Val di Sole XCO Race Recap | Presented by SHIMANO

VAL DI SOLE COURSE PREVIEW

A 4.3km long course with 190m of climbing per lap makes Val di Sole a climbers course. Featuring mostly natural terrain, a few technical features and three big and extended climbs per lap this is XCO at it’s best!



ELITE WOMEN’S RACE

In the elite women’s race, riders warmed up in ice vests as temperatures began to soar. Heavy rain earlier in the weekend insured that the track conditions were virtually perfect with enough grip left in the earth without the dreaded arrival of dust clouds. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was in no mood for hanging around and attacked right from the start. She left her rivals in her wake with the closest to her being Jolanda Neff and Jenny Rissveds. At one stage the gap was out to 48 seconds but with two laps to go Neff set off after the leader. With one lap to go the Swiss rider, still seeking her first win of the season, was right on Ferrand-Prevot’s wheel. But Ferrand-Prevot recognised that she needed to be in front at the top of the last descent and fended off an attack to drop into the last descent first. They arrived on to the final straight together and when Neff kicked off the sprint it was Ferrand-Prevot once again who out powered her to the line. The Swede, Jenny Rissveds, held on to secure a superb third place

Competitors perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019//
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot shows her intentions early on as she leads the field up the start straight.
On lap one Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot moved off of the front and set their own blistering pace.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019 // Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Picture perfect FERRAND-PREVOT dropping heels and looking ahead in full attack mode.
Kate Courtney performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
It was a weekend to forget for World Champ Kate Courtney, who, despite leading the race early on, quickly faded through the pack to finish over 5 minutes down in 17th place. Off days happen but the Champ is a fighter…..
Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand Prevot perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Neff leads Ferrand-Prevot through the flowing open sections.
yana Belomoina performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Yana Belomoina was in her element on the long climbs and moved forward all through the race to finish 4th.
Jenny Rissveds and Jolanda Neff perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Neff faded a little in the middle of the race, here she follows a resurgent Jenny Rissveds.
Jenny Rissveds performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Rissveds, the reigning Olympic Champion, stormed through the pack picking riders off one by one to finish a season-best 3rd.
Jolanda Neff performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019 //
Newly crowned European Champion Jolanda Neff drenching herself in an effort to keep the core temperature from rising too high.
Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand Prevot perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Neff’s yoyo ride and a spectacular effort from Ferrand-Prevot kept the fans entertained. It was bar-to-bar stuff for the two former World Champs with a half lap to go.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Ferrand-Prevot threads the needle.
Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand Prevot perform at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Neff challenges for the win.
Ferrand-Prevot was ready for Neff’s kick and had a few extra matches to fire the engine.
An emotional win for Ferrand-Prevot which perhaps signals a full recovery from injury.
Podium from Left to right: Belomoina, Neff, Ferrand-Prevot, Rissveds and Tauber.


RACE RESULTS

  1. Pauline FERRAND-PREVOT (FRA) 1:21:59
  2. Jolanda NEFF (SUI) +0.01
  3. Jenny RISSVEDS (SWE) +1:01
  4. Yana BELOMOINA (UKR) +1:29
  5. Anne TAUBER (NED) +1:56

OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 5

  1. Jolanda NEFF (SUI) 1 415 points
  2. Kate COURTNEY (USA) 1 382
  3. Anne TERPSTRA (NED) 950
  4. Pauline FERRAND-PREVOT (FRA) 940
  5. Anne TAUBER (NED) 805
  6. Sina FREI (SUI) 805
  7. Rebecca Ellen MCCONNELL (AUS) 797
  8. Elisabeth BRANDAU (GER) 754
  9. Yana BELOMOINA (UKR) 744
  10. Haley SMITH (CAN) 641


ELITE MEN’S RACE

Nino Schurter has won more races in the North of Italy than anyone else and started the day undoubtedly amongst the favourites. But the Dutchman Mathieu Van Der Poel had other ideas. The newly-crowned European champion attacked early and by the end of the first few laps was in a group of three with Schurter and Mathias Flueckiger. Schurter let the pair in front of him trade blows and looked as though he may have been keeping his powder dry but when the Dutchman attacked on the first climb of the last lap, the Swiss riders could not keep up. Van Der Poel rode home to his second XCO win of the year and his second of the weekend having already tasted victory in Friday night’s short track XCC race. Flueckiger managed to gap the reigning World Champ to take second place whilst Schurter rode home to third.

