Big comebacks and strong wins at Albstadt XCC race 2022

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The cross country racers are out in Albstadt this weekend for the latest round of the World Cup. With the XCC done, how are things looking for the XCO race tomorrow?

With a 1.2km track with long, steady climb of about 52 metres, a cracking whoop section, some man-made rock features on the descent and some sharp steep corners with multiple options, the XCC race promised a whole range of emotions for both the riders, and the spectators. With some of the big names starting in the rows further back than usual, along with a track that made passing exceptionally hard, the race was well and truly on.

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For about five out of seven laps, the women’s field managed to stick close together, which made the depth of women’s field very evident. Last year’s overall World Cup winner, Loana Lecomte, unfortunately had to pull out mid-race thanks to a crash. The only British rider in this race was the XCO world champion Evie Richards who stuck to the mid-pack and finished 19th. She seemingly hasn’t quite recovered fully from the bug that Trek Factory Racing team caught in Brazil. After an incredibly strong race sticking to the very front the whole way, Rebecca McConnell took a photo-finish win against Pauline Ferrand Prevot. This was her first ever short track win, coming shortly after her first XCO win in Brazil. Jenny Rissveds took the third step on the podium, with the fourth and fifth places going to Alessandra Keller and Jolanda Neff respectively.

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In the men’s field, we saw British rider Tom Pidcock back on the start line on cross country racing. This is the Red Bull rider’s first mountain bike race since the Olympics. Nino Schurter also saw this race as an opportunity to match Absalon’s record breaking 33 cross country World Cup race wins. All three of the previous short track wins at Albstadt were taken by the absent Mathieu van Der Poel who, instead, went on to take the win at Stage 1 of Giro d’Italia. After tough 20 minutes of intense racing, Sam Gaze took the win, making a huge comeback after a double knee surgery. In the photo finish for the second and third places, Jordan Sarrou took the second, and Nino Schurter took the third place. Luca Schwarzbauer took the fourth place, followed by Henrique Avancini in the fifth. Tom Pidcock finished eighth.

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Tomorrow, these riders go again for the XCO World Cup, with exciting prospects. Will Rebecca McConnell continue her winning streak, Olympic champion Jolanda Neff strike again, Pauline or Loana showing us just how strong the French women ride or will we see Evie Richards coming back stronger than ever? In the men’s field, there’s some seriously speedy riders which will for sure make this one a nail biter of a race to watch!

Watch this race live on Redbull TV. Women’s XCO final starts at 10:00 BST and men’s final starts at 13:15.