Terpstra takes first-ever Dutch women's victory at World Cup in Vallnord

Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory) took an historic first-ever women's cross-country World Cup victory for a Dutch rider on Sunday, in Vallnord, Andorra.

Despite struggling with the 2,000 metre altitude, world champion Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) managed to retain her lead in the overall standings.

Hot, dry and dusty conditions added to the difficulty of this extremely demanding circuit, with rough descents causing numerous crashes, and steep climbs made worse by the thin air. Altitude was a huge factor, with most of the early leaders fading in the second half of the six-lap race.

Courtney and Italian champion Eva Lechner took the lead on the first climb, joined by Sina Frei (Ghost Factory), Anna Tauber (CST Sandd Bafang), Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Factory) and Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro). Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) had a slow start, dropping to more than 40 seconds back in the first few laps.

Pendrel moved into the lead on the steep 'Wall' climb, joined by Frei and Ferrand Prevot on lap 2, and then gradually by Terpstra and other riders, including Neff, who was riding herself back into contention.

As the early leaders faded off the podium, Terpstra moved into the lead, and was caught by Neff on the fifth lap. Behind, Yana Belomoina (CST Sandd Bafang) was riding her way into third and Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden), in only her second World Cup since the Olympics, moved up to fifth. Also riding well at altitude was Mexico's Daniela Campuzano, eventually finishing fourth in her first World Cup podium.

At the front, Neff tried an attack on the first climb of the final lap, but Terpstra immediately countered and rode away to win by 38 seconds. Belomoina took third, followed by Campuzano and Rissveds to complete the podium.

Courtney's lead drops to 75 points over Neff, with Terpstra jumping to third overall from seventh. Tauber moved up one spot to fourth, and Belomoina from ninth to fifth.

Terpstra was unaware that her first World Cup win was, in fact, the first for Dutch woman at the Elite level.

"I didn't think of it when I was racing, but I felt good all week and I knew that I had prepared well for the altitude, which is normally a weakness for me," said Terpstra.

"I didn't expect this, but I wanted to take a risk, so I'm very, very happy. My team had said, 'Don't go too early,' but I thought that if I let Jolanda go down the downhill first, I would have to catch up, so I tried to be first into the downhill, and then I saw I had a little gap, so I gave everything I had, but without overdoing it."

Rissveds, who retired after the Rio Games with what she recently described as mental-health issues from the pressure, made a stunning comeback from starting well down in the field.

"I can't believe it," she said. "My self-confidence had disappeared; it was gone since the Olympics. I couldn't believe that I could come back and be up there.

"After Nove Mesto [the previous World Cup, which was her first race back, where she finished 33rd], I looked around and saw the riders I was with and thought, 'I shouldn't be up here – I'm not one of them anymore.' When you start to think like that, your body shuts down and you can't get out your full potential.

"After Nove Mesto, I started to work on my mind game, and it's incredible what your head can do," she continued. "If you believe in yourself, you can go so far. I don't want to focus on results anymore, because that is one of the things that took me down, but I can't stop dreaming about coming back to [the level I was] when I stopped, and I will keep on working until I can say I'm back at the same level."

Full results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anne Terpstra1:22:59
2Jolanda Neff0:00:38
3Yana Belomoina0:00:51
4Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon0:00:58
5Jenny Rissveds0:01:03
6Githa Michiels0:01:08
7Anne Tauber0:01:51
8Kate Courtney0:02:04
9Sina Frei0:02:11
10Elisabeth Brandau0:02:14
11Annie Last0:02:19
12Pauline Ferrand Prevot0:02:47
13Mariske Strauss0:03:02
14Ramona ForchiniRow 13 - Cell 2
15Lea Davison0:03:08
16Haley Smith0:03:12
17Catharine Pendrel0:03:18
18Eva Lechner0:03:38
19Tanja Zakelj0:03:50
20Rebecca Ellen Mcconnell0:04:15
21Chiara Teocchi0:04:27
22Candice Lill0:04:35
23Rocio del Alba Garcia Martinez0:05:08
24Jitka Cabelicka0:05:28
25Sophie von Berswordt0:05:42
26Emily Batty0:06:01
27Janika Loiv0:06:06
28Linda Indergand0:06:32
29Sandra Walter0:06:42
30Julie Bresset0:07:03
31Adelheid Morath0:07:16
32Jennifer Jackson0:07:40
33Aleksandra Podgorska0:07:50
34Nadja Heigl0:07:52
35Irina Kalentyeva0:07:54
36Barbara Benko0:08:16
37Jovana Crnogorac0:08:24
38Elisabeth Osl0:08:34
39Kathrin Stirnemann0:08:44
40Nadine Rieder0:09:11
41Lena Gerault0:09:27
42Paula Gorycka0:09:53
43Isla Short0:10:13
44Cindy Montambault0:10:42
45Sofia Gomez Villafane0:10:53
46Vera Medvedeva0:11:14
47Lotte Koopmans0:11:40
48Alexis Skarda0:11:49
49Karla Stepanova0:12:16
50Perrine Clauzel0:13:25
51Corina GantenbeinRow 50 - Cell 2
52Agustina Maria ApazaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Camille DeviRow 52 - Cell 2
54Rebecca BeaumontRow 53 - Cell 2
55Meritxell Figueras GarangouRow 54 - Cell 2
56Hanna KleinRow 55 - Cell 2
57Olga TerentyevaRow 56 - Cell 2
58Natalia Fischer EgusquizaRow 57 - Cell 2
59Raiza Goulao HenriqueRow 58 - Cell 2
60Sabrina EnauxRow 59 - Cell 2
61Joana MonteiroRow 60 - Cell 2
62Elena Perez BravoRow 61 - Cell 2
63Alaina CasioppoRow 62 - Cell 2
64Jordina Muntadas VilasisRow 63 - Cell 2
65Amparo Chapa LloretRow 64 - Cell 2
DNFKatarzyna Solus-miskowiczRow 65 - Cell 2
DNFAlessandra KellerRow 66 - Cell 2
DNFLinn GustafzzonRow 67 - Cell 2
DNFLucie UrrutyRow 68 - Cell 2
DNFFabienne SchausRow 69 - Cell 2
DNFFlorencia de MaioRow 70 - Cell 2
DNSMalene DegnRow 71 - Cell 2

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