Unstoppable Schurter and a maiden win for Last; the conquerors at round four of UCI XCO World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Great Britain’s Annie Last and Switzerland’s Nino Schurter both won their respective races at round four of the UCI XCO World Cup in front of a capacity crowd.
For Last, it was the realisation of a long-held dream but it wasn’t easy. The early pace of the elite women’s race was determined by the winner of round three, Yana Belomoina and the veteran Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå.
Heavy thunderstorms the night before had taken their toll on the relatively flat and technical Swiss track leaving conditions were tricky.
As the battle wore on, it was Last who was on the move up at the sharp end and she held on to secure the first British World Cup XCO win for over two decades with Dahle Flesjå and Belomoina finishing behind.
Last said, “I have had a tough couple of years, so even to be racing at the front felt incredible. It has not sunk in yet. Unbelievable, so happy.
“An hour and a half race was perfect and having that one lap shorter meant I could get going properly. Today I said to myself, ‘Ride your race, ride your race’ and it paid off.”
Dahle Flesjå added, “Very happy for Annie winning her first World Cup race ever. I told her she has a lot of years to look forward to. I am happy with second place.”
The elite men’s race got underway shortly after thunder and torrential rain had further ravaged the track with home favourite Schurter under the biggest pressure.
Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and France’s Maxime Marrotte kept him honest early on, however his old sparring partner Jaroslav Kulhavy was the man who produced the biggest move late on.
The Czech powerhouse produced an incredible last lap, but he could not overhaul Schurter who held on for a three-second victory that keeps his unbeaten 2017 run intact with Russian Anton Sintsov third.
Schurter said, “It is amazing to win back home with so many people cheering for me. I didn’t have the best feeling at the beginning. Super slippery and I didn’t have the best tyres on.
“I saw Jaroslav coming second last lap and I was lucky that it was one lap shorter than it was supposed to be.”
Kulhavy added, “Incredible race after that start. I like the technical sections of this track. I couldn’t race normally before, but today was a normal race and I am really happy with a podium.”
The series moves next to Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada for the penultimate round on August 5-6.
Elite Women’s result:
1. Annie Last GBR
2. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå NOR
3. Yana Belomoina UKR
4. Jolanda Neff SWI
5. Helen Grobert GER
29. Bec Henderson AUS
61. Kathryn McIncerney AUS
65. Sarah Riley AUS
Elite Men’s result:
1. Nino Schurter SWI
2. Jaroslav Kulhavy CZE
3. Anton Sintsov RUS
4. Maxime Marotte FRA
5. David Valero Serrano SPN
84. Cam Ivory AUS
93. Sebastian Jayne AUS
96. Russell Nankervis AUS
U23 Women’s result:
1. Kate Courtney USA
2. Sina Frei SUI
3. Evie Richards GBR
41. Holly Harris AUS
U23 Men’s result:
1. Martins Blums LAT
2. Maximilian Brandl GER
3. Nadir Collendani ITA
59. Callum Carson AUS
75. Tasman Nankervis AUS
93. Reece Tucknott AUS