Elite Women Short Track:
Loana Lecomte (Massi) won the women's short track race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Leogang, Austria, on Friday. She finished ahead of Rebecca McConnell and Jolanda Neff, who were second and third, respectively.
The 20-minute races offer half the World Cup points of a cross-country (XCO) and the top 24 finishers (of the 40 rider field) make up the first three rows on the start line for Sunday's XCO. Leogang's one-kilometre track was called by many riders the toughest ever, starting with a long, steep grassy climb, followed by a section through a pump track and then a switchback descent to the finish line.
The women's race had a full field of the top riders, with only American Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) missing, due to a broken armed suffered at the previous round. Local favourite Laura Stigger (Specialized) jumped into the lead on the first lap, but quickly fell back by Lap 2 (of seven). Lecomte, the winner of the first two rounds of the XCO series and the World Cup leader, then moved to the front and rode away on the climb.
World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC), Australian champion Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker XSauce) and Swiss champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) took turns setting the pace of the chase, but none could make a dent in Lecomte's lead. In the penultimate lap, Ferrand Prevot was the first to crack, leaving McConnell and Neff alone in the chase. McConnell then attacked Neff on the last lap and began to reel in Lecomte, but ran out of track, finishing four seconds back. Lecomte padded her lead in the overall standings, and now leads Haley Batten (Trinity Racing) by 200 points, with Ferrand Prevot a further 55 points back.
"I'm very happy to win my first Short Track," said Lecomte, who won the U23 XCO world title in Leogang last Fall. "Since the last World Cup I have not been racing, so today I just wanted to see what is my shape [form]. The big goal of the season [Olympics] is just more than one month away, so I am very happy with how this went. When I saw the track, I went 'Oh my God!'; I didn't want to race today. With Pauline [we discussed that] on the first climb [Lap 1] we didn't want to go full out, because it would be too hard to finish the race."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Loana Lecomte (Fra)||0:21:10|
|2||Rebecca McConnell (Aus)||0:00:04|
|3||Jolanda Neff (Swi)||0:00:11|
|4||Jenny Rissveds (Swe)||0:00:26|
|5||Haley Batten (USA)||0:00:30|
|6||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra)||0:00:32|
|7||Sina Frei (Swi)|
|9||Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa)||0:00:41|
|10||Ronja Eibl (Ger)||0:00:42|
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