The Vallnord ski resort in Andorra played host to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup this weekend, with round 4 of the cross-country and eliminator and round 3 of the downhill being contested.
The eliminator races took place on 25 July and saw two new faces atop the podium. In the women's race, Swiss rider Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike) triumphed in the big final over Swedish pair Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing Team) and Jenny Rissveds, with Jolanda Neff (Giant Pro XC Team) finishing fourth.
Stirnemann was unbeaten in qualification and in the heats, but had to come from behind in the last 500m of the final to claim the win. Stirnemann now trails Engen by 10 points in the World Cup standings.
In the men's eliminator it was Belgian Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) topping the podium ahead of Catriel Soto (Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing), Titouan Ganier (Focus/Rotor/Coaching-System.fr) and Simon Gegenheimer. Daniel Federspiel (5th) kept his lead in the World Cup despite not making the final.
Kathrin Stirnemann wins the women's eliminator
The cross-country events saw more familiar faces take the top spots. Olympic champ Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) took the men's race ahead of Ondrej Cink (Multivan Merida) and Stéphane Tempier (BH-SR Suntour-KMC).
Schurter was pushed hard in the race, flatting on the first of six laps and missing the early break of 10, which contained U23 world champion Ondrej Cink. Schurter made it back to the group at the end of the second lap with Cink leading solo. Over the next four laps Schurter closed down the gap and was able to attack on the last lap to win by six seconds. He has a practically unbeatable lead in the World Cup standings, having won three out of four races with two more to come.
In the women's race, Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) won in a tight finish ahead of Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida). The quartet had ridden clear of the rest on the second and third laps, with world cup leader Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) chasing hard, ultimately finishing fifth.
On the final lap, Nash had a five-second gap over the rest, but Spitz, making her comeback from a shoulder operation, rode her down and proved too strong in the final 200m.
Sunday's downhill races saw British duo Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) and Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Downhill Team) finish first and second in the women with Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction) third. Atherton's winning run was a full 1.5 seconds quicker than Carpenter's and it strengthened her lead in the World Cup standings. She now leads Emmeline Ragot by 205 points.
In the men's downhill, Commencal's Rémi Thirion scored a big win over Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) with Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles.com/Nukeproof) finishing third. Thirion's run was also 1.5 seconds better than Atherton's but the latter did end up increasing his lead in the World Cup. Gee now has 680 points, with Steve Smith second on 477 points and Greg Minnaar third on 391 points.
For full results, report and photos of the Vallnord Mountain Bike World Cup, visit Cyclingnews.com.
|Elite men's eliminator|
|1 Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Alanya|
|2 Catriel Andres Soto (Arg) Wild Wolf Trek Pro Racing|
|3 Titouan Perrin Ganier (Fra) Focus/Rotor/Coaching-System.fr|
|4 Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)|
|Elite women's eliminator|
|1 Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team|
|2 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team|
|3 Jenny Rissveds (Swe)|
|4 Jolanda Neff (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team|
|Elite men cross-country|
|1 Nino Schurter (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team||1:27:07|
|2 Ondrej Cink (Cze) Multivan Merida Biking Team||0:00:06|
|3 Stéphane Tempier (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC||0:00:11|
|4 Maxime Marotte (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC||0:00:31|
|5 Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) Tx Active Bianchi||0:00:45|
|6 Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team||0:00:51|
|7 Florian Vogel (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team||0:01:15|
|8 Julien Absalon (Fra) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||0:01:19|
|9 Miguel Martinez (Fra)||0:01:25|
|10 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:01:36|
|Elite women cross-country|
|1 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team||1:26:54|
|2 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:00:01|
|3 Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol||0:00:04|
|4 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team||0:00:09|
|5 Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior Tools Team||0:01:24|
|6 Katrin Leumann (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing Team||0:01:35|
|7 Jolanda * Neff (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team||0:01:49|
|8 Alexandra Engen (Swe) Ghost Factory Racing Team||0:02:20|
|9 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Calcit Bike Team||0:02:32|
|10 Julie Bresset (Fra) BH - SR Suntour - KMC||0:02:43|
|Elite men downhill|
|1 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction||0:04:13.67|
|2 Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing||0:04:15.02|
|3 Samuel Hill (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles.com / Nukeproof||0:04:15.42|
|4 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing||0:04:15.94|
|5 Troy Brosnan (Aus) Specialized Racing DH||0:04:16.14|
|6 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate||0:04:16.21|
|7 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team||0:04:16.64|
|8 Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic||0:04:17.21|
|9 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Giant Factory Off-Road Team||0:04:17.64|
|10 Aaron Gwin (USA) Specialized Racing DH||0:04:18.04|
|Elite women downhill|
|1 Rachel Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing||0:04:47.78|
|2 Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team||0:04:49.40|
|3 Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction||0:04:59.23|
|4 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic||0:05:00.45|
|5 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Gstaad-Scott||0:05:05.83|
|6 Morgane Charre (Fra) MS Mondraker Team||0:05:14.04|
|7 Tahnee Seagrave (GBr) FMD Racing / Intense Cycles||0:05:14.44|
|8 Jill Kintner (USA) Team Norco International||0:05:17.69|
|9 Fionn Griffiths (GBr)||0:05:31.30|
|10 Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Gstaad-Scott||0:05:35.04|