Skip to main content

Spitz wins Vallnord women's cross country World Cup

Image 1 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) on her way to winning

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) on her way to winning
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 2 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team) wins the elite women's World Cup in Vallnord

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team) wins the elite women's World Cup in Vallnord
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 3 of 36

World Cup leader Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team)

World Cup leader Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 4 of 36

Top team, Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team

Top team, Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 5 of 36

The legs of the winner

The legs of the winner
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 6 of 36

Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team) and her fan club

Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team) and her fan club
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 7 of 36

Eva Lechner (Colnago) had nothing left after finishing

Eva Lechner (Colnago) had nothing left after finishing
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 8 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 9 of 36

Katarina Nash (Luna) attacks with a lap to go

Katarina Nash (Luna) attacks with a lap to go
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 10 of 36

Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team)

Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 11 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 12 of 36

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 13 of 36

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 14 of 36

Adelheid Morath (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)

Adelheid Morath (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 15 of 36

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC)

Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - KMC)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 16 of 36

Elisabeth Osl (Ghost Factory Racing Team)

Elisabeth Osl (Ghost Factory Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 17 of 36

Jolanda Neff (Giant Pro XC Team)

Jolanda Neff (Giant Pro XC Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 18 of 36

Katarina Nash (Luna) leads up the first steep climb

Katarina Nash (Luna) leads up the first steep climb
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 19 of 36

Marianne Vos (Rabobank/Giant)

Marianne Vos (Rabobank/Giant)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 20 of 36

Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)

Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 21 of 36

Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC Team) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC Team) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 22 of 36

The start of the elite women's cross country race in Vallnord, Andorra

The start of the elite women's cross country race in Vallnord, Andorra
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
Image 23 of 36

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) on the podium

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) on the podium
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 24 of 36

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) in action in Andorra

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) in action in Andorra
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 25 of 36

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)
(Image credit: Team Topeak Ergon)
Image 26 of 36

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)

Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)
(Image credit: Team Topeak Ergon)
Image 27 of 36

Elite women's podium at the Andorra World Cup

Elite women's podium at the Andorra World Cup
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 28 of 36

Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol)

Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 29 of 36

Nathalie Schneitter (Colnago-Sudtirol)

Nathalie Schneitter (Colnago-Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Thomas Weschta)
Image 30 of 36

Nathalie Schneitter (Colnago-Sudtirol)

Nathalie Schneitter (Colnago-Sudtirol)
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 31 of 36

The lead group in the elite women's cross country

The lead group in the elite women's cross country
(Image credit: Eduard Aguilera)
Image 32 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team) wins the elite women's World Cup in Vallnord

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team) wins the elite women's World Cup in Vallnord
(Image credit: Eduard Aguilera)
Image 33 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) wins the Andorra World Cup

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) wins the Andorra World Cup
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 34 of 36

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) triumphs in Andorra

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) triumphs in Andorra
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 35 of 36

German national champion Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike)

German national champion Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike)
(Image credit: Armin Küstenbrück)
Image 36 of 36

Elite women's Vallnord World Cup XC podium: Podium: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa, Katerina Nash, Sabine Spitz, Eva Lechner, Tanja Zakelj

Elite women's Vallnord World Cup XC podium: Podium: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa, Katerina Nash, Sabine Spitz, Eva Lechner, Tanja Zakelj
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) made a strong return to competition, after missing the first half of the season due to injury, by winning the fourth round of the UCI Cross Country Mountain Bike World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra. Altitude, heat and strong winds all played a factor in making this one of the hardest races of the season. Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) held onto the women's overall lead with a fifth place result.

Katerina Nash (Luna) set an aggressive pace in the first lap of the women's race, quickly shattering the field. Five riders joined Nash at the front of the race by lap two: Spitz, Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol), Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC) and Jolanda Neff (Giant Pro XC). Zakelj was just behind, but losing ground.

