Quiet and unassuming for most of the year, the small town of Albstadt roars into life every May when the Mercedes-Benz UCI Cross-Country World Cup comes to town. The racing in Albstadt is far from sleepy however and there's always fireworks on the track when the Cross-Country Short Track race (XCC) and Cross-Country Olympic (XCO) races for both the women and men comes to town.
What happened at the 2021 Albstadt World Cup
Watch the replays below and scroll on to find out what happened in the races from Albstadt.
- UCI MTB World Cup Albstadt XCC – Watch the replay
XC short track – Albstadt
- UCI MTB World Cup Albstadt XCO Women final – Watch the replay
Women's XCO final – Albstadt
- UCI MTB World Cup Albstadt XCO Men final – Watch the replay
Men's XCO final – Albstadt
The cross-country World Cup season for 2021 opened up in Albstadt with the XCC races for the men and women on the customary Friday evening slot for the contests. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot came out top in the women's race after she overhauled lone breaker Switzerland's Linda Indergand on the last lap. Britain's Annie Last finished third. For the men, Mathieu Van der Poel’s raw power drove him to the win, with Victor Koretzky in second and Nino Schurter in third.
XC short track recap – Albstadt
The main XCO racing on Sunday took place in warm conditions. For the women, Loana Lecomte dominated the race, leading from the opening lap to the last. The French rider finished the race almost a minute ahead of her compatriot Ferrand-Prévot. Haley Batten sprung a surprise by nipping past fellow American Kate Courtney to take third.
The men's race came down to a final lap battle between Victor Koretzky and Nino Schurter. Frenchman Koretzky won out in the sprint to the line to secure his first World Cup win.
Albstadt 2021 – Men's XCO finish
Mathias Flückiger managed to hold off Ondřej Cink for third place despite suffering a mechanical problem during the last lap. The men's race also saw an incredible performance by Tom Pidcock. The Brit started on the 11th row when the race started but worked his way through the field to finish in fifth place.
XCO highlights – Albstadt
What was the 2021 track like?
In many ways it's an old-fashioned one. Albstadt's 4km track's technicality is relatively low compared to some of the later rounds. Correspondingly, though, the average speed is brutally high, so close racing is guaranteed.
The race starts on the town streets and then heads up into the neighbouring forest before it rolls back into town again on the start/finish straight. The course has two standout steep and long climbs and it's here where the race is ultimately won or lost. It's a narrow course as well, making it hard to overtake. A good starting position is essential.
Get a better idea of what the 2021 Albstadt course is all about in the video below:
Albstadt XCC track preview with Nadine Rieder
The weather can also be unpredictable in Albstadt and races here have had their fair share of rain-affected days in the past. A lot of work has gone in to making the course more weatherproof in recent years however, with north shore-style wooded sections added in 2019. One modification worth noting for 2021 compared to what was ridden on here in 2019 is that the Albstadt Drop section, which is just after the midway part of the course, has been altered so there is lower entry speed into the descent there.
Where are we?
Albstadt can be found in south-west Germany, south of the Swabian Alb mountains and halfway between Stuttgart and Lake Constance. The geography of the area, with its open meadows, undulating hills and dense forests, makes it a great place to visit for those looking for some summer mountain biking. The bikepark, which is where the World Cup is held, is an obvious attraction to those who visit.
The town itself is home to 44,000 inhabitants and sizeable percentage of them come out to watch Germany's only World Cup stop. There will be no crowds this year, of course, but the hope is that 2022 will see a return of fans to the venue.
The 2021 pre-season form book
Going into the 2021 season there's still quite a bit of uncertainty about how the athletes will perform with life, training and racing still hampered by the global situation. The good news is that there's been some racing in Europe in the Spring, so those athletes who've wanted to race have found events to compete at.
Evie Richards took the win at the Super Massi Cup event in Spain in February, while more recently in April, Anne Tauber took a win at the XCO race at the Ötztaler Mountainbike Festival, where most of the top women athletes were competing. Mathias Flückiger won the men's race at Ötztaler, beating Nino Schurter, who was second. Henrique Avancini also has a win under his belt, beating Schurter in a sprint finish at the Capoliveri Legend Cup in Italy, where Kate Courtney won the corresponding women's race.