Finals Photo Epic: Crank It Up - Vallnord World Cup XC 2019

Jul 8, 2019
by Matthew DeLorme  


Photo Epic presented by Topeak


As far as XC races go, today should go down in the history books as one of the all-time greats. Vallnord served up a day of racing that was just plain incredible. With temps in the high 80's and winds high at midday, the racers had their work cut out for them on the dry, dusty course. Anne Terpstra took an incredible win in the women's race after a fierce battle with Jolanda Neff who had worked her way to the front of the pack after a shaky start. Terpstra had the legs to walk away on the last lap to take the win. In the men's race, it was a battle of Avancini, Flueckiger, and Schurter. They fought hard through blowing dust and a blown out course. On the final lap, it was a battle between Flueckiger and Schurter, with Flueckiger putting it all down on the final ascents. Nino stuffed the inside of a corner in the last half of the lap, and it looked like it could have been game over, but you can never count out the champ. Schurter recovered and overtook to take the win in dramatic fashion.

Best light of the day for U23 women winner Eibl Ronja.
Best light of the day for U23 women winner Ronja Eibl.

Battling her way back from injury Evie Richards rode hard to second place.
Battling her way back from injury, Evie Richards rode hard to second place.

Sweet sweet victory for Eibl Ronja.
Sweet, sweet victory for Ronja Eibl.

Evie Richards left nothing out there today.
Evie Richards left nothing out there today.

Kate Courtney warms up the engines.
Kate Courtney warms up the engines.

Anne Terpstra rode with patience and played her cards perfectly.
Anne Terpstra rode with patience and played her cards perfectly.

Jolanda Neff fought hard today. That first win is right around the corner.
Jolanda Neff fought hard today. That first win is right around the corner.

It was dry as a bone out there today.
It was dry as a bone out there today.

A break out ride for Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon who took fourth today.
A breakout ride for Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon, who took fourth.

Yana Belomoina railing berms on her way to third place.
Yana Belomoina railing berms on her way to third place.

Terpstra and Neff battle it out on the final lap.
Terpstra and Neff battle it out on the final lap.

Jenny Rissveds made it known that she is back today. despite a couple hairy moments she had an incredible ride to fifth place.
Jenny Rissveds made it known that she is back today. despite a couple of hairy moments, she had an incredible ride to fifth place.

Anne Terpstra pulls of a stunning win in Andorra.
Anne Terpstra pulls off a stunning win in Andorra.

An emotional day for Jenny Rissveds and a much deserved podium.
An emotional day for Jenny Rissveds, and a much-deserved podium.

Women s podium.
Women's podium.

U23 Men s stampede.
U23 Men's stampede.

Filippo Colombo seemed evenly matched with Dascalu until the very end settling for third.
Filippo Colombo seemed evenly matched with Dascalu until the very end, settling for third.

Norco s Sean Fincham broke away early. He would finish just off the podium in fourth.
Norco's Sean Fincham broke away early. He would finish just off the podium in fourth.

Jofre Cullell Estape was pushing the lead pack hard after the group chased down Sean Fincham. Second place for him today.
Jofre Cullell Estape was pushing the lead pack hard after the group chased down Sean Fincham. Second place for him today.

U23 Men s Podium.
U23 Men's Podium.

Dascalu Claiming victory.
Dascalu Claiming victory.

Henrique Avancini is fresh off a win in Friday s XCC. He ll be one to watch on this high altitude course.
Henrique Avancini is fresh off a win in Friday's XCC. He'll be one to watch on this high altitude course.

Gerhard Kerschbaumer in fourth. He had consistent laps and kept up with the group. Lets see if he can do better in Les Gets.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer in fourth. He had consistent laps and kept up with the group. Let's see if he can do better in Les Gets.

Mathias Flueckiger thought he had it in the bag when Nino had a slip up going into the final woods. He gave it his all but was eventual caught and passed before this final straight. He crossed the line in second after a grueling race.
Mathias Flueckiger thought he had it in the bag when Nino had a slip up going into the final woods. He gave it his all, but was eventually caught and passed before this final straight. He crossed the line in second after a grueling race.

Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo s sixth place is his best result to date and it did not come easy.
Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo's sixth place is his best result to date and it did not come easy.

Nino Schurter had his work cut out for him. He fought his way back to the lead pack and then dueled it out with Flueckiger at the very end of the race. Insane power on display.
Nino Schurter had his work cut out for him. He fought his way back to the lead pack and then dueled it out with Flueckiger 'till the very end of the race. Insane power on display.

Avancini was out up front and pulling away on the first lap.
Avancini was out up front and pulling away on the first lap.

A proper dust bowl of a Men s start.
A proper dust bowl for the Men's start.

All eyes on Nino.
All eyes on Nino.

One last look back from Nino.
One last look back from Nino.

Jordan Sarrou bettering his number plate by one to close out the podium. Strong ride by the French racer.
Jordan Sarrou bettering his number plate by one to close out the podium. Strong ride by the French racer.

Nino Schurter crossing the line while barely able to raise his hand. Absolutely flat of energy after challenging Flueckiger. Well done.
Nino Schurter crossing the line, barely able to raise his hand. Absolutely flat of energy after challenging Flueckiger. Well done.

What giving it your all looks like.
What giving it your all looks like.

Men s Elite podium.
Men's Elite podium.

Done and dusted. Off to Les Gets.
Done and dusted. Off to Les Gets.


Regions in Article
Vallnord Bike Park


34 Comments

  • + 38
 No mention of cink?! He was racing incredibly until he had a moment of tachycardia
  • + 15
 I would also expect a bit more informations about him in the article. Not even mentioned, but he was 36 secs in front of the rest in 5th round of 7 before his heart went to 230bpm. Gutted
  • + 21
 No pic of Ondrej Cink? He was hero of the day! Only atrial fibrillation stopped him from winning the race. Ondrej will win in Andorra in the near future.
  • + 5
 Is there more information on this? I'm no doctor (just a bit of armchair-level stuff) so I'm wondering, was this a dangerous situation and more importantly, does he have an increased risk if he continues to race at this level? No question he was doing great but I just don't like to see people go down. In internet-math language: life >>> racing.
  • + 5
 @vinay: No news from him yet, but he said he had heart attack so there was no reason to continue in a race. Health first. Before that he says he was going really well and felt like on 90% of his affort so he wanted to attack in the last two laps while we saw the 230-270bpm on garmin, said he kept going but then as he felt nothing he stopped shortly after this not to risk as he says he even didn´t feel his heart is working or was about to pop out from his chest in the next seconds. So far it doesn´t look it should limit him on next race.
  • + 8
 @vinay: You're absolutely right. Cink suffered from heart arrhythmia/irregular heartbeat. Not sure if it was the atrial fibrillation though, which is a specific type of arrhythmia. He stated that he was feeling great, racing at 90% and as he cooled himself by pouring cold water on his neck the heart rate jumped suddenly to 230bpm. After a short pit stop it returned to normal 160pbm and he finished 10th. Impressive!
  • + 3
 @vinay: Everyone should read this Velonews article on how endurance sports can affect the heart:

www.velonews.com/cycling-to-extremes-heart-health-and-endurance-sports

Impossible to tell what Cink had without actually seeing the rhythm strip. I have had some exercised induced tachycardia (fast rate, normal rhythm) like what Cink was describing and it's scary stuff for sure.
  • + 2
 Its possible to operate at levels above "normally" allowed. I do. I have SVT so my sitting heartrate is average around 55-60, 6 mph jog on the treadmill puts me at 160ish and 7-8 puts me above 180. Full gas efforts can easily put me in the 200+ range. At 31 my max is supposed to be 190ish. The accelerated heart rate is the side effect though, the problem is if it instantly drops back to near resting rate. Hasn't happened in years, but was 3-4 times a year as a kid.
  • + 2
 I had surgery almost 3 years ago to fix my svt. I used to get hr readings over 300bpm. It got to a point where I was starting to pass out though which became more problematic
  • + 2
 A guy from my cycling club a good while ago died from a cardiac arrest during a race. I wasn't there (it was a road race and I was into mtb) but it really struck me how a good and healthy guy can just drop dead during a race. I think the same happened to Kelly McGarry, even though that wasn't during a race. Actually my build lends itself more towards endurance than explosive sports. With little training I can get quite good at endurance performance yet it takes quite a bit of training to actually gain strength. When really fit, my resting heart rate could drop below 30bpm. I think it is now slightly below 40bpm or so, I don't monitor it that closely. When I broke my collarbone and was preparing for surgery, they measured my heart rate seated. It was about 44bpm on equipment that I trust. A doctor once freaked out because she claimed my heart rate was way too low and she suspected something like "braecardia". I dropped by my own doctor who did some checks, admitted the heart rate is low but steady so no reason for concern. Obviously I personally don't own really professional heart rate monitoring equipment (just those chest straps with two electrodes) so I don't know how accurate it is. But a few times I broke off a running training when I saw my heart rate drop during stretching (after some warming up drills) down into the low fourties. It usually goes down into the eighties which seems fine for stretching. But into the fourties seemed wrong so I just took an easy walk home. It typically happened when I was very fit and was running (almost) daily.

