Nino Schurter will be hoping for revenge in the third round of the XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto Na Morave this weekend after his fiercest rival, Julien Absalon, took a brilliant victory in Belgium back in April.
Frenchman Absalon won the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Houffalize with a wonderfully controlled performance. The two-time Olympic champion didn't let Switzerland's Schurter out of his sights once on the 'spaghetti course.'
The lead changed hands several times during the one-and-a-half-hour race, which was witnessed by a crowd of 20,000, but Absalon showed brilliant technique by timing his final attack perfectly to overtake and pull away from his fading rival.
Italy's Marco Fontana started in ninth but managed to claw his way back to third. But the day ended in major disappointment for Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavy. The world champion won five out of seven events last year but he's struggled for form this year and crossed the line in 12th.
After another titanic cross-country battle in Belgium, UCI World Cup organisers will be hoping for more of the same in the Czech Republic.