Grassy climb, quick descent and techy corners. XCC racing is intense as ever!
About the track
The track for short track racing in Leogang is 1km long with 47m of ascent. The riders start on gravelly ground and, within a few metres of starting, head straight onto some soggy grass, into a left hand turn, up an off camber climb. After a few twists and turns, the riders go up and over a bridge, which looks rather steep to climb up.
This bridge is where the bunch splits up into smaller groups, as the riders slow down to go over the bridge and it can be easy to get stuck behind someone on something that steep. They go down straight into a pump track, diagonally, only to go under that very bridge into some corners, which have well-built berms, but seem alright to take a straight line through. Then, they take a left hander hair pin bend into some puddly gravel section back to the start line to finish the first lap.
The top 5 in women’s race were Loana Lecomte, Anne Terpstra, Caroline Bohé, Alessandra Keller and Rebecca McConnell. McConnell started strong, pretty much leading the first 4 laps, before Lecomte overtook her and started putting some distance in between herself and the group. By the time, she was 14 seconds up, the fight for second place seemed to be well and truly on. This is Lecomte’s second XCC win at Leogang. The final lap saw Terpstra move into second place and finish strong, with Caroline Bohé, her Ghost teammate finish third.
McConnell still hold onto that leader’s jersey for XCC World Cup overall ranking. In her own words, this race was an indication to how Sunday’s race will go.
Evie Richards, still struggling with her back issues, decided to give this race a miss. Another person to choose not to race was Pauline Ferrand Prevot, as she lands into an important training block towards her goals for this season.
Mathias Flückiger absolutely killed it in the short track World Cup, taking the win by 11 seconds. This is his second XCC win in a row at this venue. Vlad Dascalu finished second and Vital Albin had his best career finish, finishing third. Avancini led the first 5 laps, before being overtaken. He finished fourth. Dascalu fell behind to fourth in the 5th lap after a brief moment of having to dab his foot to the ground at the bridge, for which he made up in the remaining laps to finish strong.
The current series leader Luca Schwarzbauer had a bit of a tricky race. In his post-race social media post, he says “Nothing came together today. Struggled in many different facets… but I will be back”. He still hold onto the leader’s jersey by a meagre three points.
Sam Gaze, the XCC World Cup winner at round 2 was taken down by a crash in the first lap. Nino Schurter maintained his position in the group for pretty much the whole race, finishing 11th.
But, what will Sunday bring?
The previously rainy forecast is meant to clear up. You know what that means….. Peanut butter mud, anybody?
Last year Loana Lecomte won by XCO here by almost 2 minutes, and Mathias Flueckiger by 14 seconds. With strong opening performances by both of them, there’s no doubt that there’ll fire come Sunday!
Will Rebecca McConnell continue her winning streak? Will Nino Schurter get his 34th XCO World Cup win?
The XCO action from Leogang can be followed live on Red Bull TV:
- The Women’s Elite final will be broadcast on Sunday, 12 June, at 12:00 (CEST)
- The Men’s Elite final will be broadcast on Sunday, 12 June, at 14:30 (CEST)
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