Photo Epic: Cross Country World Champs Hafjell 2014

Sep 6, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
The Cross Country World Championships came around and all the riders were in top shape, hanging onto their form for the end of the season. It is a true test of the riders' ability to show their skills at a 'win it or bin it' race. The favorites in the Men's race were clear, with Schurter winning the last World Cup in Meribel and Absalon showing great strength on the climbs. Absalon's choice to ride a full suspension bike definitely added another element to the speculation.

The Women's race was not so clear, with World Cup winner, Jolanda Neff, absent after taking out the U23 World Champs for the third consecutive year. Gunn-Rita was a favorite after several second place finishes this season, but the Women's race was very open with several women vying for the rainbow jersey.

Catherine Pendrel looked like a sure bet to win after choosing to ride a full suspension and being an absolute climbing demon.

The vikings were out in force to cheer on their country men and women.
  The vikings were out in force to cheer on their country's men and women.

Gunn-Rita at the start line visualizing the task ahead.
  Gunn-Rita at the start line, visualizing the task ahead.

Even the dogs were dressed for the occaison.
  Even the dogs were dressed for the occaison.

Catharine Pendrel chose to warm up away from the crowds. She was focused from the start.
  Catharine Pendrel chose to warm up away from the crowds. She was focused from the start.

The barriers were lined with all kinds of folks cheering for Gunn-Rita.
  The barriers were lined with all kinds of folks cheering for Gunn-Rita.

That rainbow jersey in xc eliminator had fueled a fire in Kathrin Stirnemann and she jumped off the start at mach chicken.
  The XCