4 Things We Learned At Vallnord World Cup XC 2019

Jul 9, 2019
by Ed Spratt  
A proper dust bowl of a Men s start.

The third round of the World Cup XC in Vallnord provided historic racing at high altitude and heat. Here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:

1. A great weekend for the smaller XC nations

After Anne Tauber lost the lead in Albstadt, it seemed like we would have to wait a bit longer for a Dutch woman to take a win in XC. But just two rounds later the other Anne from the Netherlands would put it all on the line to hold that title. Terpstra has been looking strong at the opening rounds and at altitude in Vallnord she was able to pull away from last year's series winner Jolanda Neff. Terpstra put an impressive 14-second gap into Neff on a single climb and took the win after crossing the line 38 seconds before the Swiss rider. It was an impressive performance at 2,500 metres from a woman who was born in a country whose highest point is 322 metres.

Anne Terpstra rode with patience and played her cards perfectly.

It was also a great weekend for Mexico with Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo taking sixth in the men's race and Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon grinding out her first podium with fourth in the women's.

2. Last year's World Cup overall winners are back in the thick of it

The opening rounds of 2019 did not go to plan for Nino Schurter and it has actually been his worst start to the year since 2013. In Vallnord, he returned to his winning ways though as he beat Mathias Flueckiger in the final sprint to the finish. He has managed to leap frog both Flueckiger and the absent Van Der Poel in the overall and is now the man to beat for the rest of the season.

Jolanda Neff also made a big step forward in her efforts to retain the overall title. She started the weekend off with a win in the short track though and backed it up with second in the main race meaning she has cut Kate Courtney's lead from 210 to just 75 points this weekend.

Jolanda Neff takes her first win of the season.

3. Riders suffered in the high altitude and heat

Ondrej Cink was setting a blistering pace during the Elite Men's race and managed to build up a lead of over 40 seconds but on the fifth lap he paid the price for pushing so hard. Cink was seen grabbing at his chest and shortly after pulled off into the tech zone. It was later revealed he had suffered a heart arrhythmia and his heart rate spiked to 230bpm. This is something that can occur when putting in maximum effort but it is also a side effect of competing at altitude, hopefully it isn't a symptom of a greater heart issue.

In the women's race, Jolanda Neff also commented on how she felt many riders went too hard at the start. She was a minute back after the first lap in one of her worst ever starts to a World Cup but rode her own race and worked her way up to second as others dropped off or blew up.

Ondrej Cink took fifth today in front of a home crowd.

4. Jenny Rissveds made an emotional return to the podium

The Olympic champion has not podiumed for three years but in her third appearance after a mental health break, she rode a great race to take an emotional fifth place. Jenny has spoken openly about depression, mental health and suicide and said in a finish line interview that this was the first time her self confidence had returned since winning the Olympics. She is trying not to focus on results this season but her talent and hard work shone through and she delivered the most popular result of the weekend. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more from her over the course of the season.

Jenny Rissveds made it known that she is back today. despite a couple hairy moments she had an incredible ride to fifth place.

MENTIONS: @mdelorme / @andy9


  • 85 0
 Jenny Rissveds' biggest accomplishment is letting people know it is ok to talk about mental health issues. If speaking openly as she has about her struggles helps just one other person reach out for help to get out of a dark place then she will always be a champion in my book.
  • 8 0
 This here. Really shows just how much of a champion she is!
  • 20 1
 Ondřej Cink wasn't pushing hard by his standards. He has had this condition for years, so do your research before saying that "he paid the price for pushing so hard".

In 2015 he had the same problem (Val di Sole)

His partner (wife/girlfriend) backed up this information on a recent post

Vallnord heart rate (Strava) HERE

MODE speculation ON: I suspect that his heart condition is the real reason why he only spent one year in Team Bahrain Merida (Road Racing), where riders are subject to more medical controls throughout the year. For people who don't know, Team Bahrain Merida is a big team in the World Tour scene, with a budget bigger than all XCO teams put together.
  • 6 0
 Good info. Many different kinds of tachachardia, but they aren't necessarily exercise induced. My kid (now a collegiate runner) had tach when she was 15. Episodes were totally random, she could not seem to correlate it to anything. But they started to get more frequent and affect her ability and confidence to train. An ablation fixed it.