Mathieu van der Poel seen at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
A wry smile from Dutch power-house Mathieu van der Poel as he prepares for the start.

Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Mathieu van der Poel sat out front all day with Nino and Avancini.
Nino Schurter performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019 //
Early in the race the lead group of six shared pace setting duties. Here Nino is trailed by Italian National Champ Gerhard Kerschbaumer.
Henrique Avancini performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Henrique Avancini keeps it low through the rock garden as he trails Kerschbaumer.
Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 201
By the middle of the race the lead group was whittled down to Flueckiger, Schurter and van der Poel.
Luca Braidot performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Stephane Tempier follows Luca Braidot and Avancini down into the finish arena.

Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
MvdP boosts out of the rocks as the race begins to heat up.
Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
MvdP put in attack after attack, winding the pace up out of every turn and on every climb.
Matthias Flueckiger performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Matthias Flueckiger had paced hard all race long. His efforts on lap 2 caused a split in the lead group and the Swiss rider kept surging well into the last lap.
Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Van der Poel is on another level. His signature attacks are more a winding up of the pace as opposed to a sudden sprint off the front. On the final lap – nobody could stay with him and he dropped in for the win.

Mathieu van der Poel performs at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Another classy ride and win for MvdP.

Matthias Flueckiger and Mathieu van der Poel
Matthias Flueckiger and Mathieu van der Poel congratulate one another.
Competitors stand on the podium at UCI XCO World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy on August 4th, 2019
Podium from left to right: Avancini, Flueckiger, van der Poel, Schurter and Braidot.


RACE RESULTS

  1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL (NED) 1:20:47
  2. Mathias FLUECKIGER (SUI) +0:18
  3. Nino SCHURTER (SUI) +0:53
  4. Henrique AVANCINI (BRA) +1:46
  5. Luca BRAIDOT (ITA) +2:01


OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 5

  1. Nino SCHURTER (SUI) 1 390 points
  2. Mathieu VAN DER POEL (NED) 1 274
  3. Henrique AVANCINI (BRA) 1 165
  4. Mathias FLUECKIGER (SUI) 1 143
  5. Jordan SARROU (FRA) 813
  6. Gerhard KERSCHBAUMER (ITA) 802
  7. Maxime MAROTTE (FRA) 668
  8. Ondrej CINK (CZE) 630
  9. Jens SCHUERMANS (BEL) 588
  10. Titouan CAROD (FRA) 578


THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

THE GOOD: The parity amongst the sharp end of the women’s field is all time which brings exciting racing. Even on a course with three brutal climbs per lap the race still comes down to a sprint finish. MvdP is just so good. The guy is all class on and off of the bike and has raised the bar (if that was even possible) of Men’s XCO racing.

THE BAD: Series leader Kate Courtney had a bad day and has relinquished the points lead to Neff. Starting from the second row she moved to the front of the race after six minutes but soon began to fade back through the pack to finish 17th, 5:14 down. Kerschbaumer’s front flat towards the end of lap two – the guy was moving forward until that point which cost him at least 20 seconds.

THE UGLY: The hurting that the top three men in the world put each other through was just plain ugly. MvdP, Nino and Flueckiger were sprinting out of turns and attacking each other on most climbs for the entire race. That’s racing – and these guys know how to do it better than any.



FRIDAY’S SHORT TRACK RACE HIGHLIGHTS



NEXT UP: Round 6, Lenzerheide, Switzerland 9 – 11 August


Images: Courtesy Red Bull & UCI. With thanks: Coolheat SA & Shimano



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