Finals Photo Epic: Brawling in the Dust - Les Gets World Cup XC 2019

Jul 14, 2019
by Matthew DeLorme  


Photo Epic presented by Topeak


After a game of cat and mouse, Nino Schurter takes the win for the men in Les Gets while Kate Courtney walked away with the win for the women. The dust was high, and the pace was fast with the elite women racing 7 laps and the men 8 on the climbing course. Kate Courtney came back from a rough weekend in Andorra guns blazing first taking the win in short track, then getting out in front and putting thirty-three seconds into second place finisher Jolanda Neff. Neff had a rough start and fought her way from somewhere around eighth place to finish second. Elisabeth Brandau from Germany took third after a strong performance in the short track Friday. For the men, the assumption was that the course suited Mathieu Van Der Poel, but MVDP was lagging and would find himself mid-pack before moving up with some blistering lap times. MVDP finished sixteenth. Gerhard Kerschbaumer took second after taking the lead for a stint, with Nino letting him do the work before making his move. Henrique Avancini continued to show amazing form and rode to third place. Now at midseason, we take a short break and move on to Val di Sole in two weeks.

Evie Richards warms the legs up in the cool morning air.
Evie Richards warms the legs up in the cool morning air.

Ronja Eibl ready for the start. The course in Les Gets seemed perfectly suited for her.
Ronja Eibl ready for the start. The course in Les Gets seemed perfectly suited for her.

Evie Richards out in front in the early laps.
Evie Richards out in front in the early laps.

Laura Stigger rode to third today in the U23 women s race.
Laura Stigger rode to third today in the U23 women's race.

Ronja Eibl takes another win in the U23 women s race.
Ronja Eibl takes another win in the U23 women's race.

Kate Courtney took a moment of quiet before going out and stomping on the competition.
Kate Courtney took a moment of quiet before going out and stomping on the competition.

The dust was flying as the women took off.
The dust was flying as the women took off.

Elisabeth Brandau has had a stellar weekend. Third place for the German.
Elisabeth Brandau has had a stellar weekend. Third place for the German.

Jolanda Neff had a shaky start but moved her way up to finish second.
Jolanda Neff had a shaky start but moved her way up to finish second.

Kate Courtney is back on her tear. She got out front and left the rest in the dust.
Kate Courtney is back on top. She got out front and left the rest in the dust.

Kate Courtey broke away from the pack and stayed there for the rest of the race.
Kate Courtney broke away from the pack and stayed there for the rest of the race.

Sina Frei has had no problems making the transition from U23 to Elite. Frei took fourth today.
Sina Frei has had no problems making the transition from U23 to Elite. Frei took fourth today.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot landed a fifth place on home soil.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot landed a fifth place on home soil.

Kate Courtney takes another commanding win.
Kate Courtney takes another commanding win.

Jenny Rissveds started the race strong and even lead but would cross the line in 9th.
Jenny Rissveds started the race strong and even led but would cross the line in 9th.

Prevot and Frei on one of the many climbs. Frei would have Prevot in the end.
Prevot and Frei on one of the many climbs. Frei would have Prevot in the end.

Women s podium- Kate Courtney Jolanda Neff Elisabeth Brandau Sina Frei and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Women's podium- Kate Courtney, Jolanda Neff, Elisabeth Brandau, Sina Frei, and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

Kate Courtney is certainly the class of the field in 2019.
Kate Courtney is certainly top of the field in 2019.

Sean Fincham has been on one hell of a ride this season so far and today was no different for the young Canadian.
Sean Fincham has been on one hell of a ride this season so far and today was no different for the young Canadian.

Vlad Dascalu ready to dive in. There was a brief point mid way through the race where we thought he cracked. He surprised many with a late come back attack.
Vlad Dascalu ready to dive in. There was a brief point midway through the race where we thought he cracked. He surprised many with a late comeback attack.

Filippo Colombo is a usual suspect for the U23 Men. Today. however he ll be just off the podium.
Filippo Colombo is a usual suspect for the U23 Men. Today. however, he'll be just off the podium.

Today was good for Maximilan Brandl. He had some battles up front that kept him busy landing him a second place.
Today was good for Maximilan Brandl. He had some battles up front that kept him busy, landing him a second place.

Fincham lead the race for a number of laps early on.
Fincham led the race for a number of laps early on.

Vlad the destroyer.
Vlad the destroyer.

Vlad was surrounded immediately by his team. Huge effort from all.
Vlad was surrounded immediately by his team. Huge effort from all.

