It’s been another terrific World Cup race for Olympic Champion N1NO Schurter winning his 23rd World Cup. SCOTT-SRAM for the first time ever took over the leading position in the World Cup.
Vallnord, Andorra. Prior to the high altitude World Cup in Vallnord at 1900m above sea level, the team prepared at high altitude in Switzerland. The training in thin air prior to this race highly payed out for Nino Schurter, who continues to dominate the circuit stronger than ever before this season: “Racing at high altitude is less racing against your competitors, it’s about finding the limit on how fast you can go in the thin air”, Nino Schurter says.
Nino’s “limit” was riding one minute ahead of the pack for almost the entire race. It was an impressive start to finish victory, Nino’s 23rd XC World Cup win in total.
Nino Schurter will not only race with a simple “No 1” plate next sunday in Lenzerheide, but with the yellow team leader plate.
In the 2017 World Cup season this race was the most dominant performance of the Olympic Champion. He took the break between the two World Cup races to invest in a hard training block at altitude in the Engadin, Switzerland. So did the rest of the team, only it did not pay off for every team member- yet. With the World Cup on home soil in Lenzerheide coming up next weekend, plus Swiss and European Championship thereafter, the month of July is packed with racing and we’re very optimistic for the races to come.
Schurter-Showtime- Nino Schurter celebrates his 23rd World Cup win. Photography: Michal Cerveny
“Between the two World Cup races in Albstadt and Vallnord I did only one race but focussed more on my training at altitude instead. This investment payed off big time. I feel I’m in excellent shape and was confident from lap one on. Racing at altitude is less racing against your competitors, it’s about finding the limit on how fast you can go in the thin air. Leading the whole race on my own turned out to be a good strategy. I was able to ride at my own speed, gaining time in the descents and pacing myself on the climbs.”
Olympic & World Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
The way N1NO was dominating in Vallnord was highly impressive. Challenged by Youngster Mathias van der Poel only in the very beginning, Nino more or less rode his very own race. The two competitors, who made Nino’s life tricky on World Cup courses the past years were injured (Julien Absalon) or ill (Jaroslav Kulhavy). Nino put the hammer down from lap 1 and managed to get a huge gap of more than one minute over a large chasing group, which he kept till lap 6/7. Nino got away in the first longer downhill and only reduced the pace in the very last round. “It somehow already feels like the perfect season- We won the Cape Epic thanks to a great team effort, I managed to win all three World Cup races so far plus we took over the team lead”, Nino says.
Michiel van der Heijden (33rd) was in good shape, Andri Frischknecht crashed (54th) and Matthias Stirnemann (31st) struggled with the thin air. Nevertheless all riders collected enough points to take over the team lead.
Also the other riders of SCOTT-SRAM traveled with great optimism to the Vallnord World Cup. Michiel van der Heijden sure showed he is on the improving track with a good 33rd place finish. But for Matthias Stirnemann in 31st and Andri Frischknecht in 54th, the race was a pretty big disappointment. A crash during the last lap summed up Andri’s race day. Knowing they trained hard the past weeks however gives them hope to do better in Lenzerheide.
The first time in the team’s 14 year-old history, SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing leads the overall team ranking. SCOTT’s MTB Racing Team has been dominating the World Cup with many, many wins since over a decade, but we have never been in the Pole position with regards to the team ranking.
The Podium in Andorra- Sam Gaze (4th), Matthias Flückiger (2nd), Nino Schurter (1st), Jordan Sarrou (3rd), Florian Vogel (5th). Photo: Armin Küstenbrück
The Winner`s Bike- SCOTT Spark RC 900 Worldcup “GOLD EDITION”
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing uses the multiple title and media award winning Spark 900. Nino & Co chose the 100% race dedicated RC 900 World Cup version. Its frame is the lightest full suspension race bike to date and packed with top-of-the-line specs. In Andorra, winner Nino Schurter raced a very special edition, the “GOLD Edition”. With the one-of-a-kind frame, SCOTT honored the Olympic Gold medalist and designed a frame which not only shines bright in golden colors but also lists some of Nino`s greatest victories.