French double win at the UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup in Leogang

Friday, 16.06.2023

French double win at the UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup in Leogang

As the dust settles following the EDR & E-EDR in Austria’s biggest bike region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, there’s Elite action in the XCC and DH at the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Austria.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Jordan Sarrou get the job done in imperious fashion in the Cross-country short track whilst the Elites and Juniors take to the downhill track.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot strikes Austrian gold in the short track event
With anyone in the front row capable of a win, and as Swedish National Champion Jenny Rissveds (TEAM 31 IBIS CYCLES CONTINENTAL) proved last week, almost any rider in the pack up for it as well, the Elite Women’s short track event promised to be another thrilling race. Defending champion Alessandra Keller (THÖMUS MAXON) and winner in Nové Město, Austria’s Laura Stigger (SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING) would be looking to add to their tally of victories.
Five laps of the short track course lay between the riders and victory. The track itself bone dry but with rain made the descents treacherous. It would be World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (INEOS GRENADIERS) who would power to victory here in Austria with a final lap attack. Five seconds separated her from second place Puck Pieterse (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) from The Netherlands, with Great Britain’s Evie Richards (TREK FACTORY RACING XC) taking the bronze medal position.

After the race Pauline Ferrand-Prévot said: “Finally I am here and I won today. I am really happy. I tried to be smart and not push too much at the start. I knew I had to attack with two laps to go. It worked, so I'm really happy. When I saw Puck and Evie at the front, I knew I had to close the gap. I tried to recover after catching up to them. I knew I had to attack Puck before the last climb, and managed to get a few metres on her, so I just went full gas from there. It's still super hard, but it was a good win and it's great for Sunday.”

Results XCC Elite Women Top 5:
1.    Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (FRA | INEOS GRENADIERS) 20:37
2.    Puck Pieterse (NED | ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) 20:42
3.    Evie Richards (GBR | TREK FACTORY RACING XC) 20:44
4.    Anne Terpstra (NED | GHOST FACTORY RACING) 20:45
5.    Jenny Rissveds (SWE | TEAM 31 IBIS CYCLES CONTINENTAL) 20:55

Overall XCC World Cup Standings Top 5:
1.    Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (FRA | INEOS GRENADIERS) 560 Points
2.    Alessandra Keller (SUI | THÖMUS MAXON) 490 Points
3.    Puck Pieterse (NED | ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) 470 Points
4.    Laura Stigger (AUT | SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING) 456 Points
5.    Jenny Rissveds (SWE | TEAM 31 IBIS CYCLES CONTINENTAL) 452 Points

Jordan Sarrou on ruthless form in Leogang
All eyes would be on the man who likes to lead from the front, Luca Schwarzbauer (CANYON CLLCTV) after his win in Lenzerheide, but the Elite field has no shortage of talent, as proven by Nino Schurter (SCOTT-SRAM MTB RACE TEAM) claiming a record-breaking win last weekend in Switzerland. Tom Pidcock (INEOS GRENADIERS) would not be present in Leogang. 

Yet another hectic race saw France’s Jordan Sarrou (TEAM BMC) get the better of Germany’s Luca Schwarzbauer (CANYON CLLCTV) in an elbow-to-elbow race that could have seen any one of the front row taking the gold. Latvia’s Martins Blums (KMC MTB RACING TEAM) would have to settle for third.

Jordan Sarrou had this to say about his win: “It's amazing, I wanted this so much and finally it's happened. I'm so happy. I managed the race really well, I waited until the last lap. I enjoyed the last descent because I'd opened a gap to second place. I'm happy for the whole team, we work really hard just to be here. It's a reward for all the hard work. The course here is so physical, this win is great for Sunday. I tried to save as much energy for Sunday as possible. I am in good condition, but I want to enjoy this win, recover tomorrow and go full gas again on Sunday.”