So yeah, at some point I consciously chose to avoid endurance sports even though this is what I'd probably be good at. One reason was that I don't like my joints to wear out like marathon runners have. The other reason is this, I just don't trust it. Obviously I do already spend enough time doing steady seated pedaling (ride to work, bring kids to school, groceries etc) so a good while ago I just abandoned steady seated pedaling on the mountainbike. It doesn't add to the fun, it just improves my endurance. I either stand, smash the pedals and pump the bike to get it up to speed. Or I sit down on my low saddle and take it really really easy. I do admit that my case is different from what's being discussed here. I don't get insanely high readings unless they're clearly wrong. Which is the case when using wrist based optical measurements (I think my skin is too dark for these to be accurate) or when the analog signal from the chest strap is being interfered when running near highwire. So I'm glad I'm not that much of a freakshow Smile !
  • + 13
 No photo of Cink. What a disgrace.
  • + 2
 Well, at least he is alive! Cink je borec a urcite se mu postesti priste Smile
  • + 11
 Cink just got ripped off, nearly gives himself a heart attack and doesnt even get a photo for his troubles!!
  • + 11
 That shot of Jenny Rissveds is incredible.
  • + 1
 Foot out flat out!
  • + 10
 Men's race was savage. They tore the crap out of each other.
  • + 4
 Cink definitely deserves some respect for his performance. Maybe I wasn't paying attention but it seemed like he was in the lead for a good chunk of the race. Perhaps he requested to not get too much attention after his health worry? Apparently wasn't the first time he had worrisome heart feelings...? When I googled to see what happened to him I saw this: www.instagram.com/p/6zFqxGtmEy
  • + 3
 Pinkbike, I feel there is some confusion here: The women's U23 winner's name is Ronja Eibl - Ronja being the first name Wink
Tough race, especially the men's fight for the top spot seemed brutal.
  • + 3
 Good spot! We have corrected that now.
  • + 5
 Any sneaky photos of that new trek bike ?
  • + 5
 That men's race was amazing! Ridiculous levels of fitness.
  • + 4
 Good game Anne Terpstra! *cheers in Dutch*
  • + 4
 Cink big tragedy
  • + 3
 No mention of Cink !??!?!!!?
  • + 5
 #Cinkwasrobbed
  • + 2
 I would really like to know more about Jose Ulloa,great race again this weekend from him.
  • + 1
 Great weekend of racing. You could see the pain of the sufferfest at altitude.
  • + 1
 What happened to Sam Gaze?
He snapped Schurter's streak last season...
  • + 2
 Concussion at cape epic, slow recovery since, starting at the back of the field doesn’t help either as it’s really hard to overtake
  • + 1
 Proper paced recovery is essential, especially on top of a few other recent injuries. The steps seem slow but at 23 with a whole career ahead this will be just a blip in a few years.
  • + 1
 PVC's. It happens He'll be fine (I hope)
  • - 2
 Ronja Eibl should get a nutrition sponsor! She does not really seem to have a healthy weight.
  • + 0
 Nor Yana
  • + 3
 Power to weight ratio. Hard to tell but I think they're doing okay Wink

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