Photo Epic: XC Elite Men & Women - World Championships 2018

Sep 9, 2018
by Irmo Keizer  


What an incredible day of racing. It seemed like the whole nation of Switzerland came out to support Jolanda Neff and Nino Schurter. Throngs of spectators filled the woods and the pit row here in Lenzerheide. They came for a show and they got one. Unfortunately for Jolanda Neff, a win here in Lenzerheide was not in the cards today. Annika Langvad seemed she would take an easy win until the final laps with Kate Courtney nipping at her rear wheel. When Langvad slipped on the root-strewn Motorex climb, Courtney pounced and rode away to take the win. Nino Schurter had another epic battle with Gerhard Kerschbaumer going back and forth lap after lap until Nino made his move and took off for the finish line. Schurter had the crowd at a deafening roar when he crossed the line.

Swiss guns.

Kate Courtney had already shown herself up front with the worlds fastest ladies but today she became the world s fastest.
Kate Courtney had already shown herself up front with the worlds' fastest ladies, but today she became the world's fastest.

The Swiss were out in force today.
The Swiss were out in force today.

With moments to go Jolanda Neff is relaxed and ready.
With moments to go, Jolanda Neff is relaxed and ready.

Hop Hop. Isn t that what rabbits do
Hop Hop. Isn't that what rabbits do?

Always the fastest starter. Neff took off.
Always the fastest starter. Neff took off.

Emily Batty left nothing out on course. The Canadian had a stellar ride to third today.
Emily Batty left nothing out on course. The Canadian had a stellar ride to third today.

Annika Langvad had the power but when it came down to it the technical riding got the best of her.
Annika Langvad had the power, but when it came down to it the technical riding got the best of her.

Jolanda Neff the crowd favorite had to settle for fourth today. She was not capable to fight for that top spot today but it will only fuel her hunger for more titles.
Jolanda Neff, the crowd favorite, had to settle for fourth today. She was not capable to fight for that top spot today, but it will only fuel her hunger for more titles.

It might have been a sign that bright red sparkle in the middle.
It might have been a sign, that bright red sparkle in the middle.

Maja Wloszczowska is always a strong contender at World Champs. She wanted more but still rode to an impressive 5th.
Maja Wloszczowska is always a strong contender at World Champs. She wanted more, but still rode to an impressive 5th.

Clearly tacos and sparkle watts are key ingredients to a winning World s recipe. Kate Courtney had what it took when it counted.
Clearly, tacos and sparkle watts are key ingredients to a winning World's recipe. Kate Courtney had what it took when it counted.

Kate Courtney played her hand perfectly and pounced when the time was right.
Kate Courtney played her hand perfectly and pounced when the time was right.

Gunn Rita leads Pendrel on lap five. Gunn Rita had a win in Andorra and was a dark horse here in Lenzerheide.
Gunn Rita leads Pendrel on lap five. Gunn Rita had a win in Andorra and was a dark horse here in Lenzerheide.

Annika Lanvad leads before Courtney.
Annika Lanvad leads before Courtney.

Kate Courtney brought a little shock and awe to this race.
Kate Courtney brought a little shock and awe to this race.

What a ride for Kate Courtney.
What a ride for Kate Courtney.

The air is thin here in Lenzerheide and Batty was gasping at the end of that effort.
The air is thin here in Lenzerheide and Batty was gasping at the end of that effort.

So close to another title.
So close to another title.

Proud mom amp dad.
Proud mom & dad.

Your women elite podium- Courtney Langvad Batty.
Your women elite podium- Courtney, Langvad, Batty.

Sweet victory.
Sweet victory.

Pre-race chill as per usual.
Pre-race chill as per usual.

Lars Forster prior to the start.
Lars Forster prior to the start.

Giving high fives to the crowd whilst you should be in the startbox Schurter was relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere before the start.
Giving high fives to the crowd whilst you should be in the startbox; Schurter was relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere before the start.

This guy got the more cowbell memo.
This guy got the "more cowbell" memo.

The men s field is off.
The men's field is off.

Gerhard Kerschbaumer has had a hell of a season and had a hell of a ride today. But Nino had the advantage today.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer has had a hell of a season, and had a hell of a ride today. But Nino had the advantage today.

Henrique Avancini finishes out a stellar season with a fourth place here in Lenzerheide.
Henrique Avancini finishes out a stellar season with a fourth place here in Lenzerheide.

Schurter blazes ahead.
Schurter blazes ahead.

Crowds everywhere in Lenzerheide. Those who were late got stuck in a three hour traffic jam up the mountain.
Crowds everywhere in Lenzerheide. Those who were late got stuck in a three hour traffic jam up the mountain.

