With his 22nd World Cup victory, the Olympic Champion is dominating the 2017 World Cup. But with Mathieu van der Poel there is a new name to coming up to be remembered for the future.

Albstadt, Germany. With a smart race, Nino Schurter added World Cup win Nr. 22 to his name. The challenge did not come from Julien Absalon or Jaroslav Kulhavy this time, but from the younger generation. With good racing from Andri Frischknecht in 20th and Matthias Stirnemann in 22nd, SCOTT-SRAM also wins the World Cup team ranking which is as we say, #nextlevel!

N1NO- Thumbs up for the 2017 season.

Whoever thought that the Olympic Champion would be taking it easy this year, after winning everything the past few years, is both right and wrong. Right because the champion is more relaxed than ever. The pressure of last year`s Olympics is gone. What’s left is the enjoyment of doing something he is very good at- winning races!

Wrong because even if he is taking some things a bit easier this season, his determination to give it all in training and racing is unbroken. It seems like he has found a prefect mix to make him the best Nino Schurter ever!

Nino Schurter leading out with Mathieu van der Poel on his wheel.

The talk of the weekend was around how the new face in the game would do. Mathieu van der Poel’s performance from last weekend in Nove Mesto, starting out of 90th position and finishing in 8th, was something we have never seen before. Calling him a new face is kind of wrong anyway. What the 22 year old kid from the Nederlands has on his palmares is impressive. He has been World Champion on the road as junior, just won a stage at the Tour of Belgium in between Nove Mesto and Albstadt and at the age of 20 became the youngest elite cyclo-cross champion of all times. For sure the most diverse cycling talent we have seen. Now entering mountain biking just adds the salt to the soup to look for new battles in the future.

Top: Nino putting the pressure on on the descents…
Left: …and on the climbs in front of Matthias Flückiger and Mathieu van der Poel
Right: 20’000 spectators followed the action

The predictions of van der Poel mixing it up were more than right. Due to him an early leading trio with Matthias Flückiger and Nino Schurter set some distance between them and the chasers. Kulhavy dropped out early and Absalon never was able to close the gap finishing in 7th at the end. The three leaders set a high pace but stayed together until half way trough N1NO launched his first offensive. It was less a of a fast attack but more a whole lap at a tempo that forced van der Poel and Flückiger to both make mistakes. Both Nino’s rivals crashed, in Flückiger’s case very dramaticly to actually put him out of the race. In the second half of the race the Olympic champion controlled his lead to eventually bring a safe 26 seconds over van der Poel to the finish line. The podium was filled with Anton Cooper (NZL) in 3rd, David Valero (ESP) in 4th and Maxime Marotte (FR) in 5th.

Two wins, two bikes. In Albstadt the winner was on a SCOTT SCALE 900 RC World Cup.

Top: Enjoy winning- N1NO is good at it.
Bottom: Respect after a hard fight- Nino and Mathieu.

“It’s good to see young blood is coming to the sport. I have to say I’m very impressed the way Mathieu was racing. Also technically he’s got it. Would be nice to see him more often in our sport. This is the World Cup start I was dreaming of- excited to travel to the next World Cup races as the leader.”

Nino Schurter
Olympic Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

Even though two of the most dominant riders, Jaroslav Kulhavy and Julien Absalon, were not at their best so far, Nino is getting some young competition moving up. Mathieu van der Poel in 2nd is only 22 years of age- 9 years younger than Nino- 3rd place Anton Cooper is 23 years old. Both names are to be remembered as they have a bright future ahead of them.

The SCOTT-SRAM duo Andri Frischknecht and Matthias Stirnemann fighting for points and better starting positions.

For Michiel van der Heijden, Matthias Stirnemann and Andri Frischknecht it was all about getting a solid race to move up in the starting order.

Matthias recovered from his awful crash at the Nove Mesto start, but moved back to the 3rd row at the start. Andri in 5th and Michiel out of 7th row still have a hard time at the start. The training partners Stirnemann and Frischknecht found themselves in the same group riding for 20th place. Matthias moved up slowly until a slow leak in the front tire forced him to do a wheel change. Again the two SCOTT-SRAM riders stuck together but in the last lap Matthias crashed hard to eventually finish one spot behind Andri in 21st. The crash actually had some consequences. Matthais foot was swelling dramatically at the finish. A visit in the hospital will bring clarity of how bad it is.

Matthias Stirnemann again not lucky- a flat and a crash overshadowed a good performance.

Even though two of the most dominant riders, Jaroslav Kulhavy and Julien Absalon, were not at their best so far, Nino is getting some young competition moving up. Mathieu van der Poel in 2nd is only 22 years of age- 9 years younger than Nino- 3rd place Anton Cooper is 23 years old. Both names are to be remembered as they have a bright future ahead of them.

Moving up slowly but steady – Andri Frischknecht now in 17th in the World Cup overall

Michiel van der Heijden is still stoked around where he started the race. He finished 46th. Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds missed out because of family reasons.

The good overall performance of the team resulted in winning the World Cup team ranking. This is something new to the team we have not been able to win in the past years.

SCOTT-SRAM- Nr. 1 team in Albstadt.