• Nino Schurter on his way to a record fifth World Championship title (tied with Julien Absalon). (Rob Jones/Canadian Cyclist)Source: Rob Jones/Canadian Cyclist
The 2016 Mountain Bike World Championships concluded on Sunday in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, with the Elite Men's cross-country competition.
Rob Jones

Cycling Central
4 Jul 2016 - 1:32 AM  UPDATED 4 Jul 2016 - 9:59 AM

Switzerland's Nino Schurter successfully defended his title, tying Julien Absalon's (France) record of five Elite titles. Czech hero Jaroslav Kulhavy was second and Absalon third. 

The crowd of over 23,000 were hoping for a Czech victory, and initially the chances looked good, with Schurter, Kulhavy and another Czech rider, Ondrej Cink, getting a gap on the start loop. Absalon was chasing, but wouldn't join the leaders until the third lap, halfway into the race. A lap later, and Schurter attacked, quickly gaining 20 seconds. Cink was dropped from the chase by Absalon and Kulhavy and then on the final lap, much to the delight of the Czech crowd, Kulhavy dropped Absalon to finish 17 seconds down on Schurter, with Absalon coming in a further 13 seconds back.

"I'm super happy about this race, it was a nice win," said Schurter. "It was a nearly perfect race for me. Jaroslov went fast out from the start and I was able to go with him and draft quite nicely behind him. It is amazing, the crowd go wild when he [Kulhavy] comes by."

Kulhavy admitted he did not have the legs to match Schurter on the day.

 "I didn't catch my tempo and it was a pretty hard race for me. I did good with beating Absalon, it was a perfect world championship in the Czech Republic. The spectators are so amazing and it was the best championship ever in mountain biking. The atmosphere is crazy."

Schurter now joins Absalon with five Elite titles, and each of them hold a total of eight individual titles, including Junior and Under-23 wins. However, as Schurter pointed out, "there is still the matter of the two Olympic gold medals that Julien has, so I have some catching up to do."

Dan McConnell was the top Australian finisher in 39th. 

Earlier in the day, Jenny Rissveds on Sweden won the Under-23 Women's title. Swiss riders took the other two podium spots, with Sina Frei finishing second and Alessandra Keller third. Holly Harris was the only Australian competitor, finishing 33rd.

In the Under-23 women's race, a group of four riders formed at the front of the race on the start lap, with Evie Richards of Great Britain joining Rissveds, Frei and Keller. Rissveds delayed her attack until the second lap of the 19 kilometre race, mindful of how Frei had countered her attack at the European Championships to win that title.

On the second lap Rissveds dropped the other riders to solo in for the title. Keller held the silver medal position until the final lap, when Frei surged by her team mate to finish 1:04 behind Rissveds. Keller finished a further 18 seconds back.

"The course here is like Sweden with the rocks and the roots, so I like it very much and I think it is good for me," commented Rissveds. "Sina surprised me in the Europeans, when she was so strong and I could not go with her. So, this time I was more cautious and rode with the others for a while to study and see where I was strong and they were strong, before I made my attack."