The Sea Otter Classic remains a good event for SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing. Two more victories are in the books!
Monterey, California. The two Olympic champions keep on going with their victorious performances this season. Nino Schurter takes the win in the cross-country race and a second place in the short track. Jenny Rissveds does it the other way around winning the short track and finishing 3rd in the XC.
The name tells it all. The Sea Otter is a classic in the calendar of mountain bike racing, and has been for many decades now. With over 50,000 visitors the Laguna Seca race track based festival is by far the largest cycling event in North America. This was reason enough to show some presence with the two Olympic gold medalist.
The Olympic champion showed who’s boss.
left: Kiwi Same Gaze leading out Nino Schurter
right: Kiwi Anton Cooper ahead of Nino.
In both races Nino Schurter was facing some strong competition. Not in particular from the US, but from New Zealand instead. In the short track race it came down to a sprint finish which was won by an explosive Sam Gaze. The U23 World Champion was the first rider in a long time to beat Nino in a sprint. Sam Gaze would also have been a big threat in the XC race the day after, but there he flatted three laps to go. Instead of Sam, Nino had to deal with the other young gun from New Zealand to battle out the victory. Anton Cooper, 2015 U23 World Champion, was the only one to keep up with Nino all the way to the finish line. This time the routine of the more experienced rider counted more than the explosiveness of a young rider. N1NO decided the race in a tight sprint to take his second win at Sea Otter Classic after 2015. This racing weekend made it clear- the young generation of Kiwi’s are the ones to watch for the future!
“The young riders from New Zealand sure didn’t make it easy on me. As tactical as the race was with it’s fast track, it had to come down to a sprint finish.”
The cheetah focussed to win in the short track race
Left: Battling it out with Kate Courtney and Erin Huck in the XCO
Right: Kate Courtney and Jenny Rissveds the strongest lady’s in the field
The women’s race somehow went the other way around. There Jenny Rissveds had to face some strong competition from local hero Kate Courtney. The short track race finished with the better end for Jenny. In the cross-country competition the Olympic champion had to leave victories to someone else. This for the first time in 2017! Americans Kate Courtney and Erin Huck were both faster in the final lap leaving the cheetah in 3rd.
Top: Andri Frischknecht at Haiming, Austria
Bottom: Matthias Stirnemann not at a 100%
On the same weekend the rest of the team was competing at the HC race in Haiming, Austria, which would prove to be more difficult than expected. Michiel van der Heijden got caught in a crash at the start, breaking his handlebar. No way to continue for him.
Matthias Stirnemann coming straight from a training camp did not feel a 100% healthy. He finished in 20th place. Only Andri Frischknecht seemed to be on the good side that day. He was sitting in great 7th place until a pivotal crash in the last lap cost him 5 places.
Both Michiel and Andri are OK, hopefully the trio is ready to attack again next Sunday at the Bundesliga race in Heubach, Germany.
This years choice of tire was the MAXXIS ASPEN. Besides N1NO’s choice for the Olympic games in Rio, this tire was mounted for all SCOTT-SRAM victories in 2017. 12 stages at Cape Epic, two victories at the Swiss Cup and two victories at Sea Otter Classic speak for it’s own. Not to say this super fast XC tire makes everyone a winner, but it’s good to be on the tires with the smallest rolling resistance out there. With input from the SCOTT-SRAM team we will be seeing even faster MAXXIS tires in the future.