After more than a year, Mathias Flückiger is back on top of the World Cup podium! In the fifth World Cup race of the season in Andorra, the Swiss champion takes his tenth World Cup victory overall. Alessandra Keller climbs to the second place on the podium and with her impressive performance ensures the second best career result at an XCO World Cup. With Lars Forster (6th), Luke Wiedmann (8th) and Vital Albin (10th), Thömus maxon achieved a fantastic team result.
Right from the start it was obvious that Mathias Flückiger was extremely motivated and self-confident going into the race. Already in the second lap he took the lead and extended his advantage lap by lap. Until, two laps before the end, the Frenchman Thomas Griot was able to make up more and more ground and got as close as ten seconds to Flückiger one lap before the end.
“Winning again feels great”.
Flückiger had to fight hard for victory: “My goal today was to go as hard as I could to the limit. I think I managed to do that. I am glad that I was able to handle it well when Griot put a lot of pressure on me. I just concentrated on myself”, Flückiger analysed totally exhausted at the finish and added: “A little more than a year ago I won my last World Cup race here in Andorra, in Short Track. After that I got Covid and what happened afterwards, everybody knows. It just feels good to be back, just to be able to race. Winning a World Cup is just great,” said Flückiger, letting his emotions run free.
Second best XCO World Cup result for Keller
In the women’s race, Alessandra Keller started well and was able to pull away from the leader Pauline Ferrand-Prévot before the race was halfway through. But then Mona Mitterwallner came from behind, who caught up with Alessandra Keller in the second-last session and ultimately left the woman from Nidwald no chance in the fight for victory. Although it was not enough for the second victory within 48 hours, Alessandra Keller was satisfied at the finish: “I am very proud to be first and second here in Andorra. Today I was close to winning, but at the end I was extremely cold and Mona was a bit stronger than me in the last two laps.” Second place was Alessandra Keller’s second best career result in an XCO World Cup.
All riders in the top 10
Not only the performances of Mathias Flückiger and Alessandra Keller were outstanding, but also the performance of the whole team Thömus maxon. Lars Forster worked his way up from a place outside the top 15 position by position and in the end missed the podium in sixth place by only six seconds. Vital Albin was very active and present in the chasing group behind Flückiger for a long time. Albin managed to keep up his pace over all seven laps and finished in a strong tenth place. Already in the morning, U23 rider Luke Wiedmann competed in his race and also finished in the top 10 in eighth place.
Team manager Ralph Näf was overwhelmed: “This is probably the best World Cup weekend in the team’s history. All five riders in the top 10 – madness!”