Posted by Editoress on 09/5/21
Victor Koretzky (KMC-Orbea) took the second World Cup win of his career on Sunday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, spoiling a home crowd win for Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM), who finished second. World Cup leader Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN Swiss Bike) could only manage third, and will have to wait for the final round in two weeks time to clinch the World Cup title.
Leandre Bouchard (Pivot-OTE) was the top Canadian, finishing in 29th place, a position he held for much of the race. Marc Andre Fortier (Pivot-OTE) was 41st, Quinton Disera (Norco Factory) was 48th, Peter Disera (Norco Factory) 50th, Andrew L'Esperance (Norco Factory) 71st and Raphael Auclair (Pivot-OTE) finished 92nd, two laps down.
Bouchard was pleased with his efforts: "Great effort from myself today. I was dreaming of the sensations I had in 2019, but still a solid today riding most of the day around 30th. My race was clean and I gave my best the whole time. So happy about this one."
Riders in Lenzerheide faced a circuit with long climbs and technical, rooty descents. This is a course with almost nowhere to rest. The men did six laps plus a start lap that replaced the opening dirt climb with a long asphalt climb.
Besides the winning of a World Cup, this race had a number of subplots. Schurter, starting his 100th World Cup, 20 minutes from his home, is still looking for his 33rd win, to match the record of Julien Absalon. With a win and a poor showing by second placed Ondrej Cink (Kross Orlen), Flueckiger could have wrapped up the overall World Cup title here in his home country.
Flueckiger's race did not start well, with him mired in 15th place partway through the start loop. He managed to work his way back to the lead group of nine midway through the first lap, but maybe that extra effort made the difference at the end of the race.
At the front, Koretzky, Schurter and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) were setting the pace and a lap later the lead group was down to these three plus Flueckiger and Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory). When Schurter started to push the pace a lap later, Avancini was dropped, to eventually finish sixth. The remaining four rode steadily together at the front, with the two Swiss riders doing most of the pace setting.
On the penultimate fifth lap, Flueckiger launched a massive attack on the main climb, opening a small gap on the other three, but they clawed their way back before the end of the lap. The leaders then slowed up the climb on the final lap, with no one attacking as they conserved their remaining energy. Flueckiger tried to attack on the last climb with a kilometre to go, but Koretzky went straight by him to take the lead and open a few seconds gap, which he held to the finish line. Schurter then made his way back to his Swiss rival on the rooty descent, and slipped by him on a corner in the final 300 metres to claim second.
"I'm super happy with this win," said Koretzky. "My legs have been super good in the week [since the world championships]. It's amazing to win a World Cup here, with all the crowds, all cheering Nino. When you are on a perfect race, full gas, you don't feel your legs. I know Nino and Flueky [Flueckiger] want to win here because it is a Swiss World Cup. I'm completely tired and kaput now."
Flueckiger has all but wrapped up the World Cup title going into the final round in two weeks, in Snowshoe, USA. His 1429 points is 340 ahead of Cink, with a total of 375 points on offer at Snowshoe. Koretzky, with his win, moves up one spot into third in the overall standings, a further 14 points back, so he also has a mathematical chance of catching Flueckiger.
In the overall standings, Bouchard remains 28th, the top Canadian. Peter Disera drops two spots to 34th, while Fortier jumps from 89th to 71st.
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