XCO Round 4 Albstadt - Sunday Finals

Jun 1, 2014
by Irmo Keizer  
Thousands of spectators, shouting, screaming, cheering for the riders. Kids, teens and elderly walking up and down the course. Nervous riders, warming up in their pits and making last-minute changes to their setups. This is it. This is the big day at the World Cup - Sunday. Men's U23 are up first, as they fire up their engines for the 2014 UCI Albstadt Mountain Bike World Cup. Take your seats...

Good morning Albstadt. Dark clouds line the sky as race day is about to start. Will it hold
  Good morning Albstadt. Dark clouds line the sky as race day is about to start. Will it hold?

Race day means lots of work for support crews. The day s schedule is written down at the Betch.nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team.
  Race day means lots of work for support crews. The day's schedule is written down at the Betch.nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team.

The most wanted numberplate in races. Many strive few succeed.
  The most wanted number plate in races. Many strive, few succeed.

Tarmac provides a fast start for the men s U23 race.
  Tarmac provides a fast start for the men's U23 race.

Victor Koretzky and Jordan Sarrou of BH Suntour KMC lead the men s U23 race at the 2nd lap.
  Victor Koretzky and Jordan Sarrou of BH Suntour KMC lead the men's U23 race at the 2nd lap.

Yes riders suffer on this course. Big time. Bart de Vogt of Belgium gave it all.
  Yes, riders suffer on this course. Big time. Bart de Vogt of Belgium gave it all.

Canada s number one rider in the men s U23 Leandre Bouchard making his way down the Albstadt drop. He finished in 6th.
  Canada's number one rider in the men's U23, Leandre Bouchard making his way down the Albstadt drop. He finished in 6th.

 letmemakeavideowhichiwillnevereverusewithmyipad
  #letmemakeavideowhichiwillnevereverusewithmyipad

Michiel van der Heijden chases an unleashed Jordan Sarrou.
  Michiel van der Heijden chases an unleashed Jordan Sarrou.

Michiel managed to stay on Jordan up untill this point - the Shimano climb.
  Michiel managed to stay on Jordan up until this point - the Shimano climb.

Cheering on your fellow country men does make a difference. Making noise at races should be mandatory.
  Cheering on your fellow country men does make a difference. Making noise at races should be mandatory.

Jordan Sarrou walks away from the podium after adding another win to his palmares.
  Jordan Sarrou walks away from the podium after adding another win to his palmares.

Emily Batty in a cheerful mood prior to the start of her race.
  Emily Batty in a cheerful mood prior to the start of her race.

Jolanda Neff is FAST at starts. She took lead but had to let Pauline Ferrand Prevot go shortly after.
  Jolanda Neff is FAST at starts. She took lead, but had to let Pauline Ferrand Prevot go shortly after.

An estimated 15 000 spectators came to see sunday s action. I had to do my own race through these crowds.
  An estimated 15,000 spectators came to see Sunday's action. I had to do my own race through these crowds.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot. Road racer She s pretty good at mountainbiking putting three minutes into the rest of the field.
  Pauline Ferrand Prevot. Road racer? She's pretty good at mountain biking, putting three minutes into the rest of the field.

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa has been around since back in the days . This veteran is one tough cookie pulling into second in Albstadt.
  Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa has been around since 'back in the days'. This veteran is one tough cookie, pulling into second in Albstadt.

Albsdadt XCO 2014

Maja Wloszczowska and Jolanda Neff push hard in an effort to catch up.
  Maja Wloszczowska and Jolanda Neff push hard in an effort to catch up.

With Pauline out of sight the interesting part of the race took part a bit back. Alexandra Engen Rebecca Henderson Emily Batty and Katerina Nash push each other.
  With Pauline out of sight, the interesting part of the race took part a bit back. Alexandra Engen, Rebecca Henderson, Emily Batty and Katerina Nash push each other.

No contest. Pauline Ferrand Prevot is queen of the women s elite kingdom.
  No contest. Pauline Ferrand Prevot is queen of the women's elite kingdom.

