Lecomte untouchable as French 1-2 Women's XCO at Albstadt World Cup

France finished 1-2 on Sunday in Albstadt, Germany, for the opening round of the Mountain Bike World Cup, with Under-23 world champion Loana Lecomte (Massi) beating elite world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC). However, Ferrand Prevot took the World Cup leader's jersey, after winning the Short Track on Friday.

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.

Lecomte simply rode away from the rest of the 106 rider field on the start loop, opening up an 18 second gap on the first major climb of the race. She never looked back, increasing her lead to over a minute by the start of the fifth and final full lap, and eventually beating Ferrand Prevot by 53 seconds.

"I don't believe it," said Lecomte, "in my head it was my goal for today, but I didn't know if I could do it. This race and Nove Mesto are the race qualifications for the Olympic Games [for France] so it was a big goal for me to be in shape for these two World Cups; now that goal is 50% complete."

With Lecomte untouchable at the front, the race action was happening behind. Ferrand Prevot was joined in the early chase by 2019 World Cup champion Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) and Australian champion Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker XSauce), however, both began to fall back on the second lap, and the early hard pace hurt them later in the race, with McConnell sliding all the way to 21st by the finish.

While Courtney dropped off the pace of Ferrand Prevot, she looked to be solidly in third until her young compatriot, Haley Batten (Trinity Racing), caught her and then dropped her on the third lap. Batten, in only her first elite World Cup, is one of a number of Americans battling for an Olympic spot (Courtney already has one locked up), and she was actually making ground on Ferrand Prevot in the last lap and a half.

The French 1-2 was followed by an American 3-4, as Courtney held onto fourth behind Batten, just ten seconds in front of Yana Belomoina (CST PostNL Bafang), who made a late race surge to take the fifth and final podium spot.

"I honestly didn't know what I was capable of," admitted Batten, "so to start the season like this is pretty incredible. I think in the Short Track I felt really strong, so I just gave it what I had today, and raced my race. I've had a couple of hard races here in the past, in Junior and U23, so to just race so strong and so smooth from start to finish is not something I would have expected previously. I'm not sure how much this counts towards [the American] Olympic criteria, but Nove Mesto does, so this is a really good sign."

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Loana Lecomte (France) 1:21:38
2Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) 0:00:53
3Haley Batten (United States Of America) 0:01:15
4Kate Courtney (United States Of America) 0:01:20
5Yana Belomoina (Ukraine) 0:01:30
6Anne Terpstra (Netherlands) 0:01:47
7Linda Indergand (Switzerland) 0:01:57
8Laura Stigger (Austria) 0:02:11
9Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) 0:02:54
10Sina Frei (Switzerland) 0:03:03
11Eva Lechner (Italy) 0:03:11
12Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mexico) 0:03:12
13Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) 0:03:38
14Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)
15Erin Huck (United States Of America) 0:03:59
16Lena Gerault (France) 0:04:06
17Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spain) 0:04:13
18Alessandra Keller (Switzerland) 0:04:22
19Nicole Koller (Switzerland) 0:04:30
20Githa Michiels (Belgium) 0:04:39
21Rebecca Mcconnell (Australia) 0:05:24
22Ronja Eibl (Germany) 0:05:52
23Chiara Teocchi (Italy) 0:05:58
24Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 0:06:04
25Evie Richards (Great Britain) 0:06:09
26Janika Lõiv (Estonia) 0:06:24
27Emily Batty (Canada) 0:06:42
28Greta Seiwald (Italy) 0:06:54
29Nina Benz (Germany) 0:07:02
30Chloe Woodruff (United States Of America) 0:07:25
31Candice Lill (South Africa) 0:07:31
32Lotte Koopmans (Netherlands) 0:07:34
33Iryna Popova (Ukraine) 0:07:35
34Barbara Benkó (Hungary) 0:07:49
35Steffi Häberlin (Switzerland) 0:07:55
36Kristina Ilina (Russian Federation) 0:07:56
37Anne Tauber (Netherlands) 0:08:07
38Jennifer Jackson (Canada) 0:08:17
39Tanja Žakelj (Slovenia) 0:08:30
40Isla Short (Great Britain) 0:08:36
41Martina Berta (Italy) 0:08:41
42Elisabeth Osl (Austria) 0:09:28
43Lea Davison (United States Of America) 0:09:32
44Andrea Waldis (Switzerland) 0:09:34
45Jitka Čábelická (Czech Republic) 0:09:53
46Annie Last (Great Britain) 0:09:54
47Sandra Walter (Canada) 0:10:14
48Sofia Gomez Villafane (Argentina) 0:10:45
49Katarzyna Solus-Miskowicz (Poland) 0:10:46
50Laurie Arseneault (Canada) 0:10:51
51Sophie Von Berswordt (Netherlands) 0:10:53
52Catharine Pendrel (Canada) 0:11:08
53Nadine Rieder (Germany) 0:11:16
54Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic) 0:11:27
55Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 0:11:36
56Anna Spielmann (Austria) 0:12:02
57Agustina Maria Apaza (Argentina) 0:12:10
58Adelheid Morath (Germany) 0:12:16
59Lucie Urruty (France) 0:12:36
60Perrine Clauzel (France) 0:13:07
61Kelsey Urban (United States Of America)
62Seraina Leugger (Switzerland)
63Giorgia Marchet (Italy)
64Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)
65Vera Medvedeva (Russian Federation)
66Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain)
67Chrystelle Baumann (Switzerland)
68Jana Czeczinkarová (Czech Republic)
69Hannah Finchamp (United States Of America)
70Klaudia Czabok (Poland)
71Theresia Schwenk (Germany)
72Margot Moschetti (France)
73Hélène Clauzel (France)
74Raiza Goulao Henrique (Brazil)
75Ramona Forchini (Switzerland)
76Tereza Tvarůžková (Czech Republic)
77Paula Gorycka (Poland)
78Fabienne Schaus (Luxembourg)
79Kim Ames (Germany)
80Gabriela Wojtyla (Poland)
81Joana Monteiro (Portugal)
82Lejla Tanovic (Bosnia Herzegovnia)
83Aleksandra Podgorska (Poland)
84Ann-Dorthe Lisbygd (Denmark)
85Naama Noyman (Israel)
86Viktoria Kirsanova (Russian Federation)
87Iryna Slobodyan (Ukraine)
88Amelie Laquebe (France)
89Cindy Montambault (Canada)
90Janina Wüst (Switzerland)
91Josefina Casadey (Argentina)
92Sara Öberg (Sweden)
93Jaqueline Mourao (Brazil)
94Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia)
95Maria Fernanda Castro Gonzalez (Chile)
96Antonia Daubermann (Germany)
97Barbara Borowiecka (Poland)
98Mari-Liis Mõttus (Estonia)
DNFJulie Bresset (France)
DNFCharline Fragnière (Switzerland)
DNFLinn Gustafzzon (Sweden)
DNFHaley Smith (Canada)
DNFSabrina Enaux (France)
DNFCeylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)
DNSCherie Redecker (South Africa)
DNSEmma Belforth (Sweden)

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