A lap later, both Neff and Wloszczowska were gone, unable to hold the pace. The front four stayed together through most of lap four until Nash attacked, opening a five-second gap as she began the final lap. The Luna rider extended her lead to 10 seconds by the halfway mark of the lap, as the chase began to fall apart.

Spitz, who is just back from shoulder surgery that took her out of action just before the start of the World Cup season, began to surge in the final two kilometres, catching Nash in the final 600 metres as the pair entered the last section of singletrack before a short climb to the finish.

Spitz, the 2008 Olympic champion, put in a last effort over the final 200 metres to take her first World Cup win since 2002, finishing just one second in front of Nash, with Lechner at four seconds and Dahle Flesjaa at nine seconds - one of the closest finishes in recent history.

"With the headwind, nobody wanted to go into the lead," said Spitz. "Eight weeks ago I crashed on my home course in Albstadt [before the World Cup], and, yeah, it's amazing to win. I never expected to come back like this."

"I had hoped for a top ten place...but this win is unbelievable. It [the win] means so much because when you have an accident and have to go out of competition, then you are not sure how your fitness is when you get back to the World Cup circuit. It means so much to me."

Zakelj now leads the women's World Cup standings with 790 points, with two races remaining. Lechner moves up from third to second, 160 points back, and Nash moves up a spot to third, a further 15 points in arrears.

Full Results

Elite women cross country
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sabine Spitz (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team1:26:54
2Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team0:00:01
3Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol0:00:04
4Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:00:09
5Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:01:24
6Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:01:35
7Jolanda * Neff (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team0:01:49
8Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:02:20
9Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Calcit Bike Team0:02:32
10Julie Bresset (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC0:02:43
11Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Giant Pro XC Team0:02:54
12Esther Süss (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team0:03:05
13Adelheid Morath (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team0:03:09
14Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:03:20
15Hanna Klein (Ger)0:03:23
16Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:04:01
17Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Team Colnago Sudtirol0:04:43
18Jacquelina Alvarez (Arg)0:05:17
19Corina Gantenbein (Swi) Fischer-BMC0:05:38
20Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team0:05:47
21Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)0:05:52
22Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team0:06:13
23Marianne Vos (Ned)0:06:18
24Annika Langvad (Den) Team Davinci - Specialized0:06:26
25Agustina Maria Apaza (Arg)0:08:17
26Elisabeth Sveum (Nor)0:08:37
27Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC0:08:57
28Sabrina Enaux (Fra)0:09:20
29Githa Michiels (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team0:09:40
30Nadine Rieder (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:09:58
31Fanny Bourdon (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise0:10:20
32Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Specialized Racing XC0:10:25
33Jitka Skarnitzlova (Cze)0:10:44
34Anna Villar Argente (Spa)0:10:51
35Judy Freeman (USA)0:11:06
36Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spa)0:11:11
37Lee Craigie (GBr)0:11:16
38Ann Berglund (Swe)0:11:39
39Barbara Benko (Hun) Focus XC Team0:12:26
40Oksana Rybakova (Rus)0:13:15
41Lucia Vazquez Crespo (Spa)0:15:38
42Joana Barbosa (Por)0:15:55
-2lapsElvira Khayrullina (Rus)
DNFKate Fluker (NZl)
DNFSamara Sheppard (NZl) Toka Print MTB Team
DNSEmily Batty (Can) Trek Factory Racing

Elite Women Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team67pts
2Ghost Factory Racing Team64
3Luna Pro Team46
4Team Colnago Sudtirol46
5Giant Pro XC Team44
6Multivan Merida Biking Team30
7Unior Tools Team28
8BH - SR Suntour - KMC25
9Calcit Bike Team22
10Wheeler - Ixs Team19
11Topeak Ergon Racing Team18
12Fischer-BMC12
13Team Davinci - Specialized7
14Toka Print MTB Team2

