Luca Braidot surprises and wins Lenzerheide World Cup, Spanish exhibition with Valero and Cullel in the Top 10
In a truly crazy last lap, Italy's Luca Braidot took the victory. Nino Schurter and Mathias Fluckiger made a mistake that ruined any chance of Swiss victory.
Luca Braidot takes the victory of the 2022 Lenzerheide XCO World Cup
Competing in Switzerland, we could already see on Friday that there were many local riders ready to fight for the victory. And World Champion Nino Schurter was the top favorite.
Schurter started with the difficult goal of achieving his 34th victory in front of his home crowd, which would make him the cyclist with the most victories in history, and from the start he did not hesitate to take the lead of the race.
Frenchman Titouan Carod was on Schurter's wheel along with a large group that Nino Schurter was in charge of breaking with an early attack in the same initial loop. In addition, the attack was launched in the refreshment area, the same place where we saw him attack last season.
Nino's change of pace left him, along with compatriot Filippo Colombo and South African Alan Haterly, in a front group that at the start of the first lap of six had a minimal 3-second lead over a chasing group led by Mathias Fluckiger.
For their part, Spanish riders David Valero and Jofre Cullel were making a great start to the race with seventh and twelfth positions, respectively.
In the course of lap 2 we saw how easily Mathias Flueckiger reached Schurter's wheel. Everything pointed out that once again we were going to live an intense Swiss duel Schurter vs Fluckiger.
The leading group was again very large on lap 2, about 10 riders including Valero, and Nino Schurter, who had not lost the first place so far, attacked again in the refreshment area to try to drop some rivals.
One of the podium contenders, Vlad Dascalu, suffered a heavy crash that caused him to lose many positions and completely conditioned his race from the second lap on.
The leading group consolidated during lap 3 with Luca Braidot, Nino Schurter, Mathia Flueckiger, Alan Hatherly and Filipo Colombo. But Braidot's lead slowed the pace of the frontrunners and that allowed David Valero, sixth, to cut time towards the podium positions.
Spanish rider David Valero did not think twice and as soon as he reached the group he took the lead of the race, ahead of Fluckiger and Nino Schurter.
After a couple of laps in which a strange calm had been breathed, Mathias Fluckiger started an attack before the start of the penultimate lap. The attack could only be withstood by Nino Schurter and now left the two Swiss alone in first and second position. The show was on.
Italian Luca Braidot joined the Swiss pair on the penultimate lap and South African Alan Hatherly did the same to try to make contact with the frontrunners before the final lap.
The bell of the last lap rang with tension running high, Nino Schurter was in the lead, but in the leading group there were again 4 riders: Fluckiger, Braidot, Hatherly and Schurter himself.
Italian Luca Braidot slipped in front of the two Swiss riders halfway through the lap and Schurter had to overtake him in an area where it seemed impossible. Fluckiger then did the same. What a last lap the Swiss public was living in Lenzerheide.
The tension could be cut, and Fluckiger and Schurter overtook each other a few times within a few meters. Something that ended in the worst possible way, with a clash between the two.
The end of the last lap was really crazy and a few meters from the finish line, Luca Braidot took the lead followed by Alan Hatherly, after the incident between Schurter and Fluckiger, and everything was decided in a sprint that Braidot won over Hatherly.
Italian Luca Braidot won the Lenzerheide World Cup against all odds. South African Alan Hatherly was second, Mathias Fluckiger third and Nino Schurter fourth. Filippo Colombo came in fifth.
In a great day for Spain, David Valero came in sixth and Jofre Cullel was tenth.
2022 Lenzerheide XCO World Cup Results
- BRAIDOT Luca (SANTA CRUZ FSA MTB PRO TEAM)
- HATHERLY Alan (CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING)
- FLÜCKIGER Mathias (THÖMUS MAXON)
- SCHURTER Nino (SCOTT-SRAM MTB RACING TEAM)
- COLOMBO Filippo (BMC MTB RACING)
- VALERO SERRANO David (BH TEMPLO CAFÉS UCC)
- LITSCHER Thomas (KROSS ORLEN CYCLING TEAM)
- BLEVINS Christopher (SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING)
- KERSCHBAUMER Gerhard (SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING)
- CULLELL ESTAPE Jofre (PRIMAFLOR MONDRAKER GENUINS)
Overall standings 2022 Lenzerheide XCO World Cup
- Nino Schurter
- Alan Hatherly
- Mathias Fluckiger
- Vlad Dascalu
- Maxime Marotte
- Luca Braidot
- David Valero
- Filippo Colombo
- Anton Cooper
- Titouan Carod