The elite women s podium.
  The elite women's podium.

Anxiety in the pits prior to the elite men s race at the Trek Factory Racing.
  Anxiety in the pits prior to the elite men's race at the Trek Factory Racing.

Julien Absalon changing with minutes to go for the start.
  Julien Absalon changing with minutes to go for the start.

Pit girls at mountainbike races Shimano provided their Di2 riders with this extra service. Seemed to attract plenty of photographers.
  Pit girls at mountain bike races? Shimano provided their Di2 riders with this extra service. Seemed to attract plenty of photographers.

Pick a line at start. Sounds easy but as Albstadt consists of a lot of singletrack you just have to go flat out.
  Pick a line at start. Sounds easy, but as Albstadt consists of a lot of singletrack, you just have to go flat out.

Nino Schurter was off to a terribly fast start. For a while it seemed he would be unchallenged.
  Nino Schurter was off to a terribly fast start. For a while it seemed he would be unchallenged.

Emil Lindgren chasing Julien Absalon. The Swedish rider had an awesome start.
  Emil Lindgren chasing Julien Absalon. The Swedish rider had an awesome start.

This is how busy it was. Julien Absalon climbs in first position now to the top of the Albstadt course.
  This is how busy it was. Julien Absalon climbs, in first position now, to the top of the Albstadt course.

Nino Schurter chasing Julien Absalon.
  Nino Schurter chasing Julien Absalon.

Sven Nys Belgium cyclo-cross legend got all excited about that 1x thing and got treated to this setup by Shimano and Trek Factory Racing. Sven had to settle for 15th.
  Sven Nys, Belgium cyclo-cross legend got all excited about that 1x thing and got treated to this setup by Shimano and Trek Factory Racing. Sven had to settle for 15th.

This man Fabian Giger made the race. Schurter and Absalon suffer as he powers up the climb.
  This man, Fabian Giger, made the race. Schurter and Absalon suffer as he powers up the climb.

No more Schurter as Giger and Absalon pull away.
  No more Schurter as Giger and Absalon pull away.

St phane Tempier and Maxime Marrote flowing down trail river.
  Staphane Tempier and Maxime Marrote flowing down trail river.

Paul van der Ploeg sprint monster does not shave his legs. His answer to a member of the press who shouted shave your legs Paul was I m a man .
  Paul van der Ploeg, sprint monster, does not shave his legs. His answer to a member of the press who shouted 'shave your legs Paul!' was 'I'm a man'.

Absalon kept an incredible pace throughout the race.
  Absalon kept an incredible pace throughout the race.

Like father like son His dad is one fast man.
  Like father, like son? His dad is one fast man.

Giger is one of few riders in the men s field opting to ride a 2x setup. He made it work.
  Giger is one of few riders in the men's field opting to ride a 2x setup. He made it work.

All in a World Cup game. Photographers line the course in Albstadt.
  All in a World Cup game. Photographers line the course in Albstadt.

Supporting Moritz. Yet still proudly Swiss.
  Supporting Moritz. Yet still proudly Swiss.

Yes you could get Germnay s famous Currywurst everywhere on the course.
  Yes, you could get Germany's famous Currywurst everywhere on the course.

Win number 29. Julien Absalon is the biggest name in XC mountainbiking.
  Win number 29. Julien Absalon is the biggest name in XC mountainbiking.

One proud daddy. And one proud sun.
  One proud daddy. And one proud son.

No comments...
  No comment...

Fabian Giger 4 Nino Schurter 2 Julien Absalon 1 St phane Tempier 3 and Moritz Milatz 5 .
  Fabian Giger (4), Nino Schurter (2), Julien Absalon (1) Staphane Tempier (3) and Moritz Milatz (5).

BMC is your number one team. Thanks Albstadt its been exciting.
  BMC is your number one team. Thanks Albstadt, its been exciting.



