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Catching Up With 7 World Cup XC Racers Before Leogang

Jun 7, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
It s a long drag to the first turn in Albstadt meaning the start wasn t quite as fierce as it can be.
Racing is back on.


After a short break from the World Cup circuit for cross country racers, the Leogang World Cup weekend is already almost here. We checked in with seven of the top riders – Anne Terpstra, Henrique Avancini, Alan Hatherly, Linda Indergand, Kate Courtney, Anton Cooper, and Jolanda Neff – to see how the season has progressed so far and what's on their minds as they enter the next phase of racing.



Missing the podium by one spot Anne Terpstra would like that one back in Nove Mesto.
Anne Terpstra is always one to watch.

Anne Terpstra

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


My first World Cup weekends were OK. In Albstadt, I improved my XCC racing and made it to the top 8 for the first time, in XCO I just missed the podium with a 6th place. I did not have the best feeling on Sunday's race, so I was happy I could still show this result. Nove Mesto was a bit harder. I had some bad luck in the start of both races and that was hard for me to compensate for later on. My racing was like I said OK, not less, but not really much more than that either. Definitely the firework was still missing.

What would you like to improve at the next races?


In the World Cups that are coming up, it would be nice if I would have my starts back on point again, because it makes the rest of the race so much easier. I also hope to have the best feeling at the moment when it's needed, so the timing and balance of being rested but fit at the same time will be important.

How has your training changed for the Olympic year?


My training changes slightly every year, to give my body new input to keep improving, but I would not say my training changed a lot for this Olympic year. At the end, also the Olympic Games is just about a mountain bike race that lasts for roughly 90 minutes, which is what we do every season and every World Cup. So I don't think much change would be needed for that anyway.

What are your goals for the season?


My goal for every race I do is actually the same: riding my bike as fast as possible. This is what makes me happy and this is how I race best. Why make it more complicated if it isn't? Result wise I wish to make it back to the podium again and of course I dream of a win when the day is right, but all of that starts with riding my bike as fast as I can.

Is there anything else you would like to add?


What I like to add is that I feel super grateful that we could have such a ''normal'' start of the season, with races taking place at the usual time of the year. It feels so good to get back together with the team and be able to just do our thing like normal. Of course the atmosphere at the venue is still different and the spectators are really being missed - I can't wait for the races where it will be possible (and safe!) again to race in front of a crowd!



Henrique Avancini took to the front on the first lap but couldn t sustain it eventually falling back to 10th.
Henrique Avancini will be trying to get back to where he feels his performance should be, though his results so far are definitely respectable.

Henrique Avancini

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


I must say I wasn’t even close to where I wish to be, even if the months before the opening rounds were far from desirable.

What would you like to improve at the next races?


Mentally I wasn’t well for the first 2 rounds. First, I have to balance my mind and manage backstage, then the body will follow. My shape is not bad, and I believe it will progress naturally if I put myself in place.

How has your training changed in preparation for the Olympics?


For the final weeks, we made a massive change to our plans. We would typically do the final preparation in Japan, but due to several restrictions for training, we chose to prepare in Europe and fly in just before the race.

What are your goals for the season?


For sure the Olympics is the big one since everyone targets it, so adds a lot of value if a great result is achieved. Other than that, I hope I can close the gap on the World Cup overall. Right now I’m just inside the top 10, and the goal is to achieve my best result ever.

Is there anything else you would like to add?


This season is going to be a remarkable one!



Alan Hatherly fought hard finishing eighth.
Alan Hatherly has finished consistently within the top 10 so far this season.

Alan Hatherly

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


Really good! I rode steady and consistent in both events, but maybe lacked a bit of confidence to commit and put myself further towards the front of the race. Personally, my rides were within my targets and it was awesome to back up last season’s 6th and 5th place at the Nove Mesto World Cups. We (the Cannondale Factory Race Team) managed to get a really productive team camp in leading into the World Cups, testing equipment, and working together as a full crew which I feel was a springboard for my season and I’m looking forward to building on the previous World Cups and committing a bit more to get to the front!

What would you like to improve at the next races?


A major focus of this season for me is working on my consistency and building on each event that I tick off. I strongly believe that building the confidence and results will deliver me to the Olympic Games in the best shape possible which is obviously one of the major goals for this season. I’m in a good place right now and I think, with a few tweaks over the next week and a bit, I should be able to squeeze a little bit more in the early stages of the World Cups to be closer toward the front end of the race.

