History in the Making: Elite Men Photo Epic - Cairns XC World Champs 2017

Sep 9, 2017
by Irmo Keizer  



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, Fl├╝ckiger...all eager to dethrone the two who have dominated for so long. Cairns, Australia.


Calm and collected.
Calm and collected.

The men elite are off.
The men elite are off.

The head of the pack on lap one.
The head of the pack on lap one.

Yaro had a commanding lead for much of the race but he would eventually slip back into second.
Jaroslav Kulhavy had a commanding lead for much of the race, but he would eventually slip back into second.

World Champs XC 2017
Henrique Avancini

World Champs XC 2017
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.
This went nearly as bad for me as it did for him. The crashes were plentiful today.

Henrique Avancini kept out of harms way and raced clean to finish fourth.
Henrique Avancini kept out of harm's way and raced clean to finish fourth.

Dan McConnell put in the fastest lap of the day and propelled himself to 9th.
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.
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.
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.

World Champs XC 2017
Launching into the Rodeo Drop.

Noisy rowdy enthusiastic. Sore eardrums anyone
Noisy, rowdy, enthusiastic. Sore eardrums anyone?

Schurter chases Kulhavy.
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.
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.

World Champs XC 2017

World Champs XC 2017
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
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.
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.
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.

World Champs XC 2017
Caught behind the masses? Inhale dust.

Thomas Litscher rode one hell of a race and became third.
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.
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.
If you weren't in front you were eating dust. Literally.

Kohei Yamamoto was feeling the burn at race end.
Kohei Yamamoto was feeling the burn at race end.

World Champs XC 2017
Anton Cooper

Mathias Fl ckiger has been attacking all season but today ended in disappointment. Next year might prove different.
Mathias Fluckiger has been attacking all season but today ended in disappointment. Next year might prove different.

The undisputed king.
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.

Must Read This Week

34 Comments

  • + 34
 Nino is an absolute legend. It's insane how fast he goes up and down a hill. Doing well one race is one thing, but the guy wins everything he enters.
  • + 18
 just for shit/giggles, I would love to see him in a Eduro race.
  • + 5
 Couldn't agree with you more. He's otherworldly. Congrats nino on a "perfect, perfect" season! Congrats to all the riders, especially the top ten.

Already excited for next year with VDP going full time XC. He's a legit contender and possibly a future legend as well.
  • + 24
 Avancini did an incredible job today! Everyone in brazil are really proud of him! keep pushing!
  • + 6
 BRAZILLLLLLLLL!!!!
  • + 3
 He sure did!
  • + 24
 Nino gained 10 seconds on the downhill on the last lap! Seems like the downhill does matter in XC.
  • + 5
 Again he was just buying his time to attack. Unbelievable.
  • + 22
 Brilliant pictures - nice one PB
  • + 6
 Nice pictures, but unfortunately a lot of mistakes in the captions... McConnell is not Brazilian, that drop is not into Jacob's Ladder, and I am quite sure that "Absalon" is actually Carod.
  • + 2
 Amateur hour , classic Pinkbike style @cru-jones:
  • + 7
 @cru-jones: it is what happens when you do a sixteen hour day. It would be helpful if the editors actually checked though...then it would not happen. #tip
  • + 11
 Jacob's ladder looks like a right b*tch to ride, especially on a non dropper equipped XC hardtail!
  • + 8
 Interesting; I didn't realise that Dan McConnell had picked up a Red Bull sponsorship, changed from Trek to Cannondale, and more importantly, renounced his Australian citizenship to become a Brazilian...
  • + 8
 You never know with Ozzies these days though, a whole lot of your polis seem to have citizenships you deny ever knowing about......
  • + 5
 Cannot wait to see a full season's worth of racing between MVDP and Nino!!! Another year of maturity and fitness for Mathieu when he is already so fast is going to make it a lot harder for Nino to dominate like he did this year.
  • + 7
 Nino has done the impossible - he made XC appealing. Watching him ride with flare and style like the dh riders, absolutely awesome.
  • + 1
 That last lap.
  • + 10
 N1NO
  • + 2
 Did anyone catch the moment during podium ceremony where Kulhavy was on stage first, standing center and waving at the crowd, and then Nino walk up and pointed to the second-place spot and seemingly telling Kulhavy to get to his spot?
  • + 5
 Imagine how fast they'd be without a saddle inserted in their anus at all times.
  • + 1
 I still can't understand why they don't put dropper posts on. I'm all about weight savings, but couldn't imagine descending with that seat that high. These guys must have it figured out.
  • + 3
 The photo launching into Jacobs Ladder is actually not Jacobs Ladder, rather Rodeo Drop!
  • + 1
 It is indeed.
  • + 3
 what a race...
  • + 2
 Best race pictures I have ever viewed. Wow! Thanks.
  • - 2
 Faster riders are faster, and as you can see most of these riders think droppers are mostly for guys that want to look cool with the seat slammed as they wait for their truck shuttle. Having a dropper is easier to move around on for sure, but the proof is that they are not faster, for a big pile of mountain bikers out there. Don't you think every one of the WC XC racers has tested a dropper on their race bikes and you can see that most have opted out, if they were actually faster they would be using them. Also, since they are fit, they can move behind the seat any time they want without their enduro girdle and fat belly draggin on the seat. One thing I see all the time is dropper post riders SITTING hahaha on their dropped seat and wobbling their slow asses down the hill, see first sentence. Well if you are sitting on your dropped seat, your CG is still substantially higher than one of these athletes that looks like they have a seat up their anus, which of course it is NOT up their anus as they basically have their weight on the pedals.
  • + 3
 100mm suspension and skinny tires. Or even a hard tail. I think these guys have reached the bikes terminal velocity without a dropper.
  • + 2
 Actually a lot of guys and girls are on dropper posts these days. And having worked with a few of the best XC riders, it is actually already difficult to get them testing something new as long as none of the other fast riders are using it. And then often the testing and decision ist just based on feelings, not facts. Nino is so good at descending with a high saddle that it probably would not make a big difference for him (it took him quite long though to realize that 29er and tubeless are faster than 27.5 tubulars). But for a big portion of the riders I am quite sure it is faster to use a dropper.
And for your CG it is totally irrelevant whether you are seated or standing.
  • + 1
 The longer you stare at the podium photo the weirder the whole thing gets.
  • + 1
 Great way to wrap up the season...
  • + 1
 Those trails are much more brutal then my local brutal trails, jeez
  • + 2
 Great pictures!
  • + 0
 perhhaps the name of the drop is wrong. But the shot of the guy hucking to flat oj a sub 20 pound xc bike is bloody amazing!

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