The beautiful setting of Lenzerheide in the Swiss Alps hosted the fifth round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup. Italy’s Luca Braidot managed to hold off South African Alan Hatherly in a sprint finish to take his first World Cup win. A sprint finish is exciting enough though this doesn’t quite tell the story of the dramatic sixth and final lap that had seen Braidot, Hatherly, Mathias Flückiger and Nino Schurter racing as a lead group on that lap.
The group's lead was exchanged several times between Braidot, Flückiger and Schurter as the lap progressed, and it seemed that Flückiger and Schurter had broken away from the other two and would fight it out for the win. However, unseen by the TV cameras covering the event, Flückiger and Schurter had a coming together. When the group came back into view of the cameras, Braidot and Hatherly were ahead of Flückiger and Schurter.
There were chaotic scenes in the finish area at the end of the race. Braidot was overcome with the emotion of his win, as was Schurter, who had come in fourth. Schurter was visibly upset at how the race had ended. Everyone wanted to know what happened between Flückiger and Schurter and tried to make sense of what had just gone on in the last few minutes of the race.—Red Bull Bike
Find more coverage of the Lenzerheide XC World Cup here.