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The Rider Side: A quick Q&A with Nino Schurter- World Champion

At 30 years old, Nino Schurter has racked up more career titles than most other professionals have dreamed of. Beginning with a Junior European Champion title in 2004, Schurter has taken numerous National and World Cup victories. Having just won his 5th World Championship, Schurter now ties Julien Absalon with the most WC titles of any rider in the history of the sport. Now on his way to the Rio Summer Olympics on his hunt for gold, we were able to catch up with Nino for a quick 10 questions in between training sessions.

Nino Schurter Congratulations on taking another World Champion title! Watching you during the event, you looked so at ease, how does this victory compare to previous titles you’ve won?
Well, winning a world champion title is a huge achievement even it is the 5th now as an pro rider.
Sure, the very first one in 2009 was more emotional because it came as a surprise. Yet, battling it out with Jaro and Julien makes this one a very special one.

So far, what has been your favorite course to race on?
Yes, this track really suits my riding style and the huge crowd we always see in Nove Mesto makes this race most likely the biggest one of the season. As a world cup and as worlds anyway.

Nino leading at the 2016 XC World Championships Nino leading at the 2016 XC World Championships

How does training for a World Championship in an Olympic year effect your build up process?
It is indeed a difficult task to combine both highlights. My focus is set on the Olympics. Therefore I’m stoked to have this world champion title in the books. For Olympics I have to gear up even more.

From following your Hunt for Glory videos it’s obvious your level of dedication, do you have any guilty pleasures you’ll allow yourself while training?
I’m pretty focused when it comes down to my training. But it’s not like I have to go for every training session full out as it might appear to someone. Having a coffee on a long ride or just having fun on the bike riding with friends have always it’s space. I don’t fell guilty about those things. I never do stuff I feel guilty about.

In looking at your bike set up, you are known for having a very low position on your bike, how do you go about choosing your gear? How much is science versus preference? Do you pick everything that goes on your bike?
Position has to do with my riding style. I can manage a low handlebar position on the descents and it helps me on the steep climbs. A lot of the thing I’m doing on my bike are intuitive. The components are picked carefully and with some components I even have the possibility to tell my sponsors the way I want them. Some of the Ritchey products are made for my needs and after are available to the end consumer as well.

Nino goes as low as possible with a -17 C260 and our flat bar flipped down.

Is there anything superstitious you do with your bike or any lucky piece of anything you have with you when you ride?
No, not I’m into that.

How has your time with Frischi shaped you as a rider and an athlete? Is there one piece of advice he’s shared with you that’s been helpful?
It’s been a good relationship with him for over 13 years now. There is no advice in particular I have to point out but it is great having someone with his know-how giving a second opinion or an expertise on certain things. We are a successful team.

Frischi and Nino visit Tom for a walk down memory lane

Who were the racers and riders you looked up to most in your career?
Even when I was at the beginning of my career I never really had any idols. Sure, I got a poster signed from Frischi and Julien Absalons impressed me not just now but also in my early day. But I was never a fan of someone.

Where do you find inspiration during your rides? What’s driving you to compete as hard as you do?
It’s the racing gene in myself and the will power to work with myself getting better in different aspects. The greatest inspiration and motivation comes by nature itself. What’s better than riding a bike out in the forest is called your job?

Nino Schurter

If Hinault was a badger, and Bettini a cricket, what would your power animal be?
Someone else needs to answer this question. Maybe a Capricorn as this is the animal of my home area.

Thank you for your time and good luck in Rio!

Nino rides our +/- 5 Carbon Flat bar on WCS C260 -25-degree stem with True Grip cockpit, WCS 1-bolt post with WCS Carbon Streem saddle and WCS XC pedals.