Loana Lecomte and Mathias Flueckiger too strong for the rest as they win both their respective XCC and XCO events in Leogang, Austria.
Even though the weather was much improved from last year’s World Championships, the steep, technical descents and savage climbs remained a real test and produced some brilliant racing over the weekend. It is very much a course for the climbers.
France’s Lecomte was already the woman to beat coming into the third round, following dominant performances in the opening two stops, and a win in Friday’s Short Track only added to the hype. She stuck to the wheel of fast-starting world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot before opening a gap on the first full lap and never looking troubled thereafter to win by a comfortable 1m48s and make it three wins from the first three races, the first woman in 15 years to achieve the feat. The final lap was all action in the battle for the podium places, with Austrian Laura Stigger on the attack and dropping Ferrand-Prevot but then being overtaken by fast-finishing Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds. South Africans Candice Lill placed 45th, Cherie Redecker 51st and Mariske Strauss had a DNF.
Women’s XCO result 1. Loana Lecomte FRA 1:17.03 2. Jenny Rissveds SWE +1.48 3. Laura Stigger AUT +1.50 4. Jolanda Neff SUI +2.02 5. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot FRA +2.30
Women’s XCO standings 1. Loana Lecomte FRA 1045 points 2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot FRA 680 3. Haley Batten USA 669 4. Rebecca McConnell AUS 544 5. Linda Indergand SUI 533
The men’s race played out in similar fashion to Friday’s XCO with Flueckiger and Czech rival Ondrej Cink repeating their first and second places after Flueckiger broke clear on the penultimate lap. Behind them, the fight for the podium positions was entertaining with Kiwi Anton Cooper easily ahead of Frenchman Thomas Griot, who held off Romanian Vlad Dascalu in a photo finish for fourth. South African Alan Hatherly was running in the top 6 midway through the race before a mechanical cost him a lot of time and he dropped to 24th.
Men’s XCO result 1. Mathias Flueckiger SUI 1:15.50 2. Ondrej Cink CZE +0.14 3. Anton Cooper NZL +0.45 4. Thomas Griot FRA +1.26 5. Vlad Dascalu ROU +1.27
Men’s XCO standings 1. Mathias Flueckiger SUI 794 points 2. Ondrej Cink CZE 654 3. Victor Koretzky FRA 623 4. Mathieu van der Poel NED 570 5. Anton Cooper NZL 570