Nino Schurter added the 7th World Champion Title to his list of victories and the 4th in a row. In front of 24 000 spectators and at the biggest XC race in history Nino dominated the race from the beginning. Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer was the only one who managed to keep the fight alive- until the end of the 6th lap, when N1NO decided to brake away and set the final attack.
Racing on his home turf, N1NO pushed himself to the next level: «It was hard, and harder than it maybe looked like. I didn't have the best legs today. However, my fans made me forget about all the pain - it was truly epic.»
Before N1NO set the attack to get away, he and his Italian rival kept a bigger chasing group including Henrique Avancini (BRA), Florian Vogel (SUI), Mathieu van der Poel (NEL) and Matthias Flückiger (SUI) at a solid distance for several laps. «I knew that Kerschbaumer would be the strongest competitor today as he had a super strong season», N1NO stated. After an attack from van der Poel, things were getting even more exciting as the Dutch Champion pushed an unbelievable hard pace from the middle of the race. It became obvious that this World Champion race would be decided between the three main rivals of the 2018 World Cup season - N1NO, Kerschbaumer and van der Poel.
But N1NO not only knew every single root of this track. He also was patient and smart enough to keep calm and wait for the best moment to launch the final attack. With a 11sec lead, N1NO crossed the finish line ahead of Kerschbaumer and van der Poel (+1:14). The arena of Lenzerheide was upside-down, thousands of fans gathered at the finish and cheered to their local hero, the old- and new - World Champion.
«Together with the Olympic Gold medal, which I could win in 2016 in Rio, this probably is my sweetest victory. It felt like racing in standing ovations. Finally watching all the spectators at the ceremony going crazy is something which I would have not imagined, not in my wildest dreams. The great atmosphere in Lenzerheide is not only because of me and my success, it also a statement for mountain biking in Switzerland», N1NO said.
«I'm speechless. To win this race in front of my fans here in Switzerland is what money can't buy! The crowds literally pushed me to deliver. It was so incredibly loud, and simply the best feeling I've ever had racing a mountain bike. Thanks to everyone who came up here.»
As of today, N1NO Schurter calls three Olympic medals (a bronze, a silver and a golden one) his own, he is a 7x World Champion, and a 6 time World Cup Champion. In addition, he has 30 World Cup wins to his name - three WC wins still missingto equalize Julien Absalon's record of 33 wins.
Nino Schurter / Scott-Sram MTB Racing Team