So qualifying was over, and the real crowds began to arrive.
To understand the feeling and the fever at World Champs this year, you need to know a word – “Nino”. And you need to understand what that word sounds like when 24,000 people are chanting it all at once, ringing cowbells, and essentially going berserk.
A culture of speed – Europe has a culture that revolves around speed. In Europe an elite level cyclist walking down the street is mobbed by fans. These athletes are idolized by all, young and old. Their reverence and culture made this year’s World Championship an amazing thing to witness.
Nino Schurter. For those who don’t know, Schurter has been a dominant force in the XC field for years now. He is a six-time World Champion and six-time World Cup overall champion. This World Championship wouldn’t only make Nino a seven-time World Champion, but he would become World Champion in front of his home town crowd.
Nino is from Chur, Switzerland. Chur is only a 25-minute drive from Lenzerheide, so the crowd that showed up to cheer Nino on was staggering. As Nino came around the final corner on his last lap of the elite men’s XC race the roar of his fans was overwhelming.
Nino would claim his seventh World Championship title. While it may not be as exciting as downhill, Schurter is amazing to watch. He is a stunning bike handler and does not hesitate to throw in his signature whip as he clears jumps on the course. Nino is a force of nature and has proven that he can dominate at will.