Ablation procedure was a trip. Whole 'nother discussion.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for this information.
  • 1 0
 @rollingdip: I have a tachachardia, excepts me from being able to serve in the military but is described as annoying and not serious. I get 2-3 episodes a year where my heart will go 240bpm. What I want to add though is if you think you have a heart problem, get it checked. The heart is an amazing bit of kit. but it isn't perfect. Some funny tests can determine if you have an annoyance or something life threatening.
  • 15 1
 Did anyone catch at the end of the men's race the Fleuckiger shrug? So he and Nino go deep into the red, push each other through the wall and when they cross the finish line, Fleuckiger attempts to show some sportsmanship, but Nino is on the ground putting in a dramatic moment for the camera, Fleuckiger hangs for about five more seconds, waiting to give a handshake, then, looks directly to the Red Bull camera, shrugs, and leaves. It was hilarious.

At least Nino didn't do that thing where he circles back around and waits for everyone to cross the line.
  • 4 2
 Nino = sore winner.
  • 5 0
 We saw that too, hilarious.
  • 1 0
 @nouseforaname: RIP Tony Sly
  • 1 2
 When Flückiger sees Nino laying on the ground gasping for air he should be thinking, «doh could ha won this one». Instead it seems like he is thinking, lol, what a joke laying there on the ground. Looks to me like Flückiger doesn't really want to win that much. How someone can get to this level and still be happy about not winning that race when you are so close seems weird to me.
  • 1 0
 @magnusc: Uhhh, you do know he's won this year, right? In one of the grittiest xc world cups in the past few years?
  • 11 0
 That picture of Jenny getting loose is so fucking awsome
  • 1 0
 Great pic indeed! I'm a huge fan of many, but Rissveds' podium was just as special, maybe even more, as my favorite rider winning.
  • 6 0
 It was such an amazing moment to see jenny back on the podium , Hopefully she can take the fight to the top ladies
  • 1 0
 Indeed. I also hope she doesn't just gauges her relevance to how she ranks up against the competition. This weekend she made it onto the podium so that's great. But the competition is just really strong. She could perform equally great next time and just not experience the appreciation just because her fellow racers put on an ever greater show. The article already states that she doesn't focus on results this season and I hope her great performance this time around doesn't trick her into a more competitive spirit. Because setting a goal that's just too high and out of her control could lead to a horrible disappointment. Just enjoy the racing, appreciate the love and respect she's getting for being back in there and appreciate herself for being badass enough to get back in there. I hope she's just getting appropriate guidance. An athlete who has won the Olympics and needs to learn to accept a lower ranking needs different guidance than an up and coming racer who is aiming for the top spot. At this point, I just love to see her ride no matter how she ranks.
  • 3 1
 To be honest stating the Netherlands has a highest point of 322meters makes it sound quite impressive. Anyways, I'm curious to see what Tauber and Terpstra might have in store for the rest of the season!
  • 1 0
 "After Anne Tauber lost the lead in Albstadt". Anne Tauber lost the lead in Nové Město na Moravě. Her best position in Albstadt was second; then she had a crash just before the bridge and finished the race fourth.

"It was an impressive performance at 2,500 metres…", as far as I know, the race track is at 1901 meters, and the highest point of the track doesn't go beyond 2000 meters.
  • 3 1
 And another: "Neff... worked her way up to second." She worked her way up to first, she just didn't stay there very long.
  • 3 1
 1. it was also a big weekend for Brazil, who took an impressive 1st place in short track and an even more impressive 3rd place in xc.... or maybe Brazil is not a smaller xc nation any more?
  • 1 0
 Are you pretending that just now Avencini happens to be one of the best riders in the world?
  • 2 0
 It's weird when you read an article without reading the title, and then wonder where the fifth thing to learn is...
  • 2 0
 5. PB audience does not read titles
  • 2 0
 1. A great weekend for the smaller XC nations*
  • 2 0
 Im so pleased for Jenny! Great result.
  • 1 0
 The men's race was fierce.
  • 1 0
 Did Jenny qualify for the upcoming short track?

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