56 Comments

  • + 43
 Hilarious. Any one of the 150+ who lined up today would embarrass you on a bike, uphill or down.
  • + 6
 ^This.
  • - 9
flag Fuglio (Jun 1, 2014 at 20:40) (Below Threshold)
 no some of those dudes looked down right awkward on the 3 ft step down. but for the most part yes they are all very talented riders with just a few exceptions
  • + 8
 Next time you try a 3' stepdown set your seat as high as it goes and see how natural it feels
  • - 7
flag Fuglio (Jun 2, 2014 at 6:56) (Below Threshold)
 all I hear is excuses
  • + 24
 thanks to this article, i have decided to get electric everything, so ill have hot chicks following me around with umbrellas.
  • + 1
 Is anyone keeping track of the top 10 comments of the year? If so, be sure to add ^^this^^ one to the list.
  • + 9
 I'm glad XC has a few folk willing to stick a finger up at the 'established cycling order', Paul van der Ploeg, Matco Fontana with his baggy shorts... if all XC thought like these guys, it'd be a whole lot more of an attractive sport.
  • + 29
 Why? Because then you'd feel more comfortable? Shave your legs or don't; wear baggies or don't. Why do you care what others wear?
  • - 7
flag fabdemaere (Jun 1, 2014 at 12:34) (Below Threshold)
 Not because it's comfortable, but because it makes the riders look better. It's hard to attract masses when everyone in the sport looks like an asexual sack of bones covered in Lycra.
  • + 19
 Fabdemaere, have you ever noticed how many people turn up to watch pro-tour roadies and how much money they get paid? Nobody cares how you dress when you're the fastest in the world.
  • - 21
flag fabdemaere (Jun 1, 2014 at 13:02) (Below Threshold)
 I don't know about you, but I think roadies look way better than xc guys. Watching a pack of 200 guys zoom by at 55kph looks way more impressive than that lonely guy on wagon wheels sitting in the saddle and spewing his lungs out on a climb.
  • + 6
 Yeah the only reason that the Cannondale team wears baggies is because of this magical thing called sponsorship money.
  • + 1
 Not true pedalfast-huckgnar, otherwise everyone on the team would race in baggies. Anton Cooper still rides in full lycra, and still rides faster than any of us.
  • + 5
 why is this conversation being maintained ? About 0 % of that crowd gives 0 fcks about the shaved / non shaved feet of the cyclists.
  • + 1
 Respectfully this is my opinion. I regret that I didn't put more thought into the wording of my original comment. It was aimed less at those who do and more at those who judge. While I'm aware that there's plenty of DH/Freeride 'Bros' out there who'd gladly take the piss all day about lycra/shaved legs, I couldn't particularly care what someone else is wearing.

I used to enjoy XC racing. And i used to wear baggies and not shave my legs, mostly out of self-consciousness, I might add. What I didn't enjoy was the judgemental attitude of the vast majority of people I met while involved. Perhaps I was unlucky in who i met in my local races, but the guys i met there were the most judgemental i've met in mountain biking. I was met with the attitude of 'if you don't dress/eat/drink/shit like us then you're not welcome here'.

My comments are aimed more at those in the cycling community that continue to force this issue - such as the journalist that called out 'shave your legs' to Paul van der Ploeg - than they are at those highly successful XC racers who choose to dress like this.
  • + 1
 "...it'd be a whole lot more of an attractive sport"
So you would like to see Emily Batty wearing baggy shorts? because it's more attractive??
  • + 5
 Pauline was amazing again. I think the rest of the field will be happy when she goes back to road racing. Smile Seeing her success it would be nice to see Peter Sagan to jump in for a race or two.
  • + 3
 and she wad killing the downs. wrecked fell off the bike and still wins by 3min
  • + 3
 Yes, and all three pretty Liv/Giant girls were very impressive especially on the downs, they must have an excellent training program as all three finished in top 10. Jolanda blew her chance for second place in the first lap when she was trying to go with Pauline but she did great at the end. Really good stuff! Smile
  • + 1
 You're right, the Liv/Giant XC team has actually had some training sessions with Giant's DH coach (can't remember the name), the guy who has also worked with Danny Hart.
  • + 2
 Oscar Saiz
  • + 1
 "Giger is one of few riders in the men's field opting to ride a 2x setup. He made it work."