Results XCC Elite Men Top 5:
1.    Jordan Sarrou (FRA | TEAM BMC) 21:08
2.    Luca Schwarzbauer (GER | CANYON CLLCTV) 21:10
3.    Martins Blums (LAT | KMC MTB RACING TEAM) 21:11
4.    Jens Schuermans (BEL | GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM – XC) 21:13
5.    Alan Hatherly (RSA | CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING) 21:15

Overall XCC World Cup Standings Top 5:
1.    Luca Schwarzbauer (GER | CANYON CLLCTV) 610 Points
2.    Jordan Sarrou (FRA | TEAM BMC) 560 Points
3.    Luca Braidot (ITA | SANTA CRUZ ROCKSHOX PRO TEAM) 355 Points
4.    Mathias Flückiger (SUI | THÖMUS MAXON) 338 Points
5.    Jens Schuermans (BEL | GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM – XC) 335 Points

Davide Palazzari and Valentina Höll take the first Elite downhill points in Austria
After testing out the new downhill format last weekend, the downhill Elites would have to check their notes and go again in Leogang. A short, sharp rainstorm rolled in just before the Elites took to the track. Rachel Atherton (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) could match Anne-Caroline Chausson’s 41 World Cup victories this weekend if she walked away with a gold here.

Reigning World Champion Valentina Höll (ROCKSHOX TREK RACE TEAM) set the marker for the weekend, mastering the changing conditions to take the fastest time in qualifying ahead of Switzerland’s Camille Balanche (DORVAL AM COMMENCAL). German Champion Nina Hoffman (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) rounded out the podium in third.

In the Elite Men’s race, another storm halted qualifying with heavy rain and wind affecting the course. It was Davide Palazzari (ROGUE RACING – AFTER SKULL TEAM) who would get the best of the conditions, pipping Great Britain’s Matt Walker (MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM) into second, with France’s Ian Guionnet hot on their heels in third. South Africa’s Greg Minnaar (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) and Great Britain’s Charlie Hatton (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) missed the top 60 cut but will advance to the semi-finals thanks to their protected status.

Results DH Elite Women Top 5:
1.    Valentina Höll (AUT | ROCKSHOX TREK RACE TEAM) 3:32.941 
2.    Camille Balanche (SUI | DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) 3:34.96 
3.    Nina Hoffman (GER | SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 3:37.265 
4.    Monika Hrastnik (SLO | DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) 3:38.626 
5.    Tahnée Seagrave (GBR | CANYON CLLCTV FMD) 3:40.224 

Results DH Elite Men Top 5: 
1.    Davide Palazzari (ITA | ROGUE RACING – AFTER SKULL TEAM) 3:11.755 
2.    Matt Walker (GBR | MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM) 3:11.998 
3.    Ian Guionnet (FRA) 3:12.926 
4.    Johan Garcin (FRA | SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY) 3:14.217 
5.    Loris Revelli (ITA | CANYON CLLCTV PIRELLI) 3:15.655 

Lisa Bouladou and Léo Abella take the top spots in Leogang
In the Junior women’s race, France’s Lisa Bouladou took her first win of the year, crossing the line five seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Aimi Kenyon (PINKBIKE RACING). USA’s Riley Miller finished third. Winner in Lenzerheide Erice Van Leuven (COMMENCAL LES ORRES) would be last rider down but would crash out before the first split.

France’s Léo Abella (COMMENCAL LES ORRES) put down a solid run before the rain came, with a gap of 2.4 seconds back to Bodhi Kuhn (TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) in second, who was the fastest of the riders who started after the downpour. The bronze medal went to Spain’s Daniel Castellanos Liberal. 

Lisa Bouladou had this to say about her win: “I am very happy to take the win today. I felt good on the bike all week. The guys at Commencal helped me a lot with the bike and on the track, so I had a lot of fun.”
Léo Abella had this to say about his win: “It's my first World Cup win, a big thank you to my mechanic and to the Commencal Les Orres team.”

Results DH Junior Women Top 5:
1.    Lisa Bouladou (FRA) 3:41:640
2.    Aimi Kenyon (GBR | PINKBIKE RACING) 3:46:724
3.    Riley Miller (USA) 3:49:225
4.    Valentina Roa Sanchez (TRANSITION FACTORY RACING) 3:50:530
5.    Vanesa Petrovská (SVK | NS BIKES UR TEAM) 3:51:468

Results DH Junior Men Top 5:
1.    Léo Abella (FRA | COMMENCAL LES ORRES) 3:11:177
2.    Bodhi Kuhn (CAN | TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) 3:13:624
3.    Daniel Castellanos (ESP) 3:14:076
4.    Henri Kiefer (GER | CANYON CLLCTV PIRELLI) 3:14:803
5.    Rafaël Pelletier (FRA | CANYON CLLCTV PIRELLI) 3:15:575