Absalon Adds Bronze to his World Championship Medal Collection4. July 2016, Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic — Melanie Leveau — MTB Team
Once again, Nove Mesto na Morave delivered an amazing event that saw Nino Schurter (SUI) crowned as the new World Champion in Cross-country mountain biking, in front of Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) and Julien Absalon (FRA).
Keen to do well on home soil and in front of the huge and particularly loud crowd this year, Jaroslav Kulhavy completed the first two laps at an incredible speed. Only Nino Schurter could follow the pace of the powerful Czech rider. Julien Absalon had to work hard together with another Czech rider, Ondrej Cink, to bridge the gap on the third lap. Visibly annoyed by Absalon’s comeback, Schurter placed a decisive attack and rode away to not be seen by any of the riders anymore. Behind him, Absalon and Kulhavy rode together until the last lap. “It was great to be with him during this race. The crowd was cheering for him so loud; it was an incredible experience!” said Absalon. In the final lap, Kulhavy managed to open a little gap on Absalon and finished on his own cheered on by the 9’000 spectators who were filling the grandstands along the finish straight.
With his third place finish, Absalon has grown his already record collection of World Championships medals: “It’s my second bronze I think!” Out of a total of 19 World Championship events in his career, the Frenchman has collected no less than eight gold medals, two silver, and two bronze.
Happy with his performance, Absalon explained he wasn’t at the best of his game for the World Championships. “With seven weeks to go to the Olympics, it was a hard one to manage. I needed to recover after the World Cups in Albstadt and La Bresse. I did a specific preparation for these two events which were really exhausting mentally and physically so I needed a good break. It would have been too long to try to hold my form until Rio.” He started racing again a couple of weeks ago in Germany. “I didn’t feel really good during the last two weeks (third in Heubach and in Osdorf) so I needed to get some confidence again. So with this result, I am now back on track and I can really focus on the next seven weeks in the lead up to Rio.”
Forster, Indergand and Flückiger : Expectations not Met
Following their good performances in the first part of the season, Lars Forster and Reto Indergand were aiming for a legitimate top-10.
Unfortunately, Forster crashed during the warm up and hit a rock with his knee. Suffering during the race, he couldn’t do better than 28th place, far from his own expectations. "I couldn't keep at the front with one leg only..." he said very disappointed. Luckily, Forster started his World Championships on a better note winning Bronze in the Team Relay with Switzerland.
A lack of training due to an injured knee (he crashed in Heubach two weeks ago and had five stiches placed to his knee) meant that Reto Indergand was missing the power needed on the Czech course and finished 27th. “I hope the next couple of training sessions will help me to get my form back before next weekend’s race in Lenzerheide.”
After a very slow start (in 50th position after the start loop), Lukas Flückiger managed to make his way through the field to cross the finish line in 12th position. “I choose a wrong line and got stuck in traffic so quickly lost positions. But I managed to stay focused and make the most of my improving shape to catch as many riders as possible. In the end, it is positive in regards turning out a good performance at Lenzerheide.”
- Nino Schurter (SUI)
- Jaroslav Kuhlavy (CZE)
- Julien Absalon (FRA)
12. Lukas Flückiger (SUI)
27. Reto Indergand (SUI)
28. Lars Forster (SUI)
Full results here.
Photos: Armin Küstenbrück / EGO Promotion