Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon have dominated cross country mountain biking in the last decade. Both have already won five World Champion titles. In Cairns one of them could make it six. No one doubts Schurter's strength as he has won every single World Cup round this year, but Absalon has been getting back in shape and is eager for a win. They are not the only contenders either. Kulhavy, Marotte, Sarrou, Tempier, Fumic, Flückiger...all eager to dethrone the two who have dominated for so long. Cairns, Australia.
Calm and collected.
The men elite are off.
The head of the pack on lap one.
Jaroslav Kulhavy had a commanding lead for much of the race, but he would eventually slip back into second.
Titouan Carod tried today but fell short of reaching the race leaders. 7th place for this champ.
This went nearly as bad for me as it did for him. The crashes were plentiful today.
Henrique Avancini kept out of harm's way and raced clean to finish fourth.
Dan McConnell charged hard in the last two laps, propelling himself to 9th.
Nino showed what well-honed race craft will do for you. He may not have led the whole race, but he made sure his opponents were tired when it was time to make his move.
Thomas Litscher had a top day out there in the moon dust taking third, and adding yet another medal to the pile for the Swiss.
Launching into the Rodeo Drop.
Noisy, rowdy, enthusiastic. Sore eardrums anyone?
Schurter chases Kulhavy.
Kiwi Anton Cooper was on pace for a top five finish until a crash with one to go cost him about a minute and thirty seconds. Cooper finished 16th.
Manuel Fumic put in another solid performance with a 5th place.
Kulhavy was in top form and charged hard trying to loose Schurter. Schurter observed and made his move in the last lap, overtaking Kulhavy before the downhill towards Jacobs Ladder. Gaining 10 seconds in the downhill, Schurter rode to the win comfortably
World title number six. Nino Schurter's supremacy is complete.
It's now safe to say that it could be a long time before we see a talent like Nino come along. He has sealed the deal for the title of The Greatest.
Caught behind the masses? Inhale dust.
Thomas Litscher rode one hell of a race and became third.
Tempier had an amazing season, but he couldn't follow up his Val Di Sole result with another podium today.
If you weren't in front you were eating dust. Literally.
Kohei Yamamoto was feeling the burn at race end.
Mathias Fluckiger has been attacking all season but today ended in disappointment. Next year might prove different.
The undisputed king.
2017 XCO Men Elite World Championships
1. Nino Schurter
2. Jaroslav Kulhavy
3. Thomas Litscher
4. Henrique Avancini
5. Manuel Fumic
Nino Schurter has ended a perfect season. Six World Cup wins. One World Championships title. The competition seems to be getting close to edging towards a win, but so far Schurter has not budged under the pressure. Next year will prove interesting, as Mathieu van der Poel will be riding a full XCO season adding some more fuel to the fire. Will Schurter be beaten?
Stay tuned for tomorrow's DH finals.