Actually he is a fully sponsored Shimano rider and one of three riders running the new XTRDi2 (Julian Absalon and Dan McConnell were the others) so there was not really anything for him to do to make it work. That is what the last five years development and testing has been about. One right hand shifter (or the left if you want to roll that way) and it shifts through the ratios sequentially. Faster, more accurate and stronger shifts than the cable system.

Enjoy the fact that you are overing the XC which is pretty awesome to watch, as they have mad skills as well (and XC races are now a better format, more exciting courses, laid out for TV coverage and spectator access and not two hours of incremental snail racing) but at least learn something about it so you are not posting thoughtless and inaccurate captions.
  • + 2
 I migt just know one or two things more about this. Ask Giger, he'll tell you, then get back to me Wink .
  • + 5
 Awesome coverage, I kinda felt like being there!
  • + 2
 They made it less technical for sure, at least 90% of the race course was smoother than van der Ploegs legs... and Sven Nys might have won if he used his old CC bike instead.
  • + 3
 Only thing I saw there was .... PIT GIRLS woohhhhaaa....
  • + 5
 what pit girls? I'm stuck at Emily Batty
  • + 2
 Just don't go for a ride with her, as you could see she doesn't take prisoners Smile Truly amazing girl!
  • + 2
 Funny last picture - 'Absalon was here'...
  • + 2
 are those custom carbon Bontrager wheels on Sven Nys' bike
  • + 2
 Yes, they look like prototypes. Tubular, etc.
  • + 2
 awesome i love my road tubulars. i want them
  • + 1
 It took me about 10 minutes to read that hashtag.
  • - 2
 Good to see some real mountain biking, none of that clown freak show dirt jumping redbull inspired really should be on a BMX you spotty slanted cap wearing ballbag knob-end.
  • - 1
 Go back to mtbr.
  • + 1
 Go back to your sandpit.
  • - 3
 Talk about speed 0_0
Absalon was a monster... and hopped off his bike after this race as fresh as a rose!!
Tinhat theories, anyone?
Vive la France Smile
  • - 6
flag TejasXC (Jun 1, 2014 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 I got a little suspicious of Absalon today...Maybe hes just a super human monster, but i think he could be doping
  • + 6
 What a ridiculous comment. He's won more races than anyone in this manner and has been tested 100's of times and never failed a test.

I've seen Nino win a number of races the same way and he doesn't even have the typical physic of an XC racer. Explain that...

What about Pauline's ride? 3 minutes up. You think she's doping too? Get back under your bridge looser.
  • + 2
 You do know there are ways to get past drug testing? Hate to burst your bubble, but the whole cycling world is full of people doping. "Get back under your bridge looser"
  • + 2
 So you assume everyone is guilty? What is the point of you watching this race? How do you know who is doping and who isn't?

That thought process just puts a cloud of negative shit over the entire concept of racing. Everyone must be considered clean unless they test positive. Regardless of the tests, masking agents or previous positive tests.

Anyway even if Absalon doped, he's still achieved a 1000x more than you ever will. So piss off with your negative BS idiot.
  • + 3
 No dope, nothing indicates otherwise so just enjoy the show!
  • + 3
 Ridiculous comments. Doping could be as much a benefit to downhillers/enduros as XC racers. But there is lycra involved, so all bets are off...
  • - 6
flag DH-not-XC (Jun 2, 2014 at 2:32) (Below Threshold)
 @paulbenjamin Only doping going on in DH is weed. We don't gotta cheat like these roadie/XC dorks.
  • + 3
 Chill pill guys and gals.
I was just attempting some humour, otherwise I wouldn't have put a smily there now, wouldn't I?
Absalon was a speed monster and Nino got punished for his hubris in a game-of-thrones way.
That's all.
G'nite
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