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UCI MTB World Cup Albstadt: Van der Poel, Ferrand-Prévot win short track events

Ronde van Vlaanderen 2021 - Tour of Flanders - 105th Edition - Antwerp - Oudenaarde 263,7 km - 04/04/2021 - Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED - Alpecin-Fenix) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The first full season of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup since 2019 began on Friday evening in Albstadt, Germany, with the women's and men's Short Track. 

Two of the dominant riders of this discipline became the first this season to wear the World Cup leader's jerseys, with World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC) winning the women's race and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) the men's.

The roughly 20-minute Short Track offers half the points of a cross-country (XCO) win, and the top 16 finishers occupy the first two rows on the start line for Sunday's XCO, so for the top 40 ranked riders who are allowed to enter, it is a serious battle.

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"Unexpected" victory for Ferrand-Prévot

Australian champion Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker XSauce) led the start of the six-lap women's race, but Ferrand-Prévot was always lurking in the top three, along with 2019 World Cup Champion Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM).  

Linda Indergand (Liv Factory) made an unexpected mid-race attack and opened an almost 20-second gap as the contenders hesitated, and still had a 13-second gap going into the final. 

However, Ferrand-Prévot attacked out of the chase group hard on the first climb and caught her in the final kilometre. Indergand held on for second, just ahead of Annie Last (Great Britain) and Courtney.

"I didn't really expect to do that well," said Ferrand-Prévot, "but I just tried to stay out of the wind at the beginning of the race. I didn't want to ride [at the front] because of the headwind on the long straight section, so I waited until the end. I wanted to go [with Indergand], but I said to myself, 'if you go you will kill yourself', so I waited and let others to the job [of chasing]. I attacked at the last lap and didn't hold back. It was a good tactic."

Van der Poel attacks early

The men's race saw Van der Poel returning to mountain biking for his first race since August of 2019. That year the Dutch rider was five-for-five in Short Track and, while he has shown his continued speed and power on the road and in cyclo-cross, the question was: how would he fare against the top mountain bikers? 

He answered quickly on the second lap of a seven-lap race, attacking explosively and shredding the field. 

Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM), the world number one ranked rider, struggled to latch onto his wheel, and the bunch came back together once Van der Poel eased back on the pedals. 

For the rest of the race, until the final lap, Van der Poel sat a few riders back from the lead, recovering, while Schurter, Victory Koretzky (KMC-Orbea) and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) took turns setting a high tempo. But on the final lap the Dutch rider attacked again and no one could respond. Koretzky beat Schurter at the line for second.

"It was different racing on mountain bikes with the wide handlebars ... there's was a lot of touching. But at the end I managed to pull out a win," Van der Poel admitted..

Talking about his early attack, he explained, "I wanted to reduce the group a bit, because of the headwind it was tactical and I tried to get away with a little group, but there was nobody pushing on with me. So I tried to recover a bit for the last lap. I wanted a good starting position [for the XCO] and as many points as possible to go for the Olympics, so I'm happy I get to start with the leader's jersey."

Elite Women
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) 0:20:37
2Linda Indergand (Swi) 0:00:01
3Annie Last (GBr) 0:00:02
4Kate Courtney (USA)
5Loana Lecomte (Fra) 0:00:05
6Rebecca Mcconnell (Aus) 0:00:06
7Anne Terpstra (Ned) 0:00:08
8Sina Frei (Swi) 0:00:10
9Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:00:18
10Jenny Rissveds (Swe)
11Haley Batten (USA) 0:00:20
12Chloe Woodruff (USA) 0:00:21
13Jolanda Neff (Swi) 0:00:22
14Ramona Forchini (Swi) 0:00:26
15Jitka Čábelická (Cze) 0:00:30
16Janika Lõiv (Est) 0:00:31
17Emily Batty (Can)
18Erin Huck (USA) 0:00:32
19Ronja Eibl (Ger) 0:00:35
20Anne Tauber (Ned) 0:00:36
21Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) 0:00:37
22Rocio del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa) 0:00:42
23Laura Stigger (Aut) 0:00:44
24Barbara Benkó (Hun)
25Nicole Koller (Swi) 0:00:46
26Martina Berta (Ita) 0:00:50
27Alessandra Keller (Swi) 0:00:51
28Sofia Gomez Villafane (Arg)
29Evie Richards (GBr)
30Lea Davison (USA) 0:01:03
31Haley Smith (Can) 0:01:09
32Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)
33Candice Lill (RSA) 0:01:22
34Catharine Pendrel (Can)
35Sophie von Berswordt (Ned) 0:01:23
36Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mex) 0:01:25
37Mariske Strauss (RSA) 0:01:26
38Isla Short (GBr) 0:01:27
39Githa Michiels (Bel)
DNSJanka Keseg Stevkova (Svk)

Elite men
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) 0:20:39
2Victor Koretzky (Fra) 0:00:02
3Nino Schurter (Swi) 0:00:03
4Henrique Avancini (Bra) 0:00:09
5Mathias Flueckiger (Swi) 0:00:10
6Jordan Sarrou (Fra) 0:00:11
7Peter Disera (Can)
8Luca Braidot (Ita) 0:00:13
9Nadir Colledani (Ita) 0:00:14
10Alan Hatherly (RSA)
11Anton Cooper (NZl) 0:00:15
12Lars Forster (Swi) 0:00:17
13Titouan Carod (Fra) 0:00:18
14Milan Vader (Ned)
15Daniele Braidot (Ita) 0:00:20
16Christopher Blevins (USA) 0:00:21
17Ondřej Cink (Cze) 0:00:22
18Jens Schuermans (Bel) 0:00:23
19Maxime Marotte (Fra)
20Maximilian Brandl (Ger) 0:00:24
21Thomas Griot (Fra) 0:00:25
22David Valero Serrano (Spa)
23Manuel Fumic (Ger)
24Leandre Bouchard (Can) 0:00:27
25Sebastian Fini Carstensen (Den) 0:00:30
26Vlad Dascalu (Rom) 0:00:31
27Jofre Cullell Estape (Spa) 0:00:34
28Stephane Tempier (Fra) 0:00:37
29Reto Indergand (Swi) 0:00:46
30Thomas Litscher (Swi) 0:00:50
31Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 0:01:07
32Karl Markt (Aut) 0:01:08
33Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) 0:01:12
34Bartlomiej Wawak (Pol) 0:01:18
35Keegan Swenson (USA) 0:01:22
36Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) 0:01:32
37Andri Frischknecht (Swi)
38Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo (Mex)
39Simon Andreassen (Den)
DNSFilippo Colombo (Swi)
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