The 2019 e-mountain bike World Champion made her first race count
Nathalie Schneitter was anxious for her first race since the World Championships last October. She didn’t need to worry.
This past weekend, the 2019 e-bike World Champion won her first E-bike World Series start of the year, beating Mélanie Pugin by 15-plus minutes on Saturday during the first of two races in Bologna.
“It was my first race of the season and I really didn’t know where I was at because my last race was in October, and last year obviously we didn’t race much,” Schneitter said after the race. “I knew that my race rhythm was not there yet, but I just wanted to see how my form is, and also learn a bit more about what I have to work on.”
Schneitter profited when Pugin’s chain broke on the final lap. Pugin finished the race by walking across the line.
“I was for sure not the stronger rider, but maybe a little bit the smarter rider because I know that broken chains happen very often in e-bike racing, and that shifting well is key,” Schneitter said.
Pugin would end the weekend much better than she started it, beating Schneitter by 52 seconds in the second race of the weekend on Sunday.
“I tried everything to beat her,” Schneitter said. “I really tried to get rid of her on the first hill, which was a really long one, but then she closed the gap again on the downhill because she is one of the best enduro riders in the world.”
Still, Schneitter is happy with her performance. She went into the weekend hoping to gain a good understanding of her form and the foundation she has to build on for the rest of the season. She and Pugin are sure to face off again — Bologna was just the second of five rounds in the World E-bike Series — and their duels should make for great viewing.
“I’m super confident to build on this,” Schneitter said. “I didn’t make a lot of mistakes on the second race day. [Pugin] beat me by 50-55 seconds, and for sure I learned a lot about where to get better and how to hopefully beat her in the future. But I’m very happy with how the weekend went.”