The start was marred by a crash in the first few metres, when Matthias Stirnemann (Scott-SRAM) went over the bars after his chain broke, causing a pileup behind him. One of the worst affected was Australian national champion Dan McConnell, who was out of the race less than 10 metres after it began. The top Australian finisher was Cameron Ivory in 66th place.
Thomas Litscher (JB Brunex Felt) jumped into the lead on the start loop, but he was quickly overtaken by Schurter and David Valero (MMR Factory) once the riders began their six laps of the course.
Valero hung on with Schurter for the first half of the race as the pair opened a gap on a chase group containing Julien Absalon (BMC), Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory) and Jordan Sarrou (BH-SR Suntour-KMC), but when Schurter put the hammer down on a climb the Spaniard was quickly dropped.
Schurter cruised to his 21st World Cup victory, with Valero holding on for second place. Absalon dropped the rest of the chase group to take third.
"I had a really good start and I felt pretty good," Schurter said. "This course really suits me well, it's a perfect course, one of my favourites. David showed a great performance.
"The first lap or so he attacked quite hard and made me suffer. I'm really happy to win here again. For me, it is totally different this year.
"I have much less pressure, I had a great winter, did some good training but everything comes with less pressure, fewer expectations. It is going well so far and I'm really stoked."
In the Under-23 women's race, held in the morning, American champion Kate Courtney (Specialized) took the lead after the start loop and never looked back. Courtney dropped British champion Evie Richards (Trek Factory) on the first lap to win by nearly two minutes. Richards took second, with European champion Sina Frei (JB Brunex Felt) finishing third. Holly Harris, the only Australian entrant, was 45th.