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The moments from the XCO World Cup at Lenzerheide that got everyone talking
The fifth round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup in Switzerland is a wrap. Watch the replays to catch up on the key moments.
The penultimate stop of this year's Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup was held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, a venue famed for its relentless track and its incredible fanbase. Crowds lined the track, all out to watch the action and cheer on home Swiss riders, Jolanda Neff and Nino Schurter.
Replay the XCO action from Lenzerheide
Get the results from the cross-country race in Les Gets and the overall standings for the World Cup here.
Evie Richards secures her first Elite World Cup win
Women's XCO finish – Lenzerheide
She may be wearing the rainbow stripes of the XCO World Champion, but young Brit Evie Richards still hadn’t won an Elite World Cup race. This weekend her luck changed, and she was able to add another gold to her trophy cabinet when she sprinted away with the win at Lenzerheide.
Richards' winning move was made with two laps to go as she attacked on the climb, passing Sina Frei and Rebecca McConnell. McConnell fought hard to close the gap but didn’t manage to get close to Richards, who crossed the line and collapsed on the ground in shock and joy a full 19 seconds ahead of second-placed McConnell.
Henrique Avancini got a boost from his short track win
By his own admission, this has been a poor season for the Brazilian, but there were signs from this weekend that Henrique Avancini was feeling more like his old self. On Friday, he took the short track (XCC) win, managing to find the legs to outsprint Mathias Flückiger.
Men's XCC finish – Lenzerheide
A win can do wonders for confidence, and Avancini looked revitalised in the main race. He was able to stay with a group of riders at the front of the six-lap race, only fading in the last lap as the pace picked up at the front. He finished sixth in the end and can now look forward to Snowshoe with renewed optimism in a couple of weeks.
Rissveds and Richards were the woman to watch in the XCC
Lenzerheide XC short track recap
Coming into the short track racing (XCC), all eyes were on Sina Frei, the newly crowned XCC short-track World Champion, but her ambitions in the race were cut short when she got tangled with another rider in the opening lap. Jenny Rissveds and Loana Lecomte were the main riders for the majority of the race, joined by Jolanda Neff, Anne Tauber and Evie Richards.
With one lap to go, Rissveds, Neff and Richards emerged as frontrunners, but Neff couldn’t keep the pace as Richards attacked up the hill. Rissveds dug deep and advanced away from Richards, sending her across the line mere seconds ahead of the Brit and securing her second XCC win.
Victor Koretzky showed his earlier World Cup win at Albstadt was no fluke
Outside of World Cup overall leader Mathias Flückiger, no one’s had a more consistent season than Frenchman Victor Koretzky. Koretzky started the season with his first World Cup win at Albstadt, in Germany, and has since managed to place well in some of the short track races. In the two big one-off races of the year, Koretzky excelled. A fifth place in Tokyo was followed by a bronze medal at the World Championships.
Coming into Lenzerheide, he knew his legs were super strong to do something at this race. A third at the XCC race proved a great confidence boost, and in the main race, he showed he was the strongest rider out there, making a decisive winning move as he, Flückiger and Nino Schurter all battled for the win on the last lap. Now, as a two-time World Cup winner, it’s time we talked about Koretzky as one of the sport’s leading riders.
The battle to be the men's top Swiss rider lived up to its billing
Mathias Flückiger has been having the World Cup season of his life (with wins in Leogang and Les Gets) so far and had, until the World Championships, probably been the number one Swiss rider ahead of Nino Schurter. Schurter, of course, won the Worlds with Flückiger finishing second in a battle between the two that went down to the last moments of the race.
Post-Worlds, there was some fallout from the race. Flückiger expressed unhappiness on his Instagram account at Schurter’s takeover manoeuvre in Val di Sole. As a result, Sunday’s main race in Lenzerheide had some extra spice added to it, with the two expected to battle it out for the win. It wasn’t to be for both of them, with Koretzky taking victory. Still, another race-changing moment was when the two were chasing the Frenchman and saw a takeover manoeuvre from Schurter on Flückiger that had everyone holding their breath.
Schurter managed to nip past Flückiger on an inside move at a corner with Flückiger nearly hitting a tree – it was that tight at the corner [watch that moment from 2:37 in the video below]. Schurter finished second with that move, and thankfully there were no issues between the two riders at the end of the race.
Men's XCO finish – Lenzerheide
Lecomte takes the Overall Title
France’s Loana Lecomte has taken the Overall Title for the cross-country women with still one race to go this season. A well-deserved title to hold for a rider that had won every single XCO race this year up until the Lenzerheide race, where she placed fourth.
At the end of the race, the 22-year-old seemed to be in discomfort and was clutching her side. This came after having had to cancel her involvement in the World Champs due to gastro sickness. But the fourth place was enough to secure her the points to walk away with the women’s field’s overall title, such a great achievement for the Frenchwoman who only entered the elite field in 2020.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot finishes her season early
Writing that she felt deeply tired both mentally and physically, she said that her body wasn’t recovering from training and decided to stop her season before doing damage to her body. Sending support to the rest of the field, she enjoyed chips and a spritz while the others did race recon, proving that even the biggest XCO stars know that listening to your body is the best result in the long run.