Alessandra Keller (Thömus Maxon) took the first cross country Olympic (XCO) Mountain Bike World Cup win of her career on Sunday, at Snowshoe, West Virginia, adding to her short track win at Vallnord.
Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory Racing), with her third place finish behind Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis), was able to over-take Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker Genuins) for the leader's jersey in the seventh round; the first time McConnell has been out of the series lead since the start of the season.
The rain that has been causing floods in nearby Kentucky led to the race being shortened by a lap, to six, and also the removal of some sections that became unrideable. The race started in heavy fog, that deepened over the first two laps before starting to dissipate.
McConnell, who has suffered flats and other woes in the recent rounds, missed clipping into her pedal on the start, and was in last place before she got going again. She eventually finished 13th after a strong ride up through the field, but her mishap at the start cost her the leader's jersey.
At the front, Rissveds took the lead, followed by Terpstra and Keller, and opened a gap before a chase of seven riders caught up to her by the end of the first lap. This group was gradually whittled down to Keller, Terpstra, Rissveds and Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), with Rissveds doing much of the pacemaking, and eventually dropping Neff.
The slippery mud, rocks and roots saw gaps begin to grow, with Rissveds riding the rough conditions the best and opening an eight second gap to Keller on lap 4, with Terpstra at 11 seconds. Keller managed to rejoin Rissveds in the lead on lap 5 and the pair rode together until early in the last lap, when Rissveds had her front wheel slide out in a corner, going down. She was up quickly, but Keller had immediately attacked, opening a gap that grew quickly, eventually reaching 37 seconds by the finish line, with Terpstra hanging on for third at 50 seconds.
"The conditions were crazy," said Keller. "When it started to rain it got more and more muddy, and I actually liked that; the more muddy it got, the better it got. It was just a really crazy day, and somehow I won a World Cup! It's unbelievable.
"I knew that to have the best race you had to stay on your bike and do the best you can, which is what I did. I managed to not crash and ride smooth, and obviously, it was the fastest. Jenny crashed twice, and when I saw her crash in the last lap, and just took the opportunity and went all in."
In the overall standings, Terpstra moves into the lead with 1430 points, eight points in front of McConnell with two rounds remaining. Keller moves up one spot to third, 118 points away from the lead.
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