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Schurter Versus Absalon in BMC Cup?

Posted on the 22 August 2013 by Worldxcmtb @worldxcmtb
Schurter versus Absalon in BMC Cup?

The finals of the BMC Racing Cup on Saturday promise to be a real treat. Many of the pro riders who are thought to be medal hopes at the world championships in South Africa the week after have registered for the race in Muttenz. Above all, defending champion Nino Schurter, two-time Olympic champion Julien Absalon and the Olympic champions Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (2004), Sabine Spitz (2008) and Julie Bresset (2012). With the only exception of Jolanda Neff, all Swiss participants in the world championships will be present in the Schaenzli stadium.

The world championships in Pietermartizburg are looming large on the horizon. Seven days prior to the elite races in South Africa the finals of the BMC Racing Cup gain particular significance. Muttenz offers opportunities for penultimate trials of strength and for "a final intensive workout", as reigning World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) explains.

Schurter confides that Saturday’s race result „will not really play an important role“ but that he would „love to have a victory“ to take with him to South Africa where he will try to defend his title.

If he succeeds in doing this, he will have beaten Julien Absalon one more time this season. However, BMC rider Absalon has just beaten Schurter  at the World Cup in Canada. Muttenz will be the stage for  next act in this eternal duel at eye level. "My training data are fine, I am quite optimistic," says Schurter.

Absalon is also Schurter’s closest rival  in the overall ranking of the BMC Racing Cup. However Schurter only needs a top-25 result to secure the overall victory.

The Frenchman expressed himself in a somewhat restrained manner: „Muttenz is good for my preparation, because it is a race that does not destroy you completely. The final result is of secondary importance. Some riders show up with a poker face prior to the World’s. But what really counts will happen seven days later," says Absalon. Apparently he does not really want to get engaged in another duel with Schurter on Saturday. In Mont Sainte Anne, Absalon celebrated his 26th world cup victory two weeks ago. It was the second time this season that he had beaten the Swiss rider from Chur.

Absalon's teammate Lukas Flueckiger has abstained from traveling to the World Cup event in Canada and has geared up for the World’s in the Engadine altitude instead. "Except for two, three workouts when I had some problems with the Achilles tendon, everything was great. I think I am in good shape," says Flueckiger. And he adds: "If I do well in Muttenz, I should be fine at the World’s also."

Finishing fourth in Mont Sainte Anne two weeks ago, Ralph Naef celebrated a great comeback to the  international top ranks. He also likes to tune up via competition: "I need a race to get ready for an important race," says Naef.

The same motivation drives Naef’s mates on the Swiss national team who will all „toe the line“ in Muttenz’ equestrian stadium next to the likes of former world champion José Hermida (on his 35th birthday) from Spain, Gerhard Kerschbaumer from Italy, and French riders Maxime Marotte and Stephane Tempier who will provide a World Cup-like peloton and a big show.

Women: Three Olympic champions competing

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa is expected to be in top shape in Muttenz. Last Saturday in Méribel the Norwegian lady  clearly relegated reigning world champion Julie Bresset to second place. The French rider, however, was still handicapped by jet lag after the world cup in Canada. But Dahle has also won the BMC Racing Cup in Davos just a few weeks ago.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sabine Spitz recently celebrated a world cup victory in Andorra. Basel is not very far from her home in Murg-Niederhof. However, last week the German champion suffered from an infection. It is still unknown, inhowfar this infection has had a harmful influence on her shape.

Katrin Leumann will acquire the role of the ambitious local hero. The Swiss champion has analyzed her bad experience at the world cup in Mont Sainte Anne and trusts that her problem which is located in the sacroiliac joint will be remedied till Saturday.

„My preparations for the world championships are finished. All there is left to do now is some fine-tuning with high-quality workouts“, says Leumann. One of these workouts will be the race   near her home in Riehen.

„Since this is my home course, I want to be well prepaired for the race. In most cases tactics play a major role in this race, and last year I missed the boat. I hope that will never happen again“, says the 31-year-old.

Prior to the finals, Esther Suess (300 points) leads in the overall standings. Whereas German rider Adelheid Morath, currently second (242), will probably not start due to a shoulder injury, third placed Kathrin Stirnemann (230) is also ahead of Leumann (220). „On this course Kathrin is certainly able to deliver a strong performance,“ states Katrin Leumann.

Please find start lists, schedule and more on www.bmc-racing-cup.ch

Source: press release

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