September 3/10 23:08 pm - MTB World Championships: U23 Men report and photos
Posted by Editoress on 09/3/10
Mont Ste Anne World Championships - Under 23 Men XC
Switzerland swept the Under 23 podium; leaving no room for anyone else, Mathias Flückiger, Thomas Litscher and Patrik Gallati finished one, two and three in Mont Ste Anne. The country also placed two more riders, Martin Fanger and Pascal Meyer in the top 10. Team Canada's Francis Morin was the sole Canadian to finish on the same lap as the winner, claiming the 44th place.
The Swiss jersey floated at the front of the entire race for all but two laps, when Alexis Vuillermoz was able to display the French colours after Flückiger suffered a flat. Vuillermoz would return the lead to the U23 World Cup winner Flückiger, after a quick stop in the technical zone. Through the first three laps, the lead group included Vuillermoz, Flückiger, Litscher, Gallati, Italian Gerhard Kerchbaumer and Marek Konwa from Poland.
By mid-race Flückiger was in control of the race, although his 30 second lead was less than what he has been used to over the season. The battle was really happening behind him. Gallati was the rider on the move and leading the chase. He and Litscher opened up a gap on the Vuillermoz, and from that point on the Swiss had the podium wrapped up. The order for second and third was the only question that remained unanswered.
Litscher attacked in the first climb of the last lap to drop his team mate. He was third last year and wanted to better that result. Although that allowed him to get 13 seconds closer to the leader, is wasn't enough to give him the gold as he crossed the finish line 30 seconds behind the Swiss National Champion. Vuillermoz claimed fourth and Kershbaumer took fifth.
The race didn't go well for the Canadians. Francis Morin finished 44th, and Simon Lalancette and Tyson Wagler were pulled by officials with one lap to go, and ranked 48th and 49th respectively.
"Today was an amazing race for me," said Fluckiger "it was a good way to finish the season to win here at the world championship. Thirty seconds wasn't a big gap ... it was very difficult because of the flat and I thought that today was may be not my day, but I found my rhythm and could make a good attack in the technical part, and I had a good advantage with the bike. I think that the full suspension bike was a big advantage, I think that is also the reason for the victory today."
"I came here to ride onto the podium," said Litscher. "I crashed a lot in the last days [of training], but today I was perfect."
"My whole season wasn't very good," said Gallati "so I am happy with third place. I didn't have much energy in the last lap, but it was important to keep going."
- The Swiss riders attributed the success of the team to the fact that they are all friends on and off the bike, and that training together allows them to push each other. They train at altitude as well, which give them an advantage. Their goal was to put as many riders as possible on the podium, no matter who that would be. With five riders among the top ten, the Swiss manager was quite pleased with the result.
- In his third participation at the World Championships, twice as a Junior, Francis Morin posted his best result and he was pleased with his performance, following a hard 2009 season. "This season was good to help me regain confidence. I'm really happy. I don't think I could have given any more."
- Jared Stafford was the leading Canadian, when he crashed at the top of the Beatrice rock garden. He was evacuated on a backboard, but later reports say that he is fine, with mainly cuts and abrasions.