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For the third time in less than a year, Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon battled it out to the finish at a World Cup cross-country race, and again Schurter came out victorious.
Schurter (Scott-SwissPower) nipped Absalon (Orbea) by four seconds at Val di Sole, Italy on Saturday. It was his second World Cup win of 2010. His first win came at Dalby Forest, where he beat Absalon in a sprint. Their other finish line duel came last September at the World Championships in Canberra, Australia. And again, Schurter came out on top.
Throughout the race it was clear Schurter and Absalon were the strongest riders, although a train of riders were able to follow in the early stages. The decisive moments came as Ralf Naef (Multivan Merida Biking) and teammate Jose Hermida fell off the back, with only Florian Vogel (Scott-SwissPower) and Mathias Fluckiger (Trek World Racing) holding the pace.
Coming into the final half lap, Absalon and Schurter matched each other attack for attack. Absalon tried his luck but couldn’t hold off Schurter, who was able to counter attack to take the line.
As he did last week’s World Cup stop in Switzerland, American Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) posted a top-20 finish coming in at 17th. American Todd Wells finished two spots behind Craig.
After hanging with the leaders in the start loop, Canadian Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) began drifting farther and farther back. The Canadian national champ eventually dropped out on lap 4.
With his win, Schurter displaced Absalon from the top of the overall World Cup standings. With one race to go in Windham, New York on Aug. 28, Schurter leads Absalon by 26 points.
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) rolled across in 24th. The next best American was Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) in 41st.
Michael Broderick US 81st
Stephen Ettinger (U23) US 86th
Peter Glasford CAN 94th
Russel l Finsterwald (U23) US 120th
Jack Hinkens (U23) US 146th
Dana Weber US 158th
Kerry Werner (U23) US 159th
Timothy Carelton CAN 172nd