The dry, dusty Les Gets XC track is more physically challenging than technically demanding. The course suits the strong powerful climbers as opposed to a pure climbing specialist.
ELITE WOMEN’S RACE
Jolanda Neff and Kate Courtney lead the pack off the start line and up the first climb with Pauline Prevot right behind them. Further down the field Jenny Rissveds who started from row nine began moving through the field and by lap two had made it through to the front of the race. With gaps starting to open between the riders Neff who evidently went through a rough patch at the end of lap one began clawing her way forward from 10th position and almost a minute down. By lap five Neff put the hammer down and moved forward of the first bunch to pursuit the charging Kate Courtney. A committed and determined effort from Neff was not enough to close down the gap to Kate who dominated the race and clinched the win. Neff crossed the line 34 seconds down on Courtney with the German Elisabeth Brandau earning a career-best 3rd place.
Kate COURTNEY (USA) 1:26:29
Jolanda NEFF (SUI) +0:33
Elisabeth BRANDAU (GER) +1:05
Sina FREI (SUI) +1:15
Pauline FERRAND PREVOT (FRA) +1:32
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 4
Kate COURTNEY (USA) – 1 265 points
Jolanda NEFF (SUI) – 1 090
Anne TERPSTRA (NED) – 815
Elisabeth BRANDAU (GER) – 625
Sina FREI (SUI) – 615
Anne TAUBER (NED) – 610
Pauline FERRAND PREVOT (FRA) – 610
Rebecca Ellen MCCONNELL (AUS) – 602
Yana BELOMOINA (UKR) – 594
Haley SMITH (CAN) – 553
ELITE MEN’S RACE
After the usual start line elbowing and jostling for position, eight riders quickly moved clear from the pack. Avancini, Schurter, Koretzky, Cink, Tempier, Carod, Sarrou and Litscher rode clear and splintered the chasing field. On lap two Avancini washed out and briefly held up Schurter before the two got moving again. At this stage Van der Poel was starting to fade and slowly move backwards through the field whilst the Canadian Disera and Kerschbaumer were moving forward. On lap five Avancini was leading until Cink put in an attack and Schurter followed – with what appeared to be a confidence–inspiring level of ease. Flueckiger wasn’t able to close any gaps or move forward, but was sitting inside the top ten whilst upfront Kerschbaumer was having a go and taunting the World Champ Schurter. Onto the last lap and with a slow wind up of pace on one of the last climbs Nino rode Kerschbaumer off of his wheel and out of contention for the race. Nino paced the last few minutes out and rode solo to take his second win of the season and a career 32nd World Cup win.
Nino SCHURTER (SUI) 1:22:10
Gerhard KERSCHBAUMER (ITA) +0:04
Henrique AVANCINI (BRA) +0:38
Stephane TEMPIER (FRA) +0.48
Ondrej CINK (CZE) +0:48
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 4
Nino SCHURTER (SUI) – 1 160 points
Henrique AVANCINI (BRA) – 915
Mathieu VAN DER POEL (NED) – 899
Mathias FLUECKIGER (SUI) – 883
Jordan SARROU (FRA) – 698
Gerhard KERSCHBAUMER (ITA) – 673
Maxime MAROTTE (FRA) – 650
Ondrej CINK (CZE) – 555
Titouan CAROD (FRA) – 485
Peter DISERA (CAN) – 471
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
THE GOOD: Kate Courtney bounced back from a tough round in Andorra to dominate the race in Les Gets. Nino Schurter taking his 32nd World Cup win.
THE BAD: Avancini burns one too many matches in the first 70% of the race and just doesn’t have the power in the end. A win for the Brazilian is coming though. The rough patch Jolanda Neff has towards the middle and end of the first lap happened again this weekend. MvdP and Flueckiger will want to swiftly move on from Les Gets, a venue which saw them fall down the points table and perhaps out of touch of the series overall.
THE UGLY: Anne Tauber’s bars clipping a course marker and flicking her over the bars.
Friday’s XCC / Short Track Race Highlights
NEXT ROUND: Val di Sole, Italy – 2, 3, 4 August
Images: Courtesy Red Bull & UCI. With thanks: Coolheat SA & Shimano