The women’s Cross-Country World Cup once again saw the standings shuffled after round five in Val di Sole, Italy on Saturday. There was a fifth winner in five events, with Maja Wloszczowska (CCC Polkowice) outsprinting Canada's Catharine Pendrel (Luna) to win only the second World Cup of her career. Pendrel regained the lead in the overall standings after losing it a week earlier during a mechanical-plagued race in Champéry, Switzerland.
After Willow Koerber (Subaru-Trek) led the field out of the start loop and onto the first of four laps, Pendrel went to the front and launched an attack late in the first lap. By the top of the climb on the second lap she had an eight second lead on a group containing her team-mate Katerina Nash, world champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon), Swiss rider Esther Süss, Wloszczowska and American Katie Compton. Koerber was struggling just off the back of the group, and Lechner had fallen well off the pace.
A lap later, and Pendrel had been joined by Wloszczowska, with the chasers down to Kalentieva, Compton and Nash. Nash was fading, but would hold onto fifth, while Kalentieva and Compton were still less than 20 seconds from the lead duo going into the final lap. This forced the front pair to keep working hard together throughout the lap, until the final flat section, when Wloszczowska launched an attack that Pendrel could not respond to, rolling in five seconds ahead of the Canadian.
"It was my aim to get on the podium," said Wloszczowska, "I really like the track here but I didn't expect to win. It feels really good to win my second World Cup (the first was in Schladming 2008). I got to Catharine on second to last lap and we worked together. So I have to thank her for my win."
Pendrel was disappointed not to win, but happy to come back from her poor showing a week earlier, and take back the leader's jersey. "I just knew that I could be strong here," she said. "I wanted to have a strong race after everything that happened last week. When Maja came up to me it was both good and bad. Good because we could work together on the flat sections, and bad because obviously she was riding really well. But I'm really happy to take back the World Cup leader's jersey, and now I just want to hold it through the final race."
Pendrel commented that she wants to break "the jersey curse", that has seen every leader this year lose the jersey the race after donning it. She now leads the World Cup with 794 points, followed by Lechner at 740 and Willow Koerber with 735. One race remains in the series, at Windham, New York, in late August. For full round 5 results and more pictures, visit www.cyclingnews.com.