Belomoina Surprises, Schurter Extends
von Erhard Goller
What a great weekend. In front of a crowd of 10000 spectators Yana Belomoina and Nino Schurter grabbed the win at the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano in Albstadt. A hot and dusty weekend found its end in two exciting races with some surprises.
Report of the men’s drama
Swiss rider Nino Schurter claimed his 22nd world-cup victory in Albstadt. The Olympic Champion finished the 33 kilometers race in 1:33:38. Dutch Vice Cyclo-Cross Champion Mathieu van der Poel was second, 26 seconds behind. Quite unexpectedly, New Zealand’s Anton Cooper finished third with a gap of 49 seconds.
Having finished eighth in Nove Mesto, Mathieu van der Poel was able to start from first row. He took initiative right away and teamed up with World Champion Nino Schurter at the front. Later Mathias Flückiger joined the duo.
However, Nino Schurter paced up in the fourth round and thus forced van der Poel to make a mistake: he crashed coming around the corner near the Albstadt Drop and then lost touch with the leaders. Suffering from a knee injury, he was handicapped for the rest of the race.
Shortly after, Mathias Flückiger took chances jumping in a passage, losing control and going head over heels. With minor injuries he tried to continue but finally had to give up. Thus Nino Schurter was on the way to his second World Cup victory this season.
“Actually, I was a bit nervous about Mathieu. Until today I never had raced against him, not knowing his strengths and weaknesses. When I launched my attack, I guess he was under pressure. You shouldn’t make any mistakes on this course. It’s not too demanding technically, but it’s very slippery.
Van der Poel manages to hold second position, while Anton Cooper, part of a chase group, secures third position ahead of David Valero and Maxime Marotte. „I didn’t expect this because it’s not my kind of race course“, said van der Poel.
Thrilling Women’s race ends with a surprise
Somewhat unexpectedly, Yana Belomonia from the Ukraine is the winner of the second world cup race of the season. She scored her first success in Albstadt, finishing in 1:38:25 with a lead of 16 seconds ahead of Maja Wloszczowska and 23 seconds ahead of European Champion Jolanda Neff from Switzerland.
Thousands of spectators watched thrilling race action in the heat of the Bullentäle in Albstadt. Dominating the race at the beginning, World Champion Annika Langvad from Denmark suffered some hard crashes, and thus had no chance in the end.
After Langvad’s first crash,Wloszczowska saw her chance and went into attack mode. „Annika Langvad seemed to be in brilliant shape, I just tried to stay behind her. But when she crashed, I didn’t hesitate to make the best of the situation. I kept my pace and tried not to go over the limit“, said Wloszczowska.
But there was trouble coming from behind. Yana Belomoina was fastest on the uphill sections and thus closed up to the chase group in the last but one lap. Right into the last lap, she and Jolanda Neff caught up to the leading Wloszczowska. On the last climb, Belomoina took the lead and was on her way to victory.
“Closing up to Maja, I knew today is my day and all things are possible. On the last uphill section I tried to get as much ahead as possible“, explained Belomoina. Crossing the finish line, she covered her face with her hands. „I still can’t believe it. This really will boost my self-confidence.“
Jolanda Neff finishes third and is happy about her new strategy. „This time I started out a bit slower and was able to overtake many competitors.“ Suffering from pollen allergy in May, she was able to breathe normally today.