The fourth round of the World Cup XC in Les Gets provided some exciting racing, here are four things we noticed from the sidelines:
Kate Courtney was born in 1995, Jolanda Neff was born in 1993, Pauline Ferrand Prevot was born in 1992, and Sina Frei was born in 1997. Elisabeth Brandau, born in 1985 is the only rider in the top 5 who wasn't born in the 90s.
After winning all but two Under 23 races last year, Sina Frei came into 2019 looking for a greater challenge in the Elite ranks. Frei made the jump up to Elite despite still being young enough to compete in Under 23 category and so far she has found great success among the best in the world. She currently sits 5th in the overall with 11th, 4th, 9th and 4th place finishes in the four rounds raced this year. Frei is definitely going to be a rider to watch in the next few years and she will be favourite for the Rainbow stripes when she moves back down to her age category for Worlds in September.
Mathieu Van der Poel had an amazing start to the year getting the most points of any rider in rounds one and two but decided to skip the third round in Vallnord. For Les Gets he returned and, with the track being far less technical than previous rounds, everyone had predicted a good result. When Friday's Short Track race came around he proved everyone right with a mind-blowing display of speed as he took a commanding win. Sunday's race didn't quite go to plan though, and he ended in a rather disappointing 16th place despite some blistering lap times.
Add up all his results and he still sits in 3rd for the 2019 overall title. He is only 16 points behind Henrique Avancini and 260 off Nino Schurter though and is showing that the addition of valuable short track overall points can definitely shake up the leaderboard at the end of the season.
We last visited Les Gets 15 years ago for the 2004 World Championships and it's probably best remembered for Julien Absalon taking the title on home turf but in the Junior race, Nino Schurter also crossed the line first in his first year racing on the international circuit.
Fast forward to 2019 and Schurter took the win again with a commanding final lap that saw him create a significant gap to Kerschbaumer who had no answer for the Swiss' final burst of speed. Last weekend's race also saw Nino reach 32 World Cup wins, putting him only one win behind Absalon's all-time record. It has taken Schurter 15 years but he's finally on the verge of equalling the French legend.
Last year we saw Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå stand on the top of the World Cup podium in Vallnord and Elisabeth Brandau got a podium in Albstadt. Again this year, in Les Gets, Elisabeth Brandau proved that was no fluke with a third place, while Nino Schurter, who also has a daughter, won the men's race.