Sidi Athletes Schurter and Absalon take first and third in first 2016 UCI XCO World Cup stage in Cairns

The UCI XCO World Cup kicked off this past weekend at Smithfield MTB Park, north of Cairns in Queensland, Australia – and Sidi had plenty to celebrate with multiple world champions Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon taking gold and bronze.

With no Aussie leg to the UCI XCO World Cup tour in 2015, there was a buzz about this year's Cairns opener, especially ahead of the venue's World Championship status in 2017. There was also plenty of excitement about the resumption of the all-Sidi dual between reigning world champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland and fellow multiple world champ Julien Absalon of France.

The Frenchman was looking to put a dent in the Swiss athlete's three straight wins at the end of 2015, but a slow rear flat change on the very first 4.3km lap seemed to decide each rider's fate. At the front, Schurter cruised with the opposition while Absalon tore up the course in pursuit, managing to get back into third with one lap to go.

Despite charging around the course, Absalon couldn't catch his Sidi stablemate, who on hearing of the Frenchman gaining positions behind him, attacked to secure victory ahead of France's Maxime Marotte.

The results put Sidi's top-end Drako Carbon SRS mountain bike shoes on the top and third steps of the podium – and we can expect more podiums, including golds and silvers, as the pair go head to head again during the series. The next XCO World Cup stage will take place in Albstad, Germany on 21-22 May.

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