized the gap was less than 30 seconds, he accelerated again to ride to a controlled victory. 34 seconds down Julien Absalon crossed the line in 2nd and runner up Titouan Carod in 3rd 1:02 behind.
Nino Schurter secured his first XCO win leaving Julien Absalon behind on 2nd.
The Olympic champion showed no signs of fatigue staying, “It’s true I was pretty tired right after the Cape Epic and had to put focus on recovery. But as soon as the race was going and I got my head into it, I felt strong. Good to know I’m on track also on the “short” distance. The next weeks I start my fine tuning for the World Cup.”

“It’s true I was pretty tired right after the Cape Epic and had to put focus on recovery. But as soon as the race was going and I got my head into it, I felt strong. Good to know I’m on track also on the “short” distance. The next weeks I start my fine tuning for the World Cup.”

Nino Schurter
Olympic Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

Good news also from the rest of the SCOTT train! Even though they lost their “locomotor” Nino early in the race, each one of them performed at a high level. It was funny to see them riding together almost through the whole race. It looked like they are still used to riding as a team like at Cape Epic!

Left: Michiel van der Heijden setting the pace in front of Matthias Stirnemann
Right: Andri Frischknecht right up there in his first Elite season
Bottom: Matthias Stirnemann still recovering from Cape Epic

A great finale from Andri Frischknecht with the fastest lap time in the last lap placed him in an excellent 6th. Followed by his Cape Epic buddy Michiel van der Heijden who looked comfortable all race long. The one who had to dig the deepest at Cape Epic, Matthias Stirnemann, still needs some time to find his fast legs. He completed the great team effort in 9th. All 4 riders in the top 10! Andri Frischknecht speaking for the SCOTT train stated, “What effect the Cape Epic will have on our physical condition- positive or negative- we will find out later in the season. What’s proven already is the fact we are super motivated and full of confidence after the great success at Cape Epic. As our sport is a mental game, this is important too.”

“What effect the Cape Epic will have on our physical condition- positive or negative- we will find out later in the season. What’s proven already is the fact we are super motivated and full of confidence after the great success at Cape Epic.”

Andri Frischknecht
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

It was good to see how the great spirit from Cape Epic is carrying on and that the switch to XCO racing has been successful.

SCOTT-SRAM MTB racing is still unbeaten in 2017!
The next races will be on separate programs. While Jenny Rissveds and Nino Schurter compete at the SRAM Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California April 21-22nd., the rest of the team travels to Haiming Austria for the next round of the Swiss Cup.