Bad luck in Lenzerheide6. July 2015, Lenzerheide, Switzerland — MTB Team
Motivation and expectations for the third round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup were really high. It was the first time in five years that the series stopped in Switzerland so the BMC MTB Racing Team was keen to do well on home soil. Unfortunately, luck was not on their side.
The race started at a very high speed on this technical and dusty course. In the white leader jersey, Julien Absalon had a good start and finished the first lap together with his main rivals, Nino Schurter and Jaroslav Kuhlavy as well as Florian Vogel and Mathias Flückiger. But it didn’t stay that way. Schurter and Kuhlavy managed to open a little gap on Absalon: the other two fell back even more. However, it still looked good for third place for Absalon until a punctured rear tire forced the World Champion to ride half a lap on the rim. “The tire remained on the rim so I managed to ride the usual lines and take the jumps but I lost so much time and a lot of riders passed me” he explained at the end of the race. “I punctured on a grass field when climbing. I felt the air coming out of the tire and I knew I still had a long way to the tech zone. I was very unlucky. I missed the podium and fell behind in the overall classification but to be honest, I am very happy with my shape. I was sick at the beginning of the week and I didn’t feel great during the first training session on this course. Luckily my Fourstroke 01 worked perfectly. It probably made up a little for my not-so-ideal shape.” Absalon finished 9th and is now third in the overall classification, 150 points behind Jaroslav Kuhlavy who won the race.
Ralph Näf, patron of the course in Lenzerheide, was disappointed with his 11th place: “I wanted to do well here and maybe get a spot on the podium but I didn’t have the right legs for that. My start was pretty bad but I fought really hard and almost caught up with the big chase group. If I had caught them, things would have changed; I would have been racing for fifth place but it just didn’t happen.”
Reto Indergand was the happiest of the team. He managed another top 20, the third in three World Cups. “I started really well but probably too fast so paid it during a couple of laps. After that I found the right speed and everything went pretty well.” The young gun of the team is feeling great and is looking forward to the National Championships in two weeks’ time. “I finished fifth last year and definitely would like to do better this year but competition is really high in Switzerland so another top 5 is my goal.”
Racing in around 12th position for most of the race, Lukas Flückiger didn’t finish the race due to a mechanical. Also unlucky, Martin Fanger felt sick the night before the race. Although he started and raced the first lap, he quickly realized that he was too weak and subsequently pulled out.
The team remains in the lead of the World Cup Team classification.
The BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team is hoping for more luck next week for the next round of the BMC Racing Cup.