How has your training changed for the Olympic year?


The biggest change/adaption was the cancellation of Tankwa Trek and the postponement of the Cape Epic. These were supposed to be quality race days early on in the season as a full team which would have been a stern base to build off into the World Cups. We shifted plans and I ended up going into Europe quite a bit earlier and did a few HC races leading into the World Cups which ended up working really well. Probably the biggest Olympic year adaption is patience and playing the steady game. Not burning too many matches early on in the season and timing the peak well to deliver.

What are your goals for the season?


After getting so close to the podium at the last World Cup in Nove Mesto, I want to target some World Cup podium finishes and have the consistency to finish in the top 10 for the World Cup overall. For the Olympics I’m working towards a top 5 finish.

Is there anything else you would like to add?


I’ve settled in really well at Cannondale Factory Racing. The change has been really good for me and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the team. It takes a team to perform at the highest level and the work they do behind the scenes allows us to perform the way we do. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season!



Linda Indergand went for it early on and managed to break free from the field although was just caught by Pauline Ferrand Prevot at the death.
Linda Indergand kicked off the World Cup season with an incredible ride to 2nd place.

Linda Indergand

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


I'm really happy about my World Cup season start. The first XCC in Albstadt, I could ride in the front until the last lap, and I only got caught by Pauline. Then the race on Sunday was really good as well and I finished 7th. In Nove Mesto, I was able to show again a good performance and I finished 5th (XCC) and 6th (XCO), only a few seconds behind the podium.

How has your training changed for the Olympic year?


I actually didn't change too much. I often did endurance training with the cross-country skis and I added some intervals with that as well. I went to many training camps with the Swiss National Team, which are always great, and I have amazing training partners there so we can push each other.

What are your goals for the season?


To show my best performance at every race again and to stay healthy is the biggest goal. If I can finish the World Cup overall in the top 5, that would be amazing. And for sure a big goal is the Olympic Games in Tokyo.



Kate Courtney will be content with her strong start to the season.
Wishing Kate Courtney the best as her arm heals up!

Kate Courtney

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


There were certainly some highs and lows during the first two World Cup races of the season for me! After a year away from consistent racing, it felt incredible to be able to spend 7 weeks racing in Europe and have so many opportunities to line up. I felt myself clicking back into race mode and building throughout this block. By the time the World Cups arrived, I was feeling physically and mentally ready to perform.

In Albstadt, I had a pretty solid ride and was able to land on the podium. The next weekend in Nove Mesto, I was feeling great at the end of lap 1 when a nasty crash saw me break my brake lever and, I later learned, fracturing a bone in my forearm. My mechanic Brad was miraculously able to fix the brake and stayed busy all race long as I unfortunately flatted on the next lap as well. I was proud to have been able to finish the race, but certainly disappointed by the result.

This first block of racing showed me that all of the pieces are there for me to have a great performance in the second half of the season. My fitness was where I needed it to be for these first few races and will allow me to build nicely towards my bigger goals for the season. The disappointing results, however, left me very hungry to work hard and continue to improve in the next months. That can be a great combination!

What would you like to improve at the next races?


My key focus this season is on the Olympic Games which means that my goal is to peak for this event in July. There are many aspects of my performance that I am focused on with that event in mind.

How has your training changed for the Olympic year?


Every year, my training evolves slightly but many of the bigger elements remain the same. For me, it is about building from year to year and targeting consistency in my training and, ultimately, my results. I am lucky to have a great team around me and, in particular, to be working with Jim Miller as my coach. Jim has an unbelievable amount of Olympic experience and knowledge which can be very helpful in staying grounded and focused during such a big year. Especially with my recent injury, I am grateful to have his guidance and support in keeping my sights set high for later in the season.



Anton Cooper back where he belongs. It s been a strong start to the year for the Kiwi. What does the rest of the season have in store for him
Anton Cooper kicked off the season with two strong top 10 XCO finishes.

Anton Cooper

How did the first two World Cup weekends go for you?


Pretty good overall, I had a 6th and 8th in the XCO events and a 7th and 11th in the short track races. Off the back of no XCO racing for 2.5 months, it was a pleasant surprise.

What would you like to improve at the next races?


I'd like to be standing on the podium again soon, especially after coming so close in Albstadt. I suffered a bit on the start loop in Nove Mesto, but I'm sure as I add more intensity and racing into my programme this will start to improve.