Men s start was chaos in the dust.
Men's start was chaos in the dust.

Nino Schurter definitely has the endurance for this course but as we seen so far this season so do a few others on the front line.
Nino Schurter definitely has the endurance for this course but as we have seen so far this season, so do a few others on the front line.

Gerhard Kerschbaumer dialing in for the battle.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer dialing in for the battle.

Kerschbaumer had a few battles today on course. He fended off a few successfully but the biggest one Nino burnt him out in the end.
Kerschbaumer had a few battles today on course. He fended off a few successfully but the biggest one, Nino, burnt him out in the end.

Henrique Avancini lead the pack for the first little while of the race. He got caught then fought right back on the last lap for third.
Henrique Avancini lead the pack for the first little while of the race. He got caught then fought right back on the last lap for third.

Classic Nino whip on lap three.
Classic Nino whip on lap three.

Not Mathieu van der Poel s day here in Les Gets.
Not Mathieu van der Poel's day here in Les Gets.

KerKerschbaumer up front with Nino hot on his tail after passing Avancini.
Kerschbaumer up front with Nino hot on his tail after passing Avancini.

Ondrej Cink was up front for a moment. He stayed on pace to close out the podium.
Ondrej Cink was up front for a moment. He stayed on pace to close out the podium.

Big win for Nino. It was just a matter of time before he attacked. Well done.
Big win for Nino. It was just a matter of time before he attacked. Well done.

Schurter pulling away from Kerschbaumer on the final lap.
Schurter pulling away from Kerschbaumer on the final lap.

The sprint for fourth came down to about a tire.
The sprint for fourth came down to about a tire.

Nothing but respect between the men at the top.
Nothing but respect between the men at the top.

Mathieu Van der Poel couldn t find the legs that pedaled him to an XCC win the other night.
Mathieu Van Der Poel couldn't find the legs that pedaled him to an XCC win the other night.

Men s Elite podium.
Men's Elite podium.


Regions in Article
Les Gets


70 Comments

  • + 50
 As someone who has dealt with depression most of my adult life I am stoked to see Jenny doing well again. Hopefully she makes a podium soon.
  • + 19
 She already scored a podium just last week. :-)
  • + 7
 @toprace: oh that’s right. Maybe a top 3 is next.
  • - 6
flag mm732 (Jul 14, 2019 at 18:30) (Below Threshold)
 Id wager 80% of endurance cyclists deal w/ depression
  • + 4
 @mm732: What's your reasoning for that opinion?
  • + 13
 If we weren't all so ga-ga over an American woman again at the top of the standings (which is excellent and worth our praise), we'd recognize that Rissveds's accomplishment in her return to racing represents one of the greatest comebacks in all of cycling in the past few years.

What happened to Rissveds could happen to Kate Courtney or anyone else. The pressure to be social media stars in addition to elite athletes is immense. I would guess contracts in our little sport are heavily incentive-based, creating the perfect environment for individual over-achievers to take training, diet and other aspects of preparation to an extreme.

It's as good a time as any to open up a dialogue about mental health in the sport. Let's see if any journalists are willing.
  • + 5
 @jclnv: Because endurance sports are basically just self-torture. 'How much pain can I put myself through today?'
  • + 3
 @jclnv: It's definitely reasonable to believe the rate of depression in competitive cyclists is higher than average (80% may be an exaggeration). A literature review on the subject of athletes and mental health shows that studies have consistently found higher rates of depression and anxiety [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996886/].

