Koretzky gets the better of Schurter in Albstadt World Cup

Victor Koretzky (KMC-Orbea) took his first elite mountain bike World Cup win on Sunday at the season-opener in Albstadt, Germany, after French women had finished 1-2 a few hours earlier. With his win and second place in the Short track on Friday, Koretzky also donned the World Cup leader's jersey.

Albstadt is one of the hardest courses on the World Cup circuit with two long, steep climbs per lap, and once again it tested the riders. Along with Round 2 of the World Cup, next weekend in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, Albstadt is a final qualification event for the Tokyo Olympics, so there were 'races within races', as riders fight to qualify for their Olympic teams. After being cold all week, the temperature had shifted overnight to hot - 27 Celcius - adding to the difficulties the riders faced.

The men's race boasted a stellar field, including Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) looking for a record-tying 33rd World Cup win, Short Track winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in his first XCO since 2019 and Amstel Gold second-place finisher Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) in his first elite World Cup race.

Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) took the lead on the start loop and was quickly joined by van der Poel, who attacked on the climb. Avancini was the only rider able to join the Dutchman and the two went ten seconds clear before a chase group led by Schurter began to reel them in, catching them late on the first lap. The attack proved to be ill-advised, with both riders falling off the pace of the leaders; van der Poel would eventually recover to finish seventh, while Avancini was tenth.

At the front, a group formed containing Schurter, Koretzky, 2019 Albstadt winner Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN Swiss Bike), Ondrej Cink (Kross Orlen) and world champion Jordan Sarrou (Specialized). Flueckiger and Cink were the most aggressive on the climbs, with only Koretzky and Schurter able to consistently follow them. Others would come back to the group after the descents but were eventually dropped after successive climbs, reducing the race to these four.

Behind them, Pidcock was having a remarkable ride up through the field. Having no UCI mountain bike ranking, Pidcock started on the 11th row with plate 100. He passed over 60 riders on the start loop to move into the top-25, and was up with the leaders by the end of Lap 2. However, the effort took its toll, and he began yo-yoing off the group whenever attacks took place on the climbs. He managed to claw his way back to fifth by the finish, only six seconds out of a top-3.

"I was happy with how it went," said Pidcock. "It was very hot and I think a lot of guys blew themselves up on the first lap, me included. After that I tried to just settle in. But I had a slow leak in my rear tire and on the last lap it had gone completely flat by the time I got to the finish. But next week I'll be able to do the Short Track, and hopefully I can go for a front row start in the XCO and I'll be in a much better situation."

Flueckiger looked to be the strongest on the climbs, with Koretzky and Schurter just following, and Cink getting dropped regularly whenever the pace went up. On the fifth and second to last lap, Flueckiger managed to get a small gap on the other two before they fought back, however, on the final lap he looked to have a problem - his dropper post, which he had dropped for the descent, didn't spring back up, forcing him to ride standing up. When Schurter attacked, only Koretzky could respond.

"I felt very strong," said Flueckiger, "and my tactic was to be first on the first climb of the last lap, because if I could make it to the top in first then I could probably have the victory. But then I had the mechanical problem and I had to stand up for the full lap. This was really hard, and all I could do was fight for third place. Bad luck happens some times, so I'm very happy to get third place in this situation."

Schurter led up the final climb and down the descent, with Koretzky on his wheel. It looked like the race would come down to a sprint on the final 100 metres of asphalt, but then Koretzky managed to overtake Schurter in one of the final corners, leading through the pump track section and onto the asphalt finishing straight. Schurter attempted to catch him in the sprint, but Koretzky held him off for his first elite World Cup win. Flueckiger managed to stay ahead of Cink for third, with Pidcock taking the fifth and final podium spot.

"I can't believe, it's amazing," said Koretzky. "In the warmup I didn't feel like I was in my best shape, but after the first two laps it got better and better. On the first lap I was able to follow the front group. I didn't take the lead and just focussed on the finish line. It was the tactic my manager and I talked about before the race because it was so hot. Then I was able to pass Nino in the grass and just take my sprint to the finish line. It was amazing and I don't know what else to say."