How has your training changed for the Olympic year?


The focus has shifted from trying to do well at multiple World Cups to aiming for one primary target such as the Olympics. The World Cups will be used more for training this year in preparation for the Olympics and I'm trying not to put so much emphasis on them like I usually would. World Champs will be my other big target about a month later, but as this is after the Olympic Games it's not something I'm thinking about too much just yet. I'll just be trying to carry my form through from the Olympics.

What are your goals for the season?


To medal at the Olympics and World Champs and to finish top 5 in the World Cup overall.

Is there anything else you would like to add?


It's great to be back racing!



Jolanda Neff starting to look like her old self. She rode her own pace and fought her way back into the top 10.
Jolanda Neff's technical skills are always a great asset.

Jolanda Neff

How did the first two World Cup races go for you?


I’ve had a great start to my season in February and March where I placed 2nd and 1st at the races in Banyoles, Spain, and Andora, Italy. Especially the win in Italy felt amazing, as there was a stacked international field and I felt right on track with my training and performance. As soon as April came around, I started to struggle with hay fever. I’ve had this problem for several years now and trust me I’ve tried almost anything you could, from natural treatments to medicine, but so far I haven’t found the golden solution. I just feel very tired as soon as there is pollen in the air, my eyes are itching, my nose is running and I have a sore throat. The effects can surely be felt on race day when doing all-out efforts but unfortunately it doesn’t stop there; it affects my everyday training. I feel like this year the effects were even worse than the years before.

I still remember vividly how in 2016, the morning of the World Cup I had such a strong hay fever / breathing attack, that I ended up not taking the start a couple hours later and driving back home. One week later I won the World Cup in La Bresse 2016 and I felt on amazing form, but hay fever really can put a stop to your performance. So this year I was happy to take the start in Albstadt, and I had a couple great opening laps moving up to 4th place. I then struggled a lot for air as breathing got super hard, I fell back to place 13.

One week later in Nove Mesto Na Morave it was a lot better already thanks to the rain clearing the air of most pollen. I rode a very well measured race and kept moving forward from a 4th row start to eventually finish on 8th place. This was a little sign of hope on the horizon for me. It showed me that even though I am far away from the results I want, I am moving forward and moving in the right direction. I can’t wait for the pollen-time to be over and to feel great again in training as well as in racing.

What would you like to improve at the next races?


I can’t wait for the pollen-time to be over and to feel great again in training as well as in racing.

What are your goals for the season?


My goal for this season is to find my best level of racing!

Is there anything else you would like to add?


Lots of people ask me how I’m feeling after my crash of December 2019. I am feeling fine and healthy today. I am still going to osteopathy to treat my spleen and the scars that it has, and sometimes I can feel it, but I am extremely grateful for the recovery I was able to make and that my spleen is still here and still functioning.

My lungs have been involved in the crash, too, and in my day to day life I don’t feel anything, but for sure the lungs are a big part of endurance sport and with the hay fever they are even more in demand. The broken ribs were the easiest part to take care of as they were already fully healed even before I could get on the bike. I feel very happy with how I am and with the recovery that I was able to make. I’m back riding my bike and I’m racing, and I’m sure some more time to heal will help my body to find the balance and hopefully I can be training at my best and racing at my best very soon.

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12 Comments
  • 9 0
 Thank you for the XC coverage PB.
  • 7 3
 good god am i excited to see MVDP on the track once again.he’s so handsome!!!
  • 6 0
 haha, wonder if this is an @excitedpinkbike AI generated comment.
  • 1 0
 Unless MVDP plans on skipping the final few stages of the Tour de Suisse, he won't be riding in Leogang. Next time we see him on his XCO bike is at the Tokyo Olympics
  • 2 1
 will pidcock start?
  • 1 0
 @SickEdit Earlier this year he was planning to ride Leogang then about two weeks ago that was changed to a "no" and that he would be riding the Tour of Switzerland. I suspect this was more of a I.G. Team decision than his. Then he broke his collar bone and it put the kibosh on that too.
  • 1 0
 Just heard over on the GCN Race Show that Pidcock in now planning to ride in Les Gets 2-4 JUL-21.
BTW, he was hit by a car. His spirits seem to be in good shape from this post on his Instagram account.
www.instagram.com/p/CPykGmcNOon
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