Jolanda Neff won another gold medal for Switzerland at the UCI Mountain Bike Championships in Hafjell, Norway on Friday. She celebrated her third under 23 cross country world title. French woman Margot Moschetti earned the silver medal while Linda Indergand (Switzerland) took bronze.
"I felt good today, and it was cool that everything worked out," said a beaming Neff in her fresh rainbow-striped jersey. "I knew my shape was there, but there was also some pressure, but I was happy to put everything out today and race my race and take the win."
"Pauline and I both did the team relay the other day and were within a few seconds of each other, so I knew we would be close today, but I just tried to do my race the way I most often do it."
The much anticipated battle between Neff and other top favorite Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) did not play out as many had expected. Neff distanced Ferrand Prevot after the first two laps of the five-lap race, and later the French woman suffered a double mechanical, having to run nearly a half lap to the next tech zone as a result. She still managed an eighth place.
Neff, who is also the elite 2014 UCI World Cup cross country champion, went to the front from the start. She initially led Ferrand Prevot, who took a turn at the front on the climbing during the first lap.
"She overtook me on a climb, then I overtook her on another climb before the downhill," said Neff.
Then, Neff let her skills hang out on the downhill, and ultimately she got a slight gap on Ferrand Prevot near the end of the lap two, but it wasn't quite the way she had expected."
"I was first on the downhill and I crashed on a corner, then she crashed into me. We both dropped our chains and my saddle was twisted, but I got back on and going sooner," said Neff. "She took a bit longer to get her chain back on."
By lap three, Neff had 36 seconds on Ferrand Prevot. Behind them Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) initially led the chase ahead of Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia), Helen Grobert (Germany), Linda Indergand (Swizterland) and Yana Belomoyna (Ukraine).
Rissveds faded back a few places during the course of the race while Indergrand and Belomoyna rode more consistently.
France's Margot Moschetti didn't have a fast start in the way that she typically doesn't, but she got stronger as the race went on, moving up from 10th on the first lap all the way to second place after Ferrand Prevot's mechanical.
"I was better on the climbs than the others, but Linda was better on the descents, so I tried to make the difference on the climb on the last lap," said Moschetti. "I'm happy with second because I knew I was racing Pauline and Jolanda, who were supposed to be in front of me. I was expecting third place."
Indergand finished third for her second medal of the week after also winning a medal in the elite women's eliminator on Tuesday.
Ferrand Prevot was steadily in second place, about 30 seconds back from Neff, until she encountered mechanical problems during lap lap four. She stopped both times through the pit, losing more than a minute the first time and still more time the second instance, when mechanics put a new chain on her bike.
"I had two broken chains, and between them I had to run almost a half lap," said Ferrand Prevot. "I had a great season, it was just bad luck today."
American Kate Courtney, a first-year U23 rider, finished in 13th place
"It was so tough out there. I went out super hard and spent the whole time just trying to stay in it," said Courtney. "I'm stoked to finish 13th. That's a solid end to my season."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)||1:17:49|
|2||Margot Moschetti (France)||0:01:47|
|3||Linda Indergand (Switzerland)||0:01:53|
|4||Yana Belomoina (Ukraine)||0:03:08|
|5||Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia)||0:03:25|
|6||Helen Grobert (Germany)||0:03:47|
|7||Alice Barnes (Great Britain)||0:04:50|
|8||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)||0:05:36|
|9||Ramona Forchini (Switzerland)||0:05:40|
|10||Lisa Mitterbauer (Austria)||0:05:48|
|11||Lena Putz (Germany)||0:06:24|
|12||Andrea Waldis (Switzerland)||0:06:50|
|13||Kate Courtney (United States Of America)||0:07:24|
|14||Perrine Clauzel (France)||0:08:21|
|15||Kristina Kirillova (Russian Federation)||0:08:36|
|16||Ling Yang (People's Republic of China)||0:08:52|
|17||Bethany Crumpton (Great Britain)||0:09:05|
|18||Nadezhda Antonova (Russian Federation)||0:09:11|
|19||Shayna Powless (United States Of America)||0:09:20|
|20||Monika Zur (Poland)||0:09:32|
|21||Barbora Machulkova (Czech Republic)||0:09:45|
|22||Lisa Rabensteiner (Italy)||0:10:25|
|23||Haley Smith (Canada)||0:10:42|
|24||Maghalie Rochette (Canada)||0:10:51|
|25||Annemarie Worst (Netherlands)||0:11:39|
|26||Olga Terentyeva (Russian Federation)||0:12:03|
|27||Emily Parkes (Australia)||0:12:08|
|28||Catherine Fleury (Canada)||0:12:45|
|29||Serena Tasca (Italy)||0:13:26|
|30||Rachel Pageau (Canada)||0:13:32|
|31||Britt Van Den Boogert (Netherlands)||0:13:44|
|32||Candice Neethling (South Africa)||0:15:08|
|-1lap||Ingrid Boe Jacobsen (Norway)|
|-1lap||Anna Konovalova (Russian Federation)|
|-1lap||Michela Molina (Ecuador)|
|-1lap||Joana Filipa Oliveira Monteiro (Portugal)|
|-1lap||Kaylee Blevins (United States Of America)|
|-1lap||Frederique Trudel (Canada)|
|-2laps||Andrea Fuentes (Mexico)|
|-2laps||Meghan Beltzer (Israel)|
|-2laps||Holly Harris (Australia)|
|-2laps||Henriette Elvrum Handal (Norway)|
|-2laps||Seika Ainota (Japan)|
|-2laps||Diana Espinoza (Ecuador)|
|-2laps||Sylvi Sommer (Norway)|
|-2laps||Catalia Paz Fuentes Correa (Chile)|
|-3laps||Ines Carolina Gutierrez (Argentina)|
|DNF||Jenny Rissveds (Sweden)|
|DNF||Sofia Wiedenroth (Germany)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|5||United States Of America||81|
|13||People?S Republic Of China||34|