Mathieu van der Poel had a solid ride from the second row. He took third today.
Mathieu van der Poel had a solid ride from the second row. He took third today.

Florian Vogel is one the most consistent riders out there. A 5th in the worlds.
Florian Vogel is one the most consistent riders out there. A 5th in the worlds.

The champ on home soil. Practically his home town. There was no other outcome really. This crowd carried him.
The champ on home soil. Practically his home town. There was no other outcome really. This crowd carried him.

One of many back and forths between Nino and Gerhard.
One of many back and forths between Nino and Gerhard.

Gerhard Kerschbaumer might be the man to watch for the coming year. Silver for the Italian.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer might be the man to watch for the coming year. Silver for the Italian.

And the crowd roared with him.
And the crowd roared with him.

Nino Schurter - world title number seven.
Nino Schurter - world title number seven.

Kerschbaumer congratulates Nino at the end of a well fought battle.
Kerschbaumer congratulates Nino at the end of a well fought battle.

Your men elite podium- Schurter Kerschbaumer van der Poel. Looks like Bart was right on this one.
Your men elite podium- Schurter, Kerschbaumer, van der Poel. Looks like Bart was right on this one.


Van der Poel Kerschbaumer and Schurter.
Van der Poel, Kerschbaumer and Schurter.

That concluded the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships XCO in Lenzerheide. We've witnessed racing at its best in the midst of tens of thousands of spectators. Tomorrow, we will return for the downhill World Championships. Hop Suisse!


59 Comments

  • + 58
 MVDP in 2018: podium at cx worlds, European road champs, and mtb xc worlds. And I think current Dutch champion on road, cx, and mtb.

This kid is a legend.
  • + 15
 Stylish on a DJ bike, too. And he’s only 23!
  • - 10
flag RoadRunner13 (Sep 9, 2018 at 9:58) (Below Threshold)
 And Schurter, one try on the road, one disaster haha. VDP is a true cyclist, period.
  • + 8
 @RoadRunner13: agree. And nino is true mountainbiker, period.
  • + 3
 Neff is quite handy with a CX bike as well. Something to be said there, great fitness required.
  • + 32
 Congratulations Emily on her bronze!!! Doing all us Canucks proud!!!
  • + 30
 Great coverage, fellas! I'm sure the roar was incredible in person when Nino crossed the line. That shot of Kate with her folks post-race...amazing.
  • + 10
 Thanks, appreciate it. The crowds were second to none, incredible. Made it a challenge for us as it became very hard to get anywhere, but it sort of worked out at least. Kate and her parents; great to see their emotions.
  • + 13
 yeah, impressed with the xc riders, so much suffering, so high saddles! most weekend-warriors would be happy to ride those xc tracks on their enduro rigs. and shuttle the uphill parts.
  • + 16
 I guess Nino's only remaining threat is father time.
  • + 9
 What a privilege to be in and amongst that crowd. Clearly XC is not dead in Switzerland. Contrasts starkly with my last National XC race in the UK where they didn't even have an event photographer.
  • + 8
 So awesome to see Kate win. It's her 1st year in elite. She brought the heat and won fair and square against the odds. I love it when an underdog comes through.
  • + 8
 Sooo much pain! These XC racers are insane Wink
  • + 7
 The women’s race was the best MTB race that I’ve watched in ages.
  • + 12
 Watch the women's World Cup final. That was the best MTB race I've ever seen!
  • - 20
flag Skarhead89 (Sep 9, 2018 at 11:22) (Below Threshold)
 Actually it was not very good race, women have a verry big strugle on the technical parts of the course, very low speed on the roots, only Kate was good on these sections, and when you see the men race SPEED SPEED SPEED, no droppers and incredible technique.
  • + 6
 2 great races, alarm set for tomorrow.
  • + 1
 After seing Kate take the win and Yolanda in 4th, I thought the pressure of home soil was going to have the same effect on the men's race. Watching the battle between Nino and GK was incredible! Funny to see Nino put down his Tissot watch on the podium as soon as he got it, and then posing with his Breitling in evidence! It's great for athlete to have support from prestigious brands like these, but I think my Garmin watch is better suited for riding!!
  • + 3
 what happened to Anton Cooper?
  • - 6
flag RedRedRe (Sep 9, 2018 at 3:55) (Below Threshold)
 What happened to him? He probably finished 10th-20th as usual.
  • + 4
 Yaaaaay Emily!!!
  • + 2
 Nice scrub from Nino over the jump!
  • + 2
 You Ess Ay!!!!
  • + 1
 Amazing Nino!
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