Ferrand Prevot returns to the top of the podium at Val di Sole

French champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Factory) won the closest race of the year at Round 5 of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy, outsprinting Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) for her first World Cup win since 2015. World Cup series leader Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) struggled, finishing 17th and losing the overall lead to Neff.

After an extremely muddy short track on Friday, racers were back to good weather for the XCO on Sunday. The Val di Sole course, site of the 2008 world championships, has 190 metres of climbing per lap, and is known for some of the longest and steepest climbing on the World Cup circuit, with early leaders often fading in the final lap.

Neff, the winner of the short track, came into the XCO only 95 points behind Courtney. The new European champion jumped into the lead on the start loop, but was passed by Ferrand Prevot on the first climb and was joined by Courtney and Under-23 world champion Sina Frei (Ghost Factory). Uncharacteristically, Courtney began to fall back and looked to be seriously struggling on the steep climbs, eventually finishing over five minutes down.

Neff joined Ferrand Prevot at the front using her exceptional descending skills, but the French rider surged away on the next climb, opening a gap of 50 seconds by the third lap. Behind, 2016 Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds of Sweden had worked her way up from mid-field to join Neff in the chase, and the pair began to nibble away at Ferrand Prevot's lead. As Ferrand Prevot slowed on the penultimate fourth lap, Neff began to pick up her pace, dropping Rissveds and closing the gap to 14 seconds by the start of the last lap.

With a half a lap to go, Neff had caught Ferrand Prevot and moved to the front on the second to last climb. She tried an attack on the final climb, but Ferrand Prevot stayed with her and countered, taking the lead for the final descent into the finish. Out of the final 180-degree corner, 100 metres from the finish line, Ferrand Prevot began the sprint, holding off Neff by a bike length. Rissveds continues her comeback to the top ranks, finishing third.

Ferrand Prevot was emotional after her win, the first after three years of struggling with injuries. "It feels so, so good; I've had a tough past three years, so to win again is such an amazing feeling. I need to thank my team and family. because it was tough for them as well. When Jolanda came back, I said to myself, 'I did all the work at the front, so I don't want to lose now'. So I sprinted to the top of the climb, and after that she was on my wheel and pushing me. It was a tough finish."

In the overall standings, Neff jumped ahead of Courtney by 33 points, donning the leader's jersey for the time this year. Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory), winner of Round 3, remains in third, while Ferrand Prevot jumps from seventh to fourth, only 10 points behind Terpstra.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra)1:21:59
2Jolanda Neff (Swi)0:00:01
3Jenny Rissveds (Swe)0:01:01
4Yana Belomoina (Ukr)0:01:29
5Anne Tauber (Ned)0:01:56
6Chloe Woodruff (USA)0:02:44
7Rebecca Ellen Mcconnell (Aus)0:03:00
8Tanja Žakelj (Slo)0:03:21
9Catharine Pendrel (Can)0:03:35
10Eva Lechner (Ita)0:03:42
11Sina Frei (Swi)0:03:55
12Anne Terpstra (Ned)0:04:00
13Maja Wloszczowska (Pol)0:04:03
14Lea Davison (USA)0:04:18
15Alessandra Keller (Swi)0:04:38
16Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa)0:04:59
17Kate Courtney (USA)0:05:14
18Janika Lõiv (Est)0:05:24
19Sophie Von Berswordt (Ned)0:05:34
20Jitka Čábelická (Cze)0:05:52
21Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)0:05:53
22Haley Smith (Can)0:06:09
23Mariske Strauss (RSA)0:06:30
24Julie Bresset (Fra)0:06:59
25Annemarie Worst (Ned)0:07:09
26Lucie Urruty (Fra)0:07:26
27Annie Last (GBr)0:07:37
28Sandra Walter (Can)0:07:41
29Ramona Forchini (Swi)0:07:49
30Annika Langvad (Den)0:07:55
31Corina Gantenbein (Swi)0:07:57
32Isla Short (GBr)0:08:17
33Elisabeth Osl (Aut)0:08:21
34Chiara Teocchi (Ita)0:08:26
35Githa Michiels (Bel)0:08:47
36Katarzyna Solus-miskowicz (Pol)0:09:00
37Irina Kalentyeva (Rus)0:09:14
38Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi)0:09:18
39Emily Batty (Can)0:09:36
40Cherie Redecker (RSA)0:09:38
41Barbara Benkó (Hun)0:11:03
42Lena Gerault (Fra)0:11:08
43Cindy Montambault (Can)0:11:16
44Paula Gorycka (Pol)0:11:29
45Iryna Popova (Ukr)0:11:42
46Aleksandra Podgorska (Pol)0:11:54
47Jaqueline Mourao (Bra)0:12:01
48Lotte Koopmans (Ned)0:12:35
49Hanna Klein (Ger)0:12:43
50Karla Štěpánová (Cze)0:12:58
51Serena Calvetti (Ita)0:13:53
52Malene Degn (Den)0:14:06
53Sabrina Enaux (Fra)0:14:10
54Jennifer Jackson (Can)0:14:27
55Perrine Clauzel (Fra)0:15:53
56Lejla Tanovic (BiH)Row 55 - Cell 2
57Jovana Crnogorac (Srb)Row 56 - Cell 2
58Janina Wüst (Swi)Row 57 - Cell 2
59Claudia Galicia Cotrina (Spa)Row 58 - Cell 2
60Olga Terentyeva (Rus)Row 59 - Cell 2
61Hana Ježková (Cze)Row 60 - Cell 2
62Emily Unterberger (Can)Row 61 - Cell 2
63Nadja Heigl (Aut)Row 62 - Cell 2
64Chrystelle Baumann (Swi)Row 63 - Cell 2
65Luciana Roland (Arg)Row 64 - Cell 2
66Joana Monteiro (Por)Row 65 - Cell 2
67Marit Sveen (Nor)Row 66 - Cell 2
68Alaina Casioppo (USA)Row 67 - Cell 2
69Lucie Veselá (Cze)Row 68 - Cell 2
70Fairlee Frey (USA)Row 69 - Cell 2
DNFCamille Devi (Fra)Row 70 - Cell 2
DNFAdelheid Morath (Ger)Row 71 - Cell 2
DNSFabienne Schaus (Lux)Row 72 - Cell 2
DNSTeodora Savić-popović (Srb)Row 73 - Cell 2
DNSVera Medvedeva (Rus)Row 74 - Cell 2

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