Flückiger at the top again – Keller a great runner-up

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!”

Results XCO Andorra

Keller starts the World Cup weekend with victory

After an animated women’s race, a no less exciting men’s race took place. While Alessandra Keller was able to take a victory, the race was half a lap too long for Mathias Flückiger to make it onto the podium.

Alessandra Keller rode at the top of the field in the high altitude of Andorra from the beginning and controlled the events. She got rid of most of her opponents on the home straight of the second last lap. Only Evie Richards from Great Britain was able to follow the dry attack of the rider from Nidwalden and finished second behind the brilliant Thömus maxon rider. The young Dutchwoman, Puck Pieterse secured third place. At the finish, Keller admitted that all the pieces of the puzzle had fitted today. “Every weekend you have two chances and if you can already win on Friday, then everything is actually already perfect.” With this victory, she took the lead in the overall XCC standings.

Flückiger’s efforts not fully rewarded

In the men’s race, two riders from Thömus maxon were on the front row of the grid. While Lars Forster was not able to compete for the top positions until the end, Mathias Flückiger was one of the animators of the XCC race in Andorra. Several times he tried to distance himself from the competition with short attacks. In the end, he had to pay tribute to his efforts and let his competitors go in the second half of the last lap. Nevertheless, he was able to secure a good fifth place. The race was won by Schwarzbauer (DE), ahead of Schurter and Sarrou (FR). The other riders from Thömus maxon placed eleventh (Forster) and 23rd (Albin).

Wiedmann already in action on Thursday

As always, the short track races of the U23 categories already took place on Thursday. Luke Wiedmann was able to place himself in a solid fourth place.

Results XCC Andorra

Lars Forster joins Thömus maxon

The two-time European MTB champion Lars Forster joins the team Thömus maxon. Forster will make his debut in the red colors of the Swiss mountain bike team already on 2. January 2023, at the final of the Swiss Cyclocross Cup in Meilen. Thömus maxon also presents ASSOS, a new clothing partner.

Team Thömus maxon enters the 2023 season even stronger and even more broadly positioned. With the signing of 29-year-old Lars Forster, team boss Ralph Näf’s squad will be competing with three riders in the elite men’s category for the first time. Mathias Flückiger and Vital Albin will have a third strong man at their side: “We are very pleased to have signed Lars Forster. Despite his two European Championship titles, his World Cup victory in Snowshoe in 2019 and other international victories, Lars still has great untapped potential. In addition, he also fits very well into the team on a personal level,” says Ralph Näf, explaining the reasons for signing Lars Forster.

Forster: “The decisive factor was trust”.

Lars Forster, on the other hand, is very much looking forward to the new collaboration with Thömus maxon: “The decisive factor for me was that Ralph and the team have placed their trust in me and believe in me. That gives me great confidence. What’s more, Thömus maxon has everything it takes to be successful: a professional environment, a super team spirit and great equipment.”

The goals for Thömus maxon are clear, as Ralph Näf looks ahead: “We want to win World Cup races, national and international titles this season and be one of the world’s best mountain bike teams!” These objectives also match those of Forster. The newcomer wants to be in top shape already at the start of the season and the first World Cups. Forster’s biggest goal for the season is the World Championships in August in Glasgow, Scotland, the same place where he won his first European title in 2018.

ASSOS new clothing partner

There is also a new addition to report in the area of partners. The team is now dressed by the traditional Swiss brand ASSOS. This makes Thömus maxon even more “Swiss”. The motivation is extremely high to ride into the international spotlight with the high quality ASSOS products. The new jersey is still based on the color red from the main sponsor Thömus and convinces with its simple, classic and yet very eye-catching design.

Cross-country cycling as the start of the season

As in previous years, the season will be launched with two cross-country cycling events. Alessandra Keller, Vital Albin, Luke Wiedmann and Lars Forster will perform on Monday, 2. January 2023, at the Radquer Meilen. This is also the final of the Swiss Cyclocross Cup. Barely two weeks later, the Swiss Championships in Mettmenstetten (January 15) are on the agenda. After that, the focus will be on preparing for the MTB season.

Lars Forster in a nutshell:

Date of birth: 1. August 1993

Height/weight: 177 cm, 68 kg

Greatest achievements:

European champion 2018 and 2021

World Cup victory Snowshoe (USA) 2019

Cape Epic overall victory 2019

Swiss champion cyclo-cross 2016, 2018, 2020

The world number 1 Alessandra Keller stays with Thömus maxon

Alessandra Keller from Nidwalden and the Swiss mountain bike team Thömus maxon have extended their cooperation for another two years, until 2024. This means that the double overall World Cup winner, Swiss champion and current world number 1 will be entering her eighth season in the team structure of the current Thömus maxon team next season.

The collaboration between Alessandra Keller and Ralph Näf began in 2016. After three difficult years marked by injuries, the absolute breakthrough to the top of the world followed this season. This is precisely why the 26-year-old Keller has decided to continue wearing the color red from Thömus maxon: “For me, consistency was the deciding factor. The consistency of working with a team and people who know exactly what I need. The team represents values and a philosophy that suit me. We have developed and professionalized a lot together in recent years, and I feel very comfortable at Thömus maxon,” says Alessandra Keller, summarizing her reasons for extending her contract.

Team owner Ralph Näf is also pleased that the shared history will continue to be written: “I am very happy about this contract extension. Alessandra is a very important person for our team, both as an athlete and as a person. For us as a pure Swiss team, with Swiss sponsors and partners, Swiss athletes, Swiss staff members, it’s great that we can attack next season strengthened in the international mountain bike circus.” The objectives for Alessandra Keller and her team are clear: “I want to continue to establish myself among the absolute world leaders and thus also win international titles.”

For Alessandra Keller, the current season is not over yet. Next Sunday she will compete in the final race of the Proffix Swiss Bike Cup in Gstaad. After that, the three-day road tour Tour de Romandie Féminin, from 7. to 9. October, on the program.

Concentrated female power!

Monique Halter, the only 18-year-old from Appenzell in the Thömus Akros Younstars team has won just about everything there is to win this season. Swiss Championships (both in cyclo-cross and cross country), European Championships, World Championships. She is also currently leading the overall World Cup.

Alessandra Keller from Thömus maxon Swiss Mountain Bike Racing has finally established herself at the top of the world this year. After bad luck with injuries in the last few years, the athlete from Nidwalden secured the double at the end of the season: the overall victory in both the short track and the Olympic cross country distance after the Swiss championship title, World Championship silver in the short track and the first World Cup victory.

Sensational overall World Cup victory by Alessandra Keller

At the World Cup final in Val di Sole (Ita) Alessandra Keller (Thömus maxon) sensationally secures the victory in the overall MTB World Cup ranking with a sixth place! This means that the 26-year-old from Nidwalden has won the double together with the discipline ranking in short track, which she had already won on Friday! Keller is only the third Swiss woman to win the overall World Cup, along with Barbara Blatter and Jolanda Neff. In the men’s race, Vital Albin achieved another brilliant result at the end of the season with 9th place!

Interview with Alessandra Keller on SRF

Results XCO World Cup Val di Sole (Ita)