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Ferrand Prevot and Flückiger prevail in Les Gets short track races

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

After a break of nearly a month, the Mountain Bike World Cup resumed this weekend in Les Gets, France, for Round 4, the final major event before the Olympics in approximately three weeks. The competition began on Friday evening with the 20-minute Short Track (XCC), with world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC) taking the women's win before a home French crowd. Men's World Cup leader Mathias Flückiger (Thomas RN Swiss Bike) extended his lead in the men's series with his second consecutive short track victory.

Unlike earlier rounds that were dominated by climbing, the one-kilometre Les Gets circuit provided a mix of climbing, switchback descending and technical rock sections. This kept the races very tight until the final few laps.

The women's race was controlled in the early laps by 2016 Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden), who set a hard enough tempo on the early climbing of each lap that others were content to follow. Ferrand Prevot, World Cup leader Loana Lecomte (Massi), Linda Indergand (Liv Factory) and Sina Frei (Specialized) all jockeyed for position behind Rissveds, but no one made a serious attempt to attack and open a gap. It wasn't until the final lap that Ferrand Prevot launched a strong effort on the climb and Rissveds was unable to respond. Frei also went by the fading Swedish rider to take second. Lecomte, the winner of the previous round of the XCC, faded to finish 12th but retains the overall lead. Ferrand Prevot remains second but has closed the gap slightly in the standings.

"It was a tough race and also a technical one," said Ferrand Prevot. "I wanted to stay as much as possible at the front of the race, but I didn't want to take the lead because we had a headwind at the finish line. When Jenny attacked with two laps to go I could follow her, and on the last lap, I knew I could attack. After that, I had a little gap and I just had to manage the rocks. I'm happy because I am feeling better and better, as we get closer to the Olympics."

Although round 1 and 2 short track winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) is busy defending the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, the men's race did see the return of his rival Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers). Pidcock won round 2 of the cross country, but then broke his collarbone in a training accident, missing round 3. This was his first mountain bike race since late May.

Anton Cooper (Trek Factory) took the early lead, followed by world champion and local favourite Jordan Sarrou (Specialized), European champion Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM), Ondrej Cink (Kross Orlen) and Flueckiger. While all of these riders launched attacks, no one could get a gap, with Cink spending the most time on the front. Pidcock gradually moved his way up to fourth before making a mistake on Lap 6, overlapping wheels with Sarrou and crashing. He recovered to finish 16th.

Cink tried a number of attacks as the number of remaining laps dwindled, but couldn't shake Flueckiger, who finally launched his own attack on the penultimate ninth lap. This proved to be the winning move. Flückiger opened a small gap heading into the final lap and, while Sarrou made a heroic effort, urged on by French fans, the Swiss rider held on for his second XCC win of the season ahead of Sarrou, with Cink in third. Flückiger padded his lead in the standings, with Cink remaining second and Victor Koretzky (KMC-Orbea) third.

"I attacked in the second to last lap and I could see at the finish line at the start of the last lap that I had a little gap," said Flückiger. "Then I knew I could do it, but I suffered a lot. I tried just to follow Ondrej [Cink] as he made the pace and I was lucky that I could draft on his wheel. But I knew that I had to attack on the second last lap, so I did it."

Flückiger revealed that he has been staying at altitude for the past month, in St Moritz, Switzerland, as he prepares for Tokyo, even going so far as to sleep in an RV at the top of the pass before descending to Les Gets for the race. He will return to St Moritz right after Sunday's XCO.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathias Flueckiger (Swi) 0:19:34
2Jordan Sarrou (Fra) 0:00:01
3Ondřej Cink (Cze) 0:00:03
4Luca Braidot (Ita) 0:00:04
5Alan Hatherly (RSA) 0:00:05
6Maximilian Brandl (Ger) 0:00:08
7Victor Koretzky (Fra) 0:00:10
8Maxime Marotte (Fra) 0:00:11
9Nino Schurter (Swi) 0:00:13
10Daniele Braidot (Ita) 0:00:14
11Milan Vader (Ned)
12Jens Schuermans (Bel) 0:00:16
13David Valero Serrano (Spa) 0:00:17
14Simon Andreassen (Den) 0:00:18
15Filippo Colombo (Swi) 0:00:19
16Thomas Pidcock (GBr) 0:00:20
17Anton Cooper (NZl) 0:00:22
18Thomas Griot (Fra) 0:00:23
19Manuel Fumic (Ger) 0:00:26
20Nadir Colledani (Ita)
21Titouan Carod (Fra) 0:00:27
22Christopher Blevins (USA) 0:00:28
23Leandre Bouchard (Can)
24Erik Hægstad (Nor) 0:00:29
25Peter Disera (Can)
26Reto Indergand (Swi) 0:00:31
27Vlad Dascalu (Rom) 0:00:33
28Georg Egger (Ger) 0:00:36
29Bartlomiej Wawak (Pol) 0:00:46
30Jofre Cullell Estape (Spa) 0:00:48
31Nicholas Pettina' (Ita) 0:01:10
32Jan Škarnitzl (Cze) 0:01:13
33Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) 0:01:16
34Lars Forster (Swi)
35Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) 0:01:19
36Thomas Litscher (Swi) 0:01:26
37Stephane Tempier (Fra) 0:01:27
38Sebastian Fini Carstensen (Den)
39Andri Frischknecht (Swi)
DNFLukas Flückiger (Swi)

Elite Women
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) 0:20:28
2Sina Frei (Swi) 0:00:04
3Jenny Rissveds (Swe) 0:00:13
4Linda Indergand (Swi) 0:00:15
5Alessandra Keller (Swi)
6Laura Stigger (Aut) 0:00:19
7Greta Seiwald (Ita)
8Kate Courtney (USA) 0:00:21
9Anne Tauber (Ned) 0:00:25
10Jitka Čábelická (Cze) 0:00:26
11Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:00:29
12Loana Lecomte (Fra) 0:00:31
13Janika Lõiv (Est)
14Lena Gerault (Fra) 0:00:32
15Sandra Walter (Can)
16Annie Last (GBr)
17Rebecca Mcconnell (Aus) 0:00:35
18Ronja Eibl (Ger)
19Mariske Strauss (RSA) 0:00:36
20Nicole Koller (Swi) 0:00:37
21Barbara Benkó (Hun) 0:00:38
22Catharine Pendrel (Can)
23Haley Batten (USA) 0:00:39
24Sophie Von Berswordt (Ned) 0:00:41
25Jennifer Jackson (Can) 0:00:43
26Anne Terpstra (Ned) 0:00:44
27Lea Davison (USA)
28Yana Belomoina (Ukr) 0:00:48
29Martina Berta (Ita) 0:00:52
30Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa) 0:01:05
31Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:01:11
32Malene Degn (Den) 0:01:17
33Emily Batty (Can) 0:01:24
34Chiara Teocchi (Ita) 0:01:49
35Elisabeth Osl (Aut)
DNFRamona Forchini (Swi)
DNFEvie Richards (GBr)
DNFPaula Gorycka (Pol)
DNFHaley Smith (Can)
DNSJulie Bresset (Fra)

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