The Mountain Bike World Cup moved to the French Alps in Les Gets for round four on Friday. While not as high as last week's races in Andorra, riders still had to contend with an altitude of 1,200 metres and dry, dusty conditions on a rough grass track with steep climbing.
Racing began with the XCC (Short Track), and the women's race was whittled down to a lead group of 10 riders with two laps to go in the seven-lap race, when world champion and World Cup leader Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) attacked on the first climb of the second-to-last lap.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Factory), Germany's Elizabeth Brandau and Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) formed the chase group, but could not make any headway on the seven-second gap Courtney opened on her way to winning her second XCC of the season, extending her lead in the overall standings.
Ferrand Prevot took second in front of a delighted French crowd, with Brandau pipping Neff on the line for third.
Courtney didn't have a set plan for when she would attack: "In these races, you have to respond to what's happening, and we have had so many strong girls at the front that it's unpredictable.
"Today, my plan was to embrace the moment; you have to be willing to 'risk big to win big', and I'm really happy it worked out today," she said.
In the overall standings, Courtney now leads with 1,015 points – 125 ahead of Neff. Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory), winner of last week's XCO, remains in third, 320 points back.
Van der Poel returns
The men's race saw the return of Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), who skipped the previous round, losing his overall World Cup leader's jersey in the process to world champion Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM).
Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory), winner of the XCC last weekend, was aggressive throughout the nine-lap race, spending more time at the front than anyone else.
Van der Poel was content to ride in the top five, keeping a close eye on Avancini and Schurter. On the first climb of the final lap, Avancini launched a powerful attack, but Van der Poel, Schurter and Victor Koretzky (KMC-Ekoi-Orbea) stayed right with him, setting the stage for a sprint finish.
Avancini led up until the final 300 metres, when a small mistake allowed Van der Poel to get by him, and the Dutch rider launched a massive attack out of the last corner with 100 metres to go, which no one could respond to. Avancini took second, with Koretzky beating Schurter for third.
Van der Poel hasn't raced on his mountain bike since winning the second round in Nove Mesto, six weeks ago.
"I haven't had any competition for a long time, so I tried to save as much energy as possible," he said. "I knew it would come down to a sprint here, and I felt pretty good.
"I wanted to take the lead in the last corner because I knew it would be impossible for someone to come over me. I was searching for the point to start my sprint two laps before the end, and I saw the 100-metre sign in the corner," said Van der Poel.
In the overall standings, Schurter continues to lead. However, Van der Poel moves into second from third, only 85 points behind. Mathias Fluckiger (Thomus RN) drops to third from second after finishing 15th in the XCC.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kate Courtney (USA)||0:19:30|
|2||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra)||0:00:07|
|3||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)|
|4||Jolanda Neff (Swi)|
|5||Ramona Forchini (Swi)||0:00:12|
|6||Annie Last (GBr)||0:00:18|
|7||Lea Davison (USA)|
|8||Anne Tauber (Ned)||0:00:20|
|9||Anne Terpstra (Ned)||0:00:28|
|10||Catharine Pendrel (Can)||0:00:32|
|11||Linda Indergand (Swi)||0:00:33|
|12||Alessandra Keller (Swi)|
|13||Emily Batty (Can)|
|14||Julie Bresset (Fra)||0:00:34|
|15||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:00:35|
|16||Jitka Čábelická (Cze)||0:00:36|
|17||Rebecca Ellen Mcconnell (Aus)||0:00:37|
|18||Barbara Benkó (Hun)||0:00:43|
|19||Tanja Žakelj (Slo)|
|20||Chiara Teocchi (Ita)||0:00:45|
|21||Mariske Strauss (RSA)||0:00:46|
|22||Githa Michiels (Bel)|
|23||Sina Frei (Swi)||0:00:47|
|24||Candice Lill (RSA)||0:00:56|
|25||Yana Belomoina (Ukr)||0:00:57|
|26||Sophie Von Berswordt (Ned)||0:00:58|
|27||Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)||0:01:01|
|28||Sandra Walter (Can)||0:01:03|
|29||Paula Gorycka (Pol)||0:01:11|
|30||Haley Smith (Can)||0:01:15|
|31||Aleksandra Podgorska (Pol)||0:01:18|
|32||Jovana Crnogorac (Srb)||0:01:21|
|33||Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa)||0:01:38|
|34||Malene Degn (Den)||0:01:44|
|35||Elisabeth Osl (Aut)||0:02:09|
|36||Cherie Redecker (RSA)||0:02:38|
|37||Isla Short (GBr)|
|38||Raiza Goulao Henrique (Bra)|
|DNF||Irina Kalentyeva (Rus)|
|DNS||Annika Langvad (Den)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned)||0:21:51|
|2||Henrique Avancini (Bra)||0:00:01|
|3||Victor Koretzky (Fra)||0:00:02|
|4||Nino Schurter (Swi)|
|5||Jens Schuermans (Bel)||0:00:03|
|6||Maxime Marotte (Fra)||0:00:04|
|7||David Valero Serrano (Spa)|
|8||Ondřej Cink (Cze)||0:00:06|
|9||Peter Disera (Can)||0:00:08|
|10||Lars Forster (Swi)|
|11||Titouan Carod (Fra)||0:00:09|
|12||Jordan Sarrou (Fra)||0:00:11|
|13||Manuel Fumic (Ger)||0:00:12|
|14||Daniele Braidot (Ita)||0:00:13|
|15||Mathias Flueckiger (Swi)|
|16||Luca Braidot (Ita)||0:00:14|
|17||Stephane Tempier (Fra)||0:00:16|
|18||Leandre Bouchard (Can)||0:00:18|
|19||Keegan Swenson (USA)||0:00:20|
|20||Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Spa)||0:00:21|
|21||Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita)||0:00:22|
|22||Sebastian Fini Carstensen (Den)|
|23||Joshua Dubau (Fra)||0:00:23|
|24||Georg Egger (Ger)||0:00:24|
|25||Jan Škarnitzl (Cze)||0:00:26|
|26||Reto Indergand (Swi)|
|27||Alan Hatherly (RSA)||0:00:42|
|28||Karl Markt (Aut)||0:00:44|
|29||Nadir Colledani (Ita)||0:00:48|
|30||Anton Cooper (NZl)||0:01:02|
|31||Bartlomiej Wawak (Pol)||0:01:08|
|32||Anton Sintsov (Rus)||0:01:17|
|33||Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spa)||0:01:18|
|34||Ben Oliver (NZl)||0:01:27|
|35||Kevin Panhuyzen (Bel)||0:02:00|
|36||Andri Frischknecht (Swi)|
|DNF||Thomas Litscher (Swi)|
|DNF||Matthias Stirnemann (Swi)|
|DNF||Florian Vogel (Swi)|
|DNS||Hugo Drechou (Fra)|