July 4th, 2011

Mathias Flueckiger Takes 4th In Mont-Sainte-Anne

After a difficult start to the season, both Mathias and elder brother Lukas are back to where they belong, fighting it out in the top 10 of World Cup racing. Both riders looked extremely comfortable in Saturday's 4th round of the series, until an unfortunate crash robbed Luk of a strong top 10 finish. However, younger brother Mathias moved up steadily to take 4th, his first elite podium since Val di Sole's 5th place last year.

Race winner Jaroslav Kulhavy took the lead from the start and was never challenged over the 6 laps of the 4.6km course. The real interest was in the placings 2 to 10 as this was constantly evolving. Nino Schurter (SUI) went out to attack the lead of Kulhavy, but soon found himself stuck between the leader and the chase group which at one point had 7 riders. Luk and Math were riding together early on in the top 20, but Luk clipped his foot on one of the many trees and had a small crash losing a little time on Math who started his move up through the field.

Soon Math was riding the 2nd half of the race in a group of 4 riders that made up positions 3rd to 6th. In this group was World Champion Jose Hermida, Florian Vogel (SUI) and former Under 23 World Champion Manuel Fumic (GER). Fumic was controlling the pace for a lot of the time until he crashed in the notorious 'La Beatrice' descent and never looked comfortable after that, and ultimately succumbed to a rear puncture. On the last lap Hermida made a break, and Mathias was unable to get around Vogel at this time to follow Hermida. By the time he could pass Vogel, Hermida was well away but Math rode on strongly to leave Vogel behind and take a great 4th place.

Meanwhile, riding in 9th place Luk had a big fall on 'La Beatrice'. A slight overbalance sent him plummeting down the steep rocky slope, tumbling a couple of times and hitting his ribs hard. He did recover, but was back in 20th place by the time he got his rhythm back, fighting on strongly to finish 17th.

Math said: "Today I felt really good on the Top Fuel. I just went out to ride and enjoy the race as much as I could. I was with Luk for a while and then he had a small crash so I started to move up through the field and had a good battle with those three guys for 3rd. Vogel was in my way when Hermida went off….I really wish I could have challenged him for 3rd, but at least I know my legs feel super and I'm excited about next week".

Luk said: "Today I see I have the legs and speed back again. The crashes were not great, but my overall top 10 performance is there and I know I could have gone with Math. One of the riders I dropped in the race, Geoff Kabush, he ended up 7th in the end, so I feel I was ahead of that until I crashed. That was a tough crash, and so many guys crashed with me there. It's hard to get up from that and keep fighting on, but I'm glad I did. It's all good for next week."

Results for World Cup XC #4 are here:

Next week sees World Cup XC #5 in Windham, USA.

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