Rough weekend at Leogang for Scott/SRAM Team

After years of being at or near the top of the cross-country mountain bike racing world, the Scott/SRAM team had some of its worst results in recent memory this past weekend. Team director Thomas Frischknecht shares his thoughts about the latest World Cup race at Leogang, Austria

By Thomas Frischknecht, Team Director, Scott/SRAM MTB Team

With all the excitement we had launching our new race weapon, the racing weekend at the World Cup in Leogang hasn’t been crowned by success. However, the team stays positive and focused, knowing that their time will come.

For Nino Schurter, tenth place in a World Cup has to be a disappointment. Photo by Michal Cerveny.

Leogang, Austria. Early in the week we were finally able to present the new Spark, which the team has been testing and riding since early in the year. Filled with extra motivation and anticipation, we were looking forward to finally race this new weapon.
Unfortunately things went wrong right from the beginning, starting with Friday’s XCC – or in Kate Courtney’s case, three weeks earlier when she crashed at the World Cup in Nove Mesto, injuring herself bad enough to prevent her from rolling up to the start line in Leogang. P10 [10th place] for Nino Schurter, P16 [16th place] for Lars Forster and P32 [32nd place] for Andri Frischknecht do not reflect what our athletes and the new bike is capable of.

With the boys’ motivation at its peak, the gun went off Friday night for the short track World Cup (XCC). Right at the start Nino slipped out of the pedal, causing him to be passed by the entire field. On top of this, he also blocked Lars who started right behind him. With Andri also starting at the end of the field, the entire SCOTT-SRAM Team was out of the top 30 on lap one. With little chances to move up, all of them were with the back to the wall before Sunday’ cross-country (XCO) race even started. This placed Nino in an unusual 4th row, starting in 25th place, Lars in 31st and Andri in 34th. These positions made for quite the handicap stepping into the XCO.

Leogang offers some of the most beautiful backdrops in mountain biking, but the climbs and descents are extremely challenging. Lars Forster powers up one of the hills. Photo by Michal Cerveny.

Although the final result may not have been cause for celebration, Lars Forster was definitely moving in the right direction. After a slow start in P30, he moved through the pack consistently showing some impressively fast lap times, his solid performance landing him in 16th.

 

The descents between the trees were extremely challenging. Andri Frischknecht navigates his way through the rocks and roots. Photo by Michal Cerveny.

Andri Frischknecht fought a tough battle, still missing the step ahead to move up in the ranks. Starting in P34, Andri rode a steady race finishing in 32nd.

“I came to Leogang super motivated and excited about the new bike. My mistake at the start of the XCC kind of ruined everything of this racing weekend right from the beginning. After all this years I learned the hard way how difficult it is when you have to start this far back. Now it’s time to go back to work to do better next time”
Nino Schurter
8x World Champion, 2020 EuropeanChampion & Olympic Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
Although the results at Leogang are far from being exciting, the team remains positive, maintaining an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the season.
The hard work of the athletes coupled with the fast new Spark will pay off sooner or later. In racing, it sometimes takes some patience to be successful. No reason to panic.
With Kate Courtney’s return to the World Cup in Les Gets early in July, the team will be complete and in full swing once more.
“The hard work of the athletes coupled with the fast new Spark will pay off sooner or later. In racing, it sometimes takes some patience to be successful. No reason to panic.”

Thomas Frischknecht
Team Director
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

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