To be clear, this should not diminish Jenny's experience in any way. Depression is ruthlessly painful. It's incredible to see her start to come back from such a dark place, and it's great to see her sharing her story. I can't help but worry that there are others out there silently suffering. The sooner we learn that major depression is normal (and start talking about it normally) the sooner we can effectively help people with it.
  • - 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 15, 2019 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 @aaronjb: Jenny just doesn’t get Social Media which is fine. She doesn’t want to play the game of appearances that for some is so natural and easy that it even looks great and you want more. I would however say that her mental health problems shouldn’t be overblown for the sake of hers and others because at the end of the day it is doing shit that grabs us out of the hole. It’s an awful trap to see everything cloudy and meaningless. I have been there to a lesser degree. Feeling sorry for yourself is a spiral down into the void. Deeper you go, the longer is the way out. So It’s good to see her back, hope this will fuel her to shake away the demons
  • + 2
 @Dudeclimbsrocks: it's called cycling ha ha
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: “it is doing shit that grabs us out of the hole”...while yes that is correct, but depression impacts people in countless ways. For example, many depressed people understand that “doing shit” like exercise can help improve one’s mood; however, many times it’s difficult to simply get out of bed, go to work, think clearly, etc. Let’s not minimize how Jenny went from being at the top of her sport to possibly being incapacitated.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: oh and trust me, depression is much more complicated than feeling sorry for one self. You seem like a pretty smart guy - I suggest learning more about the disease which will in turn make you more educated and ultimately empathetic.
  • - 3
 @COnovicerider: i am not trying to diminish her issues, but I’ve seen people hung up on the idea of having it and clenching to it. I’ve been there and the most brutal thing is that people just don’t want to be around sick people. You can teach them about importance of acknowledging mental health but at the end of the day Nature has never favored weakness. Folks want to be around happy folks. Not bummed out folks. And if you are a guy, oh, good luck finding oxytocin in your buddies, that women have in buckets and one will eventually feel the need to take care of you. So it’s a self propelling disaster that in most cases only you can stop. You have to go to the doc, you have to reach out to friends. You. You get up. Show must go on. It’s brutal, it’s the only way. And friends have to have the balls to push you, not pat you on the shoulder. Next. What’s next.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Please don't try to advance a bootstrap narrative around a serious medical condition.
  • + 2
 @bemery: AND riding bikes is a great way to access the elusive mindfulness needed to escape depression - even if the ride is also an escape. bikes save lives yo.
  • + 24
 Nino whip rocks ●
  • + 6
 Karack that whip! Nino is a beast!
  • + 7
 U23-S.Fincham-P3, Elite W- H.Smith-P6, Elite M. P.Disera-P6 amazing effort!!! #hoponcanada
  • + 2
 We concur! Great work by the whole the team this weekend.
  • + 3
 It's interesting comparing the body types on the podium of the womens field vs the mens. The men are almost entirely all tall and lanky, with Nino being a slight exception. The women's podium looks more diverse, which is great in showing aspiring XC racing women that they don't need a certain body type to be a great racer.
  • + 1
 Also - Big difference in the average ages of the women’s podium vs ~10 years ago. There used to be a narrative that ‘older women went faster’.
  • + 6
 Fourth from last picture...the guy standing in the track got perhaps too excited?
  • + 6
 It looks like an appropriate amount of excited to me. The rest of those curmudgeons need to step up their game.
  • + 2
 It must have been laundry day.
  • + 1
 Haha damn Euros and their prosthetic wiener-bombs!
  • + 5
 The colour coordination of Elisabeth Brandau’s kit and bike are top notch!
  • + 2
 OK, a minor confession: I have been reading the units completely wrong. As an American, I assumed the units were MILES per hour, rather than KM per hour.

I actually thought Nino and Kate's average speeds were 21 mph and 17.5 mph, instead of 21kph and 17.5kph! 13 and 10.8 mph seem a lot more realistic than the road race speeds I had thought were possible!
  • + 4
 Has anyone done a nino bike check recently? I’m intrigued by his ultrawide tyres
  • + 1
 The tyres only looks so big because Nino is tiny! Smile

Would assume the tyres are his staple pro-only 170tpi 29x2.25" Aspens
  • + 1
 GMBN were mentioned in their podcast last week that he runs wide rims.
  • + 3
 @P3N54: He is rumour to be running 2.4 Aspen races. First used them at Nova Mesto.
  • + 1
 @NickNickNick: You bet, he used both the DT Swiss XRC 25mm and the XMC 30mm rims last year.
All of the photos I can remember from this year have been the XMC, which he did use at Les Gets.
I need to do some more looking but I think he's only using the wider XMC this year.
  • + 1
 @Augustus-G: yip the females seem to use the xrc whereas the guys use the xmc
  • + 3
 Cheers to Ross, Andy & Matthew--definitely some of the most epic photos of a race day I've ever seen! Thanks to Topeak and Pinkbike too.
  • + 4
 Avancini is jacked. Muscles for dayzzzz
  • - 7
flag COnovicerider (Jul 14, 2019 at 17:20) (Below Threshold)
 That’s funny how that caught your eye.
  • + 5
 @COnovicerider: Why is it funny?
  • + 2
 Sooooo, is it only me who noticed the total absence of lockout cables on Jolandas bike?
  • + 2
 Yes Nino for the win!! In your face Van Der Poel! Viva El Veterano!!
  • + 2
 Glad there was someone French on the podiums for Bastille Day.
  • + 1
 Did MVDP race a HT in short track and then a FS in XC? Thought you had to be on the same bike for both events?
  • + 2
 Is Jolanda's necklace made from candy??
  • + 2
 Is it only Aussies that think that? Did the rest of the world not have those?
  • + 2
 A present from Luca?
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: We had them in the USA in the 80s, but they were multicolored!
  • + 1
 @chachmonkey: oh ok. Ours were multi-coloured too. As kids we'd buy them at the pool and the colours would run down our arms. Good times when we didn't know about skin cancer.
  • + 2
 These Photo Epics are at least as good as the races themselves.
  • + 1
 any clue where i can check the points rankings? UCI's site seems way off, for both xc and downhill
  • + 2
 Overall standings anywhere? Uci site is just impossible.
  • + 1
 It will probably update tomorrow.
  • + 3
 www.uci.org/mountain-bike/events/mercedes-benz-uci-mountain-bike-world-cup

