Mountain Bike

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Olympic cycling champion faces army reprimand for bare-bottom White House photo

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic cycling champion Nino Schurter faces being reprimanded by the Swiss Army after posting a photo on social media showing his bare bottom with the White House in the background.

The army confirmed details reported in Swiss media that the 33-year-old mountain biker faces a possible warning from his senior officers over the incident this month, though any disciplinary action will not be announced.

The Rio gold medalist and record eight-time world champion is supported in his career by Switzerland’s military.

Schurter was on service duty between races in the United States two weeks ago when he posted a photo on Instagram with three team colleagues all dropping their pants while facing the White House.

The photo, since deleted but viewable here, was tagged to President Donald Trump and included the message “white (peach emoji) for the White House.”

The Swiss Army says it did not want to make a scandal of the incident, and Schurter had apologized to his commanding officer. He told Swiss media taking the photo had been spontaneous and he loved being in the U.S.

Schurter is the current Swiss sportsman of the year, beating tennis great Roger Federer into second place in December in a public vote.

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Nino Schurter, with 8th world title, pads claim to greatest mountain biker in history

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MONT-SAINTE-ANNE, Quebec – Tack one more title onto Nino Schurter’s already cluttered resume.

The Swiss mountain biker and reigning Olympic gold medalist won his eighth world title and fifth straight Saturday afternoon. His 10th world medal also broke a tie for the career record with recently retired mountain biking great Julien Absalon.

Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, who likely would have challenged Schurter for the world title, skipped the event amid a busy racing schedule across multiple disciplines.

Schurter called it “an amazing victory” and said, “I worked hard this year towards that goal and it’s important toward next year. I know I’m still [on] top and I can battle for the gold in Tokyo.”

The 33-year-old has an Olympic medal of every color: he won a surprising bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games as a 22-year-old, then a silver in London before completing the collection in 2016 with gold in Rio.

Schurter noted earlier this week that records within reach continue to motivate him. In addition to passing former rival Absalon’s world medals total this week, he’s one World Cup win shy of Absalon’s 33 victories.

If he makes the podium in Tokyo, he’ll become the first mountain biker to win four Olympic medals (Germany’s Sabine Spitz, who plans to retire at the end of the season, also has three).

Still, Schurter said he’s driven primarily by joy.

“I still love to race and compete, and I think that’s the most important thing, that you enjoy what you do,” he said. “On one side, it’s nice to have all those records, but on the other side, every race [is] actually enough.”

Motivation has never been an issue for Schurter. He’s careful to avoid burnout, strategically mapping out a season-long schedule that might mean fewer races than his competitors. He also spends a few weeks without his bike at the end of each season to vacation with family, though he admits his rest time isn’t spent lazily.

“After three or four days, I’m thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll go for a run,’” he said.

He’s also enjoyed passing the sport on to his daughter, Lisa, who turns 4 in October.

Schurter introduced her to cycling by adding a small seat to his bike frame so she could hold the handlebars. Now, she rides on her own and is learning how to climb from an overly qualified instructor: Schurter attaches a rope to the back of his bike to tow her uphill before they ride down together.

While a few records remain on his radar, Schurter is content with what he’s already accomplished. That means less pressure and more time to enjoy the ride.

“All those goals I really wanted to achieve, I actually achieved,” he said. “So what’s coming is now just extra.”

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Kate Courtney ends U.S. drought at mountain bike worlds

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Kate Courtney, the youngest mountain biker in the 67-rider cross-country field at the world championships, became the first American to win a world title since Alison Dunlop in 1991.

“Kate has arrived and represents a new generation of American mountain bikers,” Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Cycling Vice President of Elite Athletics, said in a press release.

Courtney, 22 and in her senior worlds debut, passed 2016 World champion Annika Langvad of Denmark on the seventh and final lap in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and won by 47 seconds in 1:34:55.

In March, Courtney and Langvad teamed to win the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, a brutal eight-day, 400-mile stage race with more than eight miles of climbing.

“Racing in the national team kit in front of a spectacular Swiss crowd and, most importantly, in front of my friends and family, made this moment really magical,” Courtney said, according to USA Cycling. “To come away with a gold medal and the rainbow stripes for Team USA and Specialized [her bike sponsor] was beyond my wildest dreams.”

The U.S. used to dominate mountain biking, sweeping the men’s and women’s golds at the first two UCI-sanctioned world championships in 1990 and 1991, but has not fared as well since it joined the Olympic program in 1996.

Its best finishes were bronze medals for Susan DeMattei in 1996 and Georgia Gould in 2012.

Courtney has been mountain biking since age 6, sharing the back of a tandem bike with her dad to get pancakes on Sunday mornings.

She competed for the U.S. national team while in high school in California and turned professional, signing with Specialized, after two years at Stanford. She graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in human biology.

Courtney earned the 2017 World U23 silver medal and has also picked up 122,000 Instagram followers.

Swiss Nino Schurter won the men’s race Saturday for his seventh world title and fourth in a row, adding to his Rio Olympic gold.

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