Looking back at one of the must successful race weekends in history, SCOTT’s athletes managed to deliver thrilling racing and podiums in a true champion fashion. From XC to DH, road and triathlon, these will leave a mark in the history books.
Givisiez, Switzerland. With the MTB World Championships in Val di Sole (Italy) and La Vuelta (Spain) happening at the same time, the stage was set for a big weekend and it turned out to be one for the history books.
In a spectacular race with a thrilling finish, Nino Schurter once again showed the character of a true champion as he claimed his 9th World Champion title. Earlier in the day, Martin Vidaurre of Chile rode his way to the rainbow stripes at the U23 XCO World Championships. With Marine Cabirou, Hugo Pigeon and Mathilde Bernard all earning themselves an impressive silver medal in DH, XC eMTB and Women’s Four-Cross, this weekend will go down as one the most successful in recent history for SCOTT’s MTB athletes.
On the road, Romain Bardet managed to walk away with a win on stage 14 of La Vuelta, the third of the tour for Team DSM.
Discover the different stories further below.
N1NO Schurter is the 2021 XCO World Champion
Val di Sole, Italy. Nino Schurter wins the 2021 XCO World Championships in incredible fashion leaving a mark on the history books. Being the youngest athlete to win the World Champion title in 2009 and now his 9th, this marks him as the oldest athlete in history to earn the rainbow stripes.
After a difficult and challenging season so far with various 2nd place finishes, the tables have turned. Finding the right answer and going all in for the Worlds played out in a brilliant way. By winning his 9th World Champion title, Nino proved once more he is the best in the world and hungry as ever before.
It’s no secret that Nino Schurter was very disappointed to miss a medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo by only seconds. However, with World Championships and his home race of the Lenzerheide World Cup (Sept 5), Nino knew he had two occasions to prove his critics wrong. Facing the mental challenge of switching his focus towards the new goal shortly after Olympics, Nino found the motivation and fire to peak once more for the race for the World Champion stripes.
The Perfect Race
Even though the newly crowned Olympic champion, Tom Pidcock (Vuelta Spain) and Mathieu Van der Poel (injured) were missing, the competition was high. Many athletes who walked away from Tokyo without a medal saw the World Championship as the next opportunity to chase a 2021 title.
One of them, Ondřej Cink, charged hard at the beginning of the race. Nino stayed present at the front, successfully managing to close the gap on the descents and went into an early lead. After the first 20 minutes of racing the tempo dropped a bit and a bigger leading group formed, where also Lars Forster was hanging on at the far end.
With only Nino able to stick with the high pace set by Swiss National Champion Matthias Flückiger, the two started to collaborate and built a comfortable lead over the followers Ondřej Cink, Victor Koretzky, Vlad Dascalu and Henrique Avancini. Midway through the race, it started to become clear, the decision was about to be made between these two Swiss riders.
The World Cup leader, Mathias Flückiger was riding in excellent form, especially on the many steep climbs of the very demanding course, which many athletes say is the toughest of the circuit.
However, Nino was able to hang on and close the gap on the descent thanks to his 120mm SCOTT Spark RC and his extraordinary riding skills. Even Flückigers attack on the very last climb couldn’t shake Nino. In a thrilling finale, Nino made some risky moves to eventually claim the lead before the last stretch to the finish line. Nino punched with incredible power towards the line securing his first victory of the 2021 season, and one for the history books.
After the finish, we saw Nino Schurter more emotional than ever. The relief was obvious and could also be heard in his statements:
“It’s been a difficult 2021 season for me. Especially with the Olympics not going my way. Therefore this World Champion title is among the most important ones of the 9 I have in the books now. It’s not just another title. It’s a big release to know I’m still capable of winning big races. I did believe in myself and had people around me supporting me in this. But there were also a lot of people who called me off after not winning anymore. They’ve now got a reminder: I’m still here!”
— Nino Schurter, 9 x World Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
Spark RC – The bike of champions
Nino Schurter won the Elite XCO World Championships on the all-new SCOTT Spark RC World Cup, followed by U23 XCO World Champion Martin Vidaurre Kossmann and 2021 European Champion Lars Forster. The 2020 German National Champion, Max Brandl finished in a strong 6th position in the Elite XCO on the new Spark RC.
For 2022, the all-new Spark is set to continue this heritage on race tracks all around the world. With several key updates including an integrated shock, updated geometry and 120mm of suspension travel front and rear, the all-new Spark is here for business. Racing will never be the same.
Article courtesy of https://www.scott-sports.com/za/en/news/bike/world-champs-valdisole