the Swiss selection is debated

Marcel Guerrini (left) will not participate in the Paris Games, unlike Mathias Flückiger (right).Image: keystone/chm

The selection of riders for the Paris Olympics provoked the anger of the two failed mountain bikers. “We never had our chance!”

Raphael Gutzwiller

It was a decision that was likely to spark controversy, and there was no shortage of it. Nino Schurter and Mathias Flückiger are the two Swiss male mountain bikers who have been selected for the Paris Olympics. Despite top results, Marcel Guerrini and Filippo Colombo will have to stay at home this summer.

The latest results in the World Cup, including Sunday’s race in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic, nevertheless pleaded in favor of the two Swiss failures. During this race, Olympic champion Tom Pidcock won ahead of Schurter and Guerrini. Flückiger only finished 6th. Colombo was certainly left behind after a puncture during this race, but he stood out for his good results this spring. In April, in Brazil, he finished 2nd.

Mathias Flückiger is thus the only high-level Swiss runner who has not yet been on the podium in any World Cup race this year.

Enough to make a few teeth grind, starting with those of the losers of the Olympic selection. “Filippo and I never had a chance, castigated Marcel Guerrini to the attention of the Federation. What is disturbing is not necessarily that I cannot participate in the Olympic Games. What bothers me more is that even if I had won the World Cup race in Czechia, it would not have played a role. If the results are not decisive, the selection could have been made two years ago.

Marcel Guerrini in action.Keystone

Swiss Cycling said in a statement that “it was ultimately the experience acquired during, and during major events, which tipped the scales. Mathias Flückiger has proven, both at the Worlds and at the Olympics, that he is capable, on the big day, of using his abilities and winning a medal.

Guerrini finds this argument null and void. “If I can hardly take part in large events, it makes sense that I have little experience to show off”. In addition, Sunday’s World Cup race in Nove Mesto was a big day, he added. “We Swiss were all very nervous. Finally, I delivered the goods by finishing 3rd and I showed that I was part of the world elite.”

In recent months, he has achieved three World Cup podiums, which allowed him to meet the qualifying criteria for the Olympic Games. He also achieved a 5th place at the 2022 World Championships. Flückiger’s last best result at a major event dates back to the 2021 Olympic Games, where he won silver.

Filippo Colombo also had a good chance of getting a ticket to the Olympic Games. No wonder: the Ticino man fought to come back after his broken elbow and expressed his ambitions by obtaining good results. His non-selection is a very unpleasant surprise. “I didn’t expect this decision. Everyone around me, and even within the World Cup circuit, most people expected something else.” In his case, it was argued that the 2024 races were not the only ones to have been decisive for the selection.

With Schurter and Flückiger, two personalities who caused a scandal in 2022 during the World Cup in Lenzerheide will take the start in Paris. At the time, Flückiger had wanted to overtake Schurter. He had taken too many risks, both had fallen and then publicly accused each other.

The whole story can be read here ⬇️

Today, together they form the Swiss Olympic men’s mountain bike delegation. And too bad for team spirit. “Any other combination would have worked better as a team,” asserts Guerrini, bitterly.

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