This year has been a season-long battle between the two top ranked male riders in the world – Julien Absalon and defending champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland. Schurter had his usual fast start, and after the first lap in the seven lap race was nearly 30 seconds ahead of his French rival.
However, Absalon, who was using a full suspension bike in competition for the first time, steadily chased down Schurter and caught him in the fourth lap. One lap later, and Absalon was 17 seconds clear, proving to be much stronger on the climbs. He pulled away over the remaining two laps to win by nearly two minutes, completing a near perfect season that has seen him the French national title, the European title, the UCI World Cup title and now the rainbow jersey of UCI World Champion. Schurter hung on for second, with Marco Fontana (Italy) overcoming a flat tire to beat Moritz Milatz (Germany) by five seconds for the bronze medal.
“I am very happy to win this rainbow jersey for the fifth time,” said Absalon. “It has been a long time since the last time, in 2007. Today it was almost perfect. I did a bad start and had a little crash in the wood section but I kept going and tried to go step by step to catch the lead. When I got on Nino’s wheel I was able to pass him on the climb.” “I made a really good choice to use a full suspension bike because it is such a bumpy track, but it was a little risky because this was my first race with a full suspension bike. So it was a risk, but a good one.”