Scroll down to Live timing and results, click on Results for Lets Gets and then either Men or Women and you got the individual standings on a pdf.
  • + 1
 How is the XC short track field determined? Is it based on World Cup points or UCI points or a combination?
  • + 3
 Top 40 UCI World Ranking are invited to XCC. Only Top 16 finishers of those 40 get two front row spots for XCO, but points are awarded to all 40 participants. Awarding these points brings incentive for them to participate (otherwise many riders would never do short track to save energy for Sunday).
Rissveds was ranked 85th coming into Les Gets in UCI World Rank and was 32nd in World Cup Points. The UCI World Rank hasn't updated from today's results yet, so I'm not sure her new rank.
  • + 3
 @Jamminator: Rissveds has a chance of starting the next short track. She will be way out of the top 40, however in the top 40 there are some riders who are injured, some riders who are U23s, and some riders who actually don't do world cups. The UCI does their best to get 40 riders to start. At this last race riders who were ranked in the 60s started the short track.
  • + 1
 @WhatAboutBob: If that's the case, Jenny is already pretty close. She picked up 100 points today from her top 10 finish and can probably pick up close to that amount at Swedish nationals.

If she qualifies, she will almost certainly start in the first two rows for Sunday's race, giving her a much better chance at the podium without getting bogged down with 50+ riders starting ahead of her.

I think we have to think of this as a long-term reboot given her points situation, but I am surprised that her conditioning is as strong as it is given her long absence from World Cup racing. The future looks bright indeed.
  • + 3
 @toprace: The UCI points roll over on a 12 month basis. Since she won Swedish nationals last year, she will at best break even. But she should still be in the short track. Which would be awesome because I think she would a really good short track racer.

At the last two races start position wasn't actually that important. In some ways starting at back forced a bit of pacing first lap which does help deeper into the race. This was particularly evident at Andora.
  • + 1
 @WhatAboutBob: That's true. Sophie Von Berswordt-Wallrabe was 75th in UCI rankings and took that 40th XCC slot.
  • + 6
 @Jamminator: This season it's actually top 24 get three front rows.
  • + 1
 @WhatAboutBob: I could see it working out very well. It looks like she wants to be very aggressive at the start of races, which is exactly what short track is about. This means a lot of points. This means a lot of confidence and a great start position for Sunday racing. This could all snowball in her favor very quickly.
  • + 0
 why nino didn't wear the leader's jersey during the race?
  • + 3
 Tiene que usar el de campeón del mundo
  • - 4
flag kaeton-sf (Jul 14, 2019 at 18:28) (Below Threshold)
 Let’s see...he wasn’t the leader.
  • + 0
 @kaeton-sf: let's see. Nino would crush both you and I. Don't hate!
  • + 3
 @kaeton-sf: who was the leader then? if you care to share your wisdom.
  • + 0
 What's that thing on Jolanda Neff's top tube? Some sort of frame pack?
  • + 13
 She spoke about this in her podcast recently that she actually prefers the sense of preparedness of having her bike-packing equipment with her during the World Cup over the lightweight feel of her racebike.
  • + 16
 Yes she said she had a one person tent and enough supplies for three days in the wilderness. Massive respect for her for being self sufficient. I think all riders should be forced to ride with the equipment required to camp between the short track and XCO races.
  • + 1
 These comments are great.

But yes, she's known to pack quite a few extra supplies during her WCXC races.

(It's a mini-shock tucked up into the top tube ala Commencal to create a soft-tail.)
  • + 1
 Trek's new project. Probably hiding the suspension system until it's officially released.

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