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Lecomte prevails in muddy Les Gets World Cup

Leona Lecomte takes the win
Leona Lecomte takes the win (Image credit: Getty Images)

Loana Lecomte (Massi) took her fourth consecutive World Cup win on Sunday in the women's XCO before a home crowd in Les Gets, France, becoming only the second woman to win the opening four rounds of the World Cup, after the legendary Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa. The young French rider goes into the Tokyo Olympic race in less than three weeks as the overwhelming favourite. 

Defending Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) came back from a hard crash to take second, while Great Britain's Evie Richards (Trek Factory) had her best-ever World Cup result in third.

The rain that began yesterday during the Downhill turned the course into a muddy, slippery mess. Almost every rider went down at some point, with the off camber grass descents sending riders sliding out of control.

After an uncharacteristically poor 12th place in the short track on Friday, other riders might have thought the Under-23 world champion was vulnerable for the first time this season. Lecomte soon dashed those hopes on the first climb, rolling past Rissveds on the long main climb to establish her usual position at the front. While others were slipping and sliding, Lecomte looked to be in complete control, even eschewing a dropper seatpost for the descents to save weight. Twelve seconds ahead after the first lap, she steadily pulled away through the rest of the race.

Behind, there was a battle for the remaining podium positions. World champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC) took control of second initially, before crashing on the second lap, shortly after Rissveds. While Rissveds took a while to get her rhythm back, Ferrand Prevot was up quickly and battling Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker XSauce) for second. McConnell initially pulled away but then started to have problems with mud in her cleats, enabling Ferrand Prevot to come back. However, Rissveds was back on track and climbing exceptionally well; her splits were faster than Lecomte on the main climb.

The Swedish rider caught the two chasers on Lap 4 of the six lap race, with Ferrand Prevot getting dropped for good and getting caught by the late charging Richards, coming up from a fourth row start. Rissveds then dropped McConnell on the fifth lap and started to pull back time on Lecomte, getting to within 30 seconds at one point, before falling back slightly in the final half lap. Richards held on, despite a late crash, for third ahead of Ferrand Prevot, who caught a fading McConnell for fourth.

"It's very special to race a World Cup in France," said Lecomte, "and I'm very, very happy win in France in front of my family and friends. After Friday's [Short Track] I was a little bit anxious and stressed, but we figured out the solution to the problem - I didn't eat before the race and I was a little bit [fatigued]. But I ate today and I had the strength!"

Rissveds, who walked away from the sport after her Olympic win for two years, battling depression and anxiety, is clearly showing the form she needs to defend her title. 

"It was very tough out there today, I didn't expect it to be this slick. It was crazy, some sections you couldn't even ride. My crash was stupid of me; I didn't check the B-line in training, I was only prepared for the [A-line] drop. And then I heard one minute before the start that the drop was closed so I had to take the other line that I hadn't checked. So I crashed, and it hurt, and I just had to find my pace again."

Evie Richards, despite sliding out on an off camber corner in the final corner, managed to take her first top-3 in a World Cup XCO. 

"I'm so happy, I had all my music playing in the pits this morning; I was buzzing to race. I just had to commit to my own race; it felt a bit like time trial by myself. I ran where I had to and just tried to be consistent. Before the start I was just wanting to be safe for Tokyo, but when the race starts, that just goes out the window, you kind of forget about that."

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Loana Lecomte (Fra) 1:27:23
2Jenny Rissveds (Swe) 0:00:51
3Evie Richards (GBr) 0:01:10
4Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) 0:01:51
5Rebecca Mcconnell (Aus) 0:01:55
6Anne Tauber (Ned) 0:02:27
7Sina Frei (Swi) 0:03:12
8Yana Belomoina (Ukr) 0:03:46
9Ronja Eibl (Ger) 0:03:57
10Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:04:42
11Isla Short (GBr) 0:05:18
12Linda Indergand (Swi) 0:05:29
13Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa) 0:05:39
14Annie Last (GBr)
15Nina Benz (Ger) 0:06:23
16Lena Gerault (Fra) 0:07:04
17Janika Lõiv (Est) 0:07:09
18Kate Courtney (USA) 0:07:15
19Alessandra Keller (Swi)
20Haley Batten (USA) 0:07:22
21Catharine Pendrel (Can) 0:07:28
22Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) 0:07:46
23Martina Berta (Ita) 0:08:11
24Malene Degn (Den) 0:08:33
25Nicole Koller (Swi) 0:08:42
26Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) 0:08:57
27Mariske Strauss (RSA) 0:09:03
28Sandra Walter (Can) 0:09:20
29Katarzyna Solus-Miskowicz (Pol) 0:09:21
30Hélène Clauzel (Fra) 0:09:57
31Perrine Clauzel (Fra)
32Tanja Žakelj (Slo) 0:10:21
33Emily Batty (Can) 0:10:32
34Laura Stigger (Aut) 0:11:19
35Jennifer Jackson (Can) 0:11:33
36Paula Gorycka (Pol) 0:11:50
37Julie Bresset (Fra) 0:12:05
38Lotte Koopmans (Ned) 0:12:07
39Chiara Teocchi (Ita) 0:12:22
40Andrea Waldis (Swi)
41Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)
42Tereza Tvarůžková (Cze)
43Laurie Arseneault (Can)
44Haley Smith (Can)
45Greta Seiwald (Ita)
46Sophie Von Berswordt (Ned)
47Jitka Čábelická (Cze)
48Elisabeth Osl (Aut)
49Chrystelle Baumann (Swi)
50Seraina Leugger (Swi)
51Lucie Urruty (Fra)
52Kelsey Urban (USA)
53Theresia Schwenk (Ger)
54Constance Valentin (Fra)
55Lea Davison (USA)
56Ramona Forchini (Swi)
57Linn Gustafzzon (Swe)
58Steffi Häberlin (Swi)
59Charline Fragnière (Swi)
60Amelie Laquebe (Fra)
61Barbara Benkó (Hun)
62Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spa)
63Gabriela Wojtyla (Pol)
64Joana Monteiro (Por)
65Naama Noyman (Isr)
66Josefina Casadey (Arg)
67Angela Campanari (Ita)
68Kim Ames (Ger)
69Margot Moschetti (Fra)
70Antonia Daubermann (Ger)
DNFAnne Terpstra (Ned)
DNFKarla Štěpánová (Cze)
DNFMichelle Vorster (Nam)
DNSViktoria Kirsanova (Rus)
DNSLia Schrievers (Ger)

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