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Victor Koretzky (France) 1:20:23
2Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 0:00:02
3Mathias Flueckiger (Switzerland) 0:00:23
4Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 0:00:25
5Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) 0:00:29
6Anton Cooper (New Zealand) 0:00:30
7Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands) 0:01:13
8Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 0:01:19
9Thomas Griot (France) 0:01:33
10Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 0:02:05
11Jordan Sarrou (France) 0:02:06
12Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) 0:02:19
13Christopher Blevins (United States Of America) 0:02:26
14Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Italy) 0:02:30
15Leandre Bouchard (Canada) 0:02:42
16Maxime Marotte (France) 0:02:51
17Joshua Dubau (France) 0:03:03
18Vlad Dascalu (Romania) 0:03:09
19Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany) 0:03:12
20Maximilian Brandl (Germany) 0:03:13
21Manuel Fumic (Germany) 0:03:16
22Nadir Colledani (Italy) 0:03:17
23Reto Indergand (Switzerland) 0:03:28
24Andri Frischknecht (Switzerland) 0:03:34
25Milan Vader (Netherlands) 0:03:43
26Simon Andreassen (Denmark) 0:03:45
27Martin Fanger (Switzerland) 0:03:47
28David Valero Serrano (Spain) 0:04:04
29Vital Albin (Switzerland) 0:04:08
30Karl Markt (Austria)
31Bartlomiej Wawak (Poland) 0:04:22
32Martins Blums (Latvia) 0:04:23
33Georg Egger (Germany) 0:04:36
34Jens Schuermans (Belgium) 0:04:45
35Jan Škarnitzl (Czech Republic) 0:04:46
36Luiz Henrique Cocuzzi (Brazil) 0:04:53
37Ben Oliver (New Zealand) 0:04:54
38Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain) 0:05:13
39Marcel Guerrini (Switzerland) 0:05:22
40Antoine Philipp (France) 0:05:32
41Gioele Bertolini (Italy) 0:05:36
42Peter Disera (Canada) 0:05:38
43Daniel Mcconnell (Australia)
44Anton Sintsov (Russian Federation)
45Erik Hægstad (Norway) 0:05:40
46Ismael Esteban Aguero (Spain) 0:05:47
47Dmytro Titarenko (Ukraine) 0:05:50
48Filip Helta (Poland) 0:05:56
49Sascha Weber (Germany) 0:06:05
50Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland) 0:06:08
51Pierre De Froidmont (Belgium) 0:06:12
52Lars Forster (Switzerland) 0:06:25
53Hugo Drechou (France) 0:06:29
54Cole Paton (United States Of America) 0:06:32
55Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) 0:06:44
56Oleksandr Koniaiev (Ukraine) 0:06:52
57Catriel Soto (Argentina) 0:06:59
58Luca Braidot (Italy) 0:07:02
59Ivan Filatov (Russian Federation) 0:07:05
60Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 0:07:06
61Mário Costa (Portugal) 0:07:07
62Maximilian Foidl (Austria) 0:07:12
63Andrew L'Esperance (Canada) 0:07:18
64Basile Allard (France)
65Rok Naglič (Slovenia) 0:07:19
66Niklas Schehl (Germany) 0:07:26
67Samuel Gaze (New Zealand) 0:07:54
68Jonas Lindberg (Denmark) 0:08:06
69Sebastian Fini Carstensen (Denmark)
70Emil Hasund Eid (Norway) 0:08:07
71Ulan Bastos Galinski (Brazil) 0:08:20
72Emil Lindgren (Sweden) 0:08:24
73Gregor Raggl (Austria) 0:08:25
74Fabian Giger (Switzerland)
75Andrin Beeli (Switzerland) 0:08:45
76Titouan Carod (France) 0:09:05
77Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo (Mexico) 0:09:14
78András Parti (Hungary) 0:09:16
79Frazer Clacherty (Great Britain) 0:09:26
80Bruno Vitali (Switzerland) 0:09:30
81Keegan Swenson (United States Of America) 0:09:35
82Sven Olivetti (Switzerland) 0:09:45
83Simon Vitzthum (Switzerland) 0:09:58
84Jan Vastl (Czech Republic) 0:10:07
85Luis Neff (Germany) 0:10:14
86Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland) 0:10:23
87Josef Jelínek (Czech Republic) 0:10:33
88Julian Schelb (Germany) 0:10:43
89Nicolas Delich Pardo (Chile) 0:10:53
90Fabio Hernando Castañeda Monsalve (Colombia) 0:10:58
91Sean Fincham (Canada) 0:11:01
92Timofei Ivanov (Russian Federation) 0:11:03
93Clément Auvin (France) 0:11:05
94Dario Thoma (Switzerland) 0:11:08
95Maxime Loret (France) 0:11:16
96Tim Feinauer (Germany) 0:11:25
97Kevin Krieg (Switzerland) 0:11:31
98Mirko Tabacchi (Italy) 0:11:50
99Sebastian Miranda Maldonado (Chile) 0:11:56
100Kohei Yamamoto (Japan) 0:12:44
101Ursin Spescha (Switzerland) 0:16:17
102Raphael Auclair (Canada)
103Karol Ostaszewski (Poland)
104Joris Ryf (Switzerland)
105Jhonatan Botero Villegas (Colombia)
106Martin Haring (Slovakia)
107Lucas Dubau (France)
108Thibault Daniel (France)
109Pau Romero Barcelo (Spain)
110Marc Andre Fortier (Canada)
111Silas Graf (Germany)
112Shlomi Haimy (Israel)
113Rob Vanden Haesevelde (Belgium)
114Quinton Disera (Canada)
115Pierre-Geoffroy Plantet (France)
116Matej Ulik (Slovakia)
117Zsombor Palumby (Hungary)
118Periklis Ilias (Greece)
119Tomáš Paprstka (Czech Republic)
120Nick Burki (Switzerland)
121Tobias Steinhart (Germany)
122Alexandre Vialle (Canada)
123Abdulkadir Kelleci (Turkey)
124Marcel Meisen (Germany)
125Lorenzo Serres (France)
126Alex Bregenzer (Germany)
127Vincent Sibille (France)
128Tristan De Lange (Namibia)
129Florian Trigo (France)
130Dimitrios Antoniadis (Greece)
131Tyler Orschel (Canada)
132Max Wetzel (Germany)
133Arthur Tropardy (France)
134Charoun Molla Amet Ali Oglou (Greece)
135Raphael Gagne (Canada)
136Victor Vidal (France)
137Zdeněk Vobecký (Czech Republic)
138Ede-Karoly Molnar (Romania)
139Heiko Hog (Germany)
140Tomáš Burcák (Slovakia)
141Serdar Depe (Turkey)
142Felix Belhumeur (Canada)
DNFDaan Soete (Belgium)
DNFMoritz Bscherer (Austria)
DNFSimon Gegenheimer (Germany)
DNFStephane Tempier (France)
DNFKrzysztof Lukasik (Poland)
DNFFilippo Colombo (Switzerland)
DNFGioele De Cosmo (Italy)
DNFSimon Gutmann (Germany)
DNFGuilherme Gotardelo Muller (Brazil)
DNSDaniele Braidot (Italy)
DNSNicholas Pettina' (Italy)
DNSJakub Zamrozniak (Poland)

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