Mathias Fluckiger returns to the top after winning the XCO World Cup Andorra 2023
Swiss Mathias Fluckiger will surely never forget the Andorra 2023 XCO World Cup he has just won. With this victory, it could be said that he has put an end to the worst stage of his sporting career, marked by an unfair suspension, and has shown that he is once again the best in a top-level race.
Mathias Fluckiger puts an end to his particular calvary and wins the XCO World Cup Andorra 2023
The cold and rain did not respite in Andorra and accompanied the Elite Men's race from the start line. Proof of the bad conditions was to see riders like Nino Schurter (SCOT SRAM), Jordan Sarrou (BMC Team) or Mathias Fluckiger (Thomus Maxon), competing with a vest over the jersey, something very unusual to see in World Cup and that Fluckiger himself made fashionable in the 2020 World Cup that Sarrou won.
Again it was the German Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV) who after winning the Short Track on Friday decided to take the lead of the race on the first lap and without waiting for anything decided to attack to open along with Mathias Flueckiger a small gap with the rest of the favorites.
Behind, the most interesting move was being made by the new World Champion Thomas Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) who from the second row used the first lap of seven to move up positions and show that his intention was to reach the top positions as soon as possible.
The Schwarzbauer-Fluckiger pair were still very much in the lead, but the Swiss was in a strong position and before the end of lap two he attacked again to leave the German behind and take the lead on his own.
Before the race, Nino Schurter confessed that these were not the best conditions for him, but the problems grew when he was in the chasing group and had to stop in the technical zone due to a flat tyre. Andorra was the first time we saw Schurter wearing the overall leader's jersey after losing the rainbow a few weeks ago in Glasgow.
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The Andorra XCO World Cup gave no respite and had not yet gone only 2 laps and about 25 minutes of racing.
After the lifting of his erroneous suspension and the passage through the operating room a few weeks ago, Andorra was being the scene of the return of the best version of Mathias Fluckiger, who halfway through the race was defending the first place with more than 40 seconds ahead of his first pursuers. A group formed by Jordan Sarrou, Luca Scwarzbaumer and Thomas Griot.
Thomas Pidcock was finding it harder than expected to make a breakthrough, but at the start of lap 5 he was already running in fifth position and trying to make contact with the first chasing group.
The kilometers and tough course conditions were already taking their toll on most riders at the start of the penultimate lap. But while Fluckiger was reflecting the fatigue on his face he was able to hold on to the lead with almost half a minute advantage. Second was now Frenchman Thomas Griot (Canyon CLLCTV) ahead of Jordan Sarrou. Thomas Pidcock was fourth.
But if the race was being hard, we could confirm that the last lap was agonizing for Mathias Fluckiger. Thomas Griot was too close to him, less than 10 seconds, and with the motivation of trying to win his first World Cup. The tension remained until the end, but the Swiss showed why he was and will remain one of the best in the sport.
Mathias Fluckiger came in first to win the Andorra 2023 XCO World Cup. His first World Cup victory since more than a year ago when he also won at this same venue.
Second was Thomas Griot, his best position in the World Cup, and third came Thomas Pidcock after an intense finish with Jordan Sarrou.
Results XCO World Cup Andorra 2023 - Men
- FLÜCKIGER Mathias (THÖMUS MAXON) 1:28:03
- GRIOT Thomas (CANYON CLLCTV) +23
- PIDCOCK Thomas (INEOS GRENADIERS) +44
- SARROU Jordan (TEAM BMC) +54
- SCHWARZBAUER Luca (CANYON CLLCTV) +1:17
- FORSTER Lars (THÖMUS MAXON) +1:23
- CAROD Titouan (TEAM BMC) +1:41
- LITSCHER Thomas (LAPIERRE MAVIC UNITY) +1:50
- DASCALU Vlad (TREK FACTORY RACING XC) +1:57
- ALBIN Vital (THÖMUS MAXON)