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Absalon fights passionate battle - BMC defends lead in team standings

15. June 2013

BMC Mountainbike Racing Team
UCI World Cup, 3rd round, Val di Sole, Italy
Report

June 15, 2013 - Commezzadura. In Val di Sole the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team again managed to be represented with two riders on the World Cup podium. Julien Absalon was second behind Nino Schurter, Lukas Flückiger took fifth place. The team defended its lead in the overall standings.

In the humid heat of Val di Sole the world's two outstanding mountain bikers challenged each other once again in an epic battle. Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter dueled till they reached the finishing straight on the last lap, where the Swiss rider summoned his larger power reserves to win three seconds ahead of his French rival.
Julien Absalon suffered bad luck at the start, when one of the riders in front of him stopped briefly. Absalon had to slow down, falling twelve seconds behind Nino Schurter, who led the race.
"First of all I had to close this gap. That demanded a lot of energy," said Julien Absalon. The two-time Olympic champion then tried to pass Schurter repeatedly in a direct head-to-head-duel, but Schurter knew how to prevent him from succeeding. In the fifth round Absalon attacked vigorously, but the world champion fended him off and launched a counter attack, gaining a four-second-lead for some time.
"Then I thought: Oh, maybe this will be really difficult now! But I was able to catch up to him again. We are on the same level, but currently I do not have the key how to beat Nino," was Absalon's assessment of the situation, without him being disappointed about the result.
His teammate Lukas Flückiger did not risk to intervene in this neck-and-neck-battle . Instead he and his brother Mathias spent most of the race together in fourth and fifth position. "This course commands respect, and it doesn't really suit me. I would have been able to keep up with them, but the question was: for how long? I think it was the right decision. I am the only biker who has managed to be on the podium at every world cup race so far this year," said Lukas Flückiger, runner-up at the world championship s2012.
Ralph Naef gave a strong race performance. Two laps before the finish he still was in 15th place. Then he suffered a major setback, however, due to his lack of competition . He finally finished the race in 34th position.

BMC Mountainbike Racing managed to take second place in the team standings and thus was able to defend first place in the overall ranking.
In the men's standings Lukas Flückiger has moved up to third place overall, whereas Julien Absalon is in fourth position already - having finished only two races.

Matthias Stirnemann and Reto Indergand finished fifth and sixth in the U23 competition. „We are ready for the European championships in Bern", said the two in unison.


World Cup Val di Sole
Results elite
1. Nino Schurter (Sui)
2. Julien Absalon
3. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze)
4. Mathias Flückiger (Sui)
5. Lukas Flückiger
...
34. Ralph Näf
35. Martin Fanger
44. Moritz Milatz

Results U23
1. Markus Schulte-Lünzum (Ger)
2. Daniele Braidot (Ita)
3. Nicholas Pettina (Ita)
4. Grant Ferguson (Gbr)
5. Matthias Stirnemann
6. Reto Indergand