Elite women individual World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior Tools Team790pts
2Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol630
3Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team615
4Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Giant Pro XC Team580
5Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team495
6Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing Team456
7Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team449
8Adelheid Morath (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team406
9Emily Batty (Can) Trek Factory Racing390
10Jolanda * Neff (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team386
11Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team375
12Esther Süss (Swi) Wheeler - Ixs Team365
13Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team328
14Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Calcit Bike Team298
15Lea Davison (USA) Specialized Racing XC292
16Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team267
17Sabine Spitz (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team250
18Annika Langvad (Den) Team Davinci - Specialized250
19Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Specialized Racing XC244
20Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team244
21Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Team Colnago Sudtirol242
22Corina Gantenbein (Swi) Fischer-BMC242
23Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost Factory Racing Team236
24Hanna Klein (Ger)218
25Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol) Bi&Esse Carrera194
26Sabrina Enaux (Fra)194
27Vera Andreeva (Rus) Team Protek182
28Githa Michiels (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team180
29Mary Mcconneloug (USA)168
30Pauline * Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Giant Pro XC Team164
31Daniela Campuzano (Mex)154
32Marianne Vos (Ned)150
33Annie Last (GBr) Trek Factory Racing141
34Julie Bresset (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC124
35Anna Villar Argente (Spa)123
36Jacquelina Alvarez (Arg)117
37Fanny Bourdon (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise104
38Nina Wrobel (Ger)99
39Nadine Rieder (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing Team95
40Mikaela Kofman (Can) Scott-3Roxracing90
41Agustina Maria Apaza (Arg)88
42Katarzyna Solus-Miskowicz (Pol)88
43Lene Byberg (Nor)84
44Judy Freeman (USA)81
45Nataliya Krompets (Ukr) ISD MTB Team79
46Jitka Skarnitzlova (Cze)79
47Lee Craigie (GBr)79
48Anja Gradl (Ger) Team Bulls79
49Barbara Benko (Hun) Focus XC Team79
50Kate Fluker (NZl)78
51Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)77
52Paula Gorycka (Pol) 4F Racing Team75
53Chengyuan Ren (Chn)74
54Elisabeth Sveum (Nor)74
55Anna Szafraniec (Pol)70
56Serena Calvetti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop70
57Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC68
58Amanda Sin (Can) Scott-3Roxracing66
59Samara Sheppard (NZl) Toka Print MTB Team64
60Elvira Khayrullina (Rus)57
61Kateryna Naberezhna (Ukr) ISD MTB Team49
62Judith Pollinger (Ita)48
63Franziska Brun (Swi)45
64Katherine O'neill (NZl)44
65Lucia Vazquez Crespo (Spa)41
66Lucie Vesela (Cze)39
67Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spa)34
68Erin Huck (USA)34
69Nikki Harris (GBr)32
70Ann Berglund (Swe)30
71Sarah Koba (Swi) JB Felt Team29
72Oksana Rybakova (Rus)28
73Irina Slobodyan (Ukr)28
74Joana Barbosa (Por)26
75Anna Oberparleiter (Ita)23
76Andréanne Pichette (Can)18
77Laura Metzler (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC18
78Helle Qvortrup Bachmann (Den)17
79Hielke Elferink (Ned)14
80Lenka Bulisova (Cze)13
81Ruth Owen-Evans (GBr)12
82Asuman Bura Balci (Tur)11
83Laura Turpijn (Ned) SBJ Bike Team8

Elite Women World Cup Team Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giant Pro XC Team226pts
2Luna Pro Team226
3Ghost Factory Racing Team226
4Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team170
5Team Colnago Sudtirol151
6Unior Tools Team138
7Trek Factory Racing105
8Specialized Racing XC95
9Multivan Merida Biking Team89
10Wheeler - Ixs Team79
11Topeak Ergon Racing Team68
12Calcit Bike Team55
13Team Davinci - Specialized37
14Fischer-BMC33
15Bi&Esse Carrera31
16BH - SR Suntour - KMC25
17Team Protek25
18Toka Print MTB Team14
19ISD MTB Team8
20Scott-3Roxracing5
214F Racing Team1

Latest on Cyclingnews