Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) ahead of Julien Absalon (BMC Racing), 2016 UCI World Cup, Albstadt, Germany.
  • Aaron McNany

    Haha this is hilarious–I hope Peter Sagan beats them both.

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    • Andrew O’Neill

      Both Shurter and Absalon could get a flat on each lap of the race and still finish ahead of Sagan.

      Sagan is without question, the best in the world on the road this year, but he has more chance of winning the men’s marathon than he does the XCO. He will be starting at the back and after 5 mins of racing he’ll be over 30 seconds behind the leaders thanks to field spread. As good as Sagan is, it’s just not possible to come from the back and finish anywhere near the front in XCO.

      Have a look at Matthieu van der Poel’s World Cup results this year. He dominated the CX World Cup Series last season (except for World Champs), but I think his best finish is in the 30’s? After starting around 60th? Amazing result considering, but nowhere near the lead guys who started in the first two rows.

      Don’t even get me started on the Lami being left out. The guy’s ranked 32 in the world and it’s HIS UCI points that earned the Olympic place for Slovakia. It’s pretty disgusting that he’s being left out for someone that has less of a chance of a medal and more importantly, didn’t earn it.

      Imagine if you’d dedicated your life to MTB – had risen to number 32 in the world – spent your own money travelling around Europe to earn UCI points so that – 1. Your country has a place in the Olympic XCO and 2. Because it’s been your lifelong dream to represent your country at the Olympics. But wait, no, sorry, thanks for earning the place for Slovakia, we really appreciate it, but we’re putting this other guy in instead, bugger your dreams. Bullsh#t.

      • david__g

        It’s the biggest f*** you to Lami imaginable.

      • jules

        well said.

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    I get the distinct impression that if he medals (or even does well–say, top 10) there are plenty of people in the mountain bike scene who won’t be very about it.

    • Il_falcone

      Right, they would not be happy. But it won’t happen, so they can stay very relaxed with regards to that. Sagan won’t even make the top ten. No one can who does not regularly compete in that kind of events. The different cycling disciplines have become so specialized in recent years, even the best cyclocrossers of the world (like Sven Nys or Matthieu van der Poel) don’t have the slightest chance to compete for a medal in MTB XC. And vice versa.

  • Jack R

    Would love to see Sagan take gold, but there is some logic in what Schurter and Fontana say in regard to rhythm, intensity and the importance of start grid position. Clearly there’s a big difference between a 1.5 hour XC race and a 5 hour TdF stage. Chasing from the back of the pack for half the race burns a lot of matches that would be needed to contain guys like Schurter and Absalon at the finish. Would be pretty spectacular race if Sagan managed to podium.

  • Neil

    I think Schurter and Absalon are right: which shows how unbelievably good Ferrand-Prevot and Marianne Vos are.

    • Dave

      And also the lack of depth in women’s cycling these days, after the glory days of 15-20 years ago.

      • Ronin

        I don’t believe you’re permitted to say that. Check your privilege.

        And, I’m shocked by Neil Rogers even suggesting that Sagan might be the greatest cyclist of all time. Anyone who’s not a racist and a misogynist–intersectionality tells us they are the same thing–knows that Marianne Vos is the greatest cyclist of all time.

        • Neal Rogers

          My words: “one of the best cyclists in the world — perhaps ever.” “One of” being the operative. Of course Marianne Vos belongs on that list. Regardless, Sagan is 3 years younger than Vos. He still has a lot to accomplish. It’s clearly problematic to compare accomplishments at the elite men’s level with the elite women’s level; it’s apples to oranges. But what’s even more problematic is that anyone would so quickly get to the point of using labels like “racist” and “misogynist” over a sentence that praises Sagan’s phenomenal skills.

          • H.E. Pennypacker

            Maddening stupid comment from Ronin, but don’t take it too hard. Anyone who drops “intersectionality” in an online comment can pretty much be disregarded out of hand.

          • Ronin

            Well, are you then in the habit of comparing apples to oranges? Usually that trope is employed to indicate the pointlessness of the comparison. Yet, you just made it. “Marianne Vos belongs on that list”. I’m confused now.

        • Neil

          Made some massive leaps there. To call out someone as racist because you disagreed with a statement they didn’t make that had nothing to do with race is pretty huge.

        • Neil

          I’d also be interested in your logic regarding Dave’s comment.
          I don’t always agree with what he says, but I thought his comment wasn’t that controversial really.

          • Dave

            Guys, I’m pretty sure Ronin simply had the sarcasm turned up to 11.

            As for Marianne Vos, she is definitely one of the most outstanding female cyclists ever. Winning world championships in four disciplines is a great feat no matter how good the opposition was..

            However, you can believe Vos is outstanding while simultaneously acknowledging that the depth is not there. Notice the ease with which Olympic year part-timers like Armstrong and Pooley have slotted back in again – not a good sign for the health of the sport.

            The test will be whether those riders who have made big breakthrough performances while Vos was on the sidelines (thinking of Jolien d’Hoore, Lizzie Armitstead, Anna van der Breggen and also Pauline Ferrand-Prevot to an extent) will keep on winning the big races now Vos is back.

            • Rudyard Josef Lim Ganuelas

              Teehee. There was space for that on the men’s side. Coincidentally, also named Armstrong. Third in the comeback Tour sounds pretty good. Feel free to sling the doped to the gills argument as it is warranted, but there it is, a 4 year hiatus from top level successful on the men’s.

              • Dave

                That’s not comparable, LA had a complete racing program and wasn’t walking straight off the bench into selection for a pinnacle race.

                Even if it was comparable, the very fact that LA did it will be a factor in there being less space for it these days.

        • Marky

          My idea of the greatest cyclist would need to be someone who is up there on the fitness side (track/road race etc) and could be up there on a EWS or a dh world cup.

  • Tristan Brown

    Yeah, no chance for Sagan, in my opinion. It is pretty cool to have him in the race, and I hope it draws more people to the sport. However, the top guys in XCO shouldn’t have much to worry about, especially if he starts near the back.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    These fellows are not showing much in the way of Olympic spirit with these comments, especially when the Olympics is pretty much the only time great numbers of people worldwide will pay any attention at all to MTB cross country racing compared to UCI World Tour events. They don’t seem to understand the importance of taking part in the world’s largest (sporting) peace festival, whether you win a medal or not. Have fun, Mr. Sagan!

    • I read the quotes as answers to a question. Something like “How do you think Peter Sagan will go at the Olympics”. To me those answers where nothing to do with spirit, and completely appropriate. And for a lot of athletes the games are very important. Not just about turning up to the event with a smile.

      And Sagan’s wildcard into the event at the expense of a guy ranked more than 800 places above him? Very weird decision.

      • Dave

        Sagan was selected, not given a wildcard.

        It’s a legit selection decision, picking a former MTB World Champion at junior level over a journeyman whose last year includes only one result inside the top 40 positions at a World Cup race.

        • Andrew O’Neill

          Hi Dave,

          I disagree that it’s a legitimate selection decision – for lots of reasons – but I’ll give you the most important one: Not every country has a place in the Olympic XCO. These places are earned with UCI points and countries ranked 14-23 only get 1 place.

          In the case of Slovakia, Lami earned over half of the countries total points. Lami’s own personal performances are the only reason Slovakia have a place in the Olympic XCO. He earned the points and he earned the Slovakia’s place – that’s why it’s incredibly unfair that he’s been left out.

          • Dave

            I disagree with your ‘most important’ reason.

            The simple fact is that the positions are allocated to the NOC, not directly to the riders as this is not an event like the 100 metres where there is a qualifying time to beat.

            The selectors can enter whoever they think is best for the event. In this case, the Slovakian selectors have made the judgement that they believe a former junior XC World Champion is likely to do better than a journeyman who does a good job of accumulating points in lower-ranked races but struggles to get inside the top 50 in a world-class race against the big boys.

            • Andrew O’Neill

              Fair enough – I think we’ll have to agree to disagree Dave.

              Ok, so you reckon Sagan will do better, but even so, do you think it’s fair to Lami? Put yourself in his shoes…

              Back to Sagan, the only XC form we have on Sagan was the Czech Cup race he did in April and finished 4th. The top three were:
              1. Jan Skarnitzl – Ranked 27th
              2. Ruben Scheire – Ranked 73rd
              3. Jiri Novak – Ranked 91st

              Elite guys, sure, but hardly in the class of Shurter, Absalon & Kulhavy.

            • Marky

              Maybe the problem is that the selectors tend to be old roadies…?

  • Deryck Walker

    Sorry if its been raised before, but additional to the flag button, can CT please look at including a spam flag button or similar so as a community we can get this rubbish spam comments removed. I have been flagging the posts but they dont seem to go away even after flagged, so maybe that indicates there is either a minimum “flag quota” before its taken down, or it needs to be manual reviewed by CT. If you have a separate button for spam posts (no different to email etc) it might help weed it out.

    • Neal Rogers


  • Mark Blackwell

    I for one can’t wait to watch the race… Absalon et al make a good point about starting grid position, but I think they are mightily unwise (or just plain arrogant) to dismiss him so completely. Sagan is just so talented… he won the Tour of California for chrissake, which includes a TT and several decent climbs.

    I doubt that he’ll win, but he’ll be a long way from last, which means he’ll be ripping through the field and at some point will look like a chance. His inclusion is great for the event and will give us line of sight on the comparison between the disciplines, which I’m looking forward to seeing.

    • Dave

      Schurter will be feeling the pinch, as his somewhat mediocre guest stint on the road with OGE in 2014 will serve as another data point. It’s interesting to note that the experiment was not repeated by IAM Cycling in 2015 or 2016, despite also sharing the same bike sponsor which arranged Schurter’s OGE rides and being the Swiss-registered road team.

      I disagree with people who dismiss Sagan’s selection as being totally without merit. The results of Lami are certainly nothing to write home about (World Cup results of 51, 47, 30, 57, 50, 80) while Sagan’s palmares includes the XCO World Championship at junior level, so it’s hardly like they are dumping a contender for a decent placing to hand over the spot to a no hoper.

      • Neal Rogers

        It’s a fair point. Along with a lack of “XC race rhythm,” the biggest obstacle Sagan will face is start position. Lami would have had better start position, but with only 50 start positions, it won’t make as much difference as it would in a World Cup, where there are ~150 starters.

        • bike-aholic

          If there is a decent length start loop and only 50 starters then starting position shouldn’t be that much of an issue. I think lack of race intensity will be the limiting factor. I predict top 20.

  • gmop

    Being overly confident about ones chances against any particular racer is Step 1 to blowing-up your own race.

    • jules

      it’s a big ask to come from the back of the bunch in an MTB XC Olympic distance race. it’s single track so you’ve got to pick your way past every rider. by that time the leaders have ridden off into the distance.

      I’ve heard he’s hired Australia’s own CJ as his coach for moving through the field

  • bigdo

    They just sittin back hatin on the man for no reason.. and they wanna see him fail… I hope he medals on their asses.

  • winkybiker

    Watching XC mountainbike racing is a little like watching paint dry. Sagan’s presence will bring some interest for many (including me). I’ll be cheering for him as he makes his way up through the field. Schurter and Absalon are likely right about his chances, but part of me hopes they’re wrong. I’m not sure why they came out with those pronouncements. Let their racing tell the story.

    • david__g

      Probably because they were asked and they were polite enough to not tell the reporter to f*** off?

      • winkybiker

        Schurter said plenty of nice things. He didn’t need to say this….”I don’t think he will have anything to do with the outcome of the race.”

        • david__g

          He was probably asked “Do you think he will have any effect on the outcome?”

          These guys will cream Sagan. They’re actually being pretty reserved in their responses.

          • winkybiker

            I still hope you’re wrong.

          • Dustin D.

            Agree that the top 10 is pretty much going to be a challenge for Peter, but could be an awesome achievement. However, I did see a GoPro preview of the course…. What a joke and it is not typical of a uci course. The course lanes are as wide as a cx course and there doesn’t really seem to be anything overly technical. It almost seems as if they built this course to suit Peter’s strengths.

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