Posted by Editoress on 08/11/19
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won his third Mountain Bike World Cup of the season on Sunday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in what will be his last fat tire appearance of the year, as he switches over to the Road to prepare for the world championships.
Leandre Bouchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) had his strongest performance of the year, finishing 14th. Peter Disera (Norco Factory) was 40th, Andrew L'Esperance (Norco Factory) was 64th and Raphael Gagne (Team Canada) was 98th. In the Under-23 race, Quinton Disera (Norco Factory) finished 13th after fighting for the top-10. Both Sean Fincham (Norco Factory) and Raphael Auclair (Pivot Cycles-OTE) flatted, with Fincham not finishing and Auclair in 60th. Gunnar Holmgren (Hardwood Next Wave) was 67th.
Van der Poel had already made it clear that he would not contest the mountain bike world championships or World Cup, so there was no chance that he could take the overall title. However, he was going up against world champion and World Cup leader Nino Schurter on his home course, the same one used for last year's world championships, with the altitude - 1500-plus metres - and rough, technical track taking its toll in crashes and flat tires.
Schurter, who lives locally, came out more aggressively than usual, and within two laps the race was down to just these two riders, who rode away from the rest of the field, setting such a pace that the race was 15 minutes shorter than expected. Van der Poel was content to follow Schurter for most of the race, until the final lap when he attacked. Initially, the gap was less than ten seconds, with the huge crowd urging Schurter on, but then it began to stretch in the final half lap, with the Dutch rider eventually winning by 25 seconds. Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN) was third, 1:13 back.
"This means a lot because I think it is one of the most difficult ones to win," said van der Poel. "Nino is always super motivated to win here in front of his home crowd, so I knew it was going to be a tough one. I was just thinking to get on his wheel and stay there. He was really strong and made a lot of long efforts on the road climb and I had to dig really deep to stay with him. I knew I had to hurt him as well, and I think I managed to do that. It's a pity [missing the Final], but I have set some different goals for the end of this season, and I'll stick to my plan. Unfortunately, I can't do everything, but I'm very happy with my season; I finally managed to win not just one, but three World Cups, so I'm a happy man."
Schurter's lead is down to a slim 21 points over van der Poel, but with his rival not attending the final round next month in Snowshoe, West Virginia, USA, Schurter has all but locked up the title. Mathematically, Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) could win the title, but only if Schurter scored almost no points and he won both the short track and the XCO. Peter Disera drops one spot to 17th, while Bouchard moves up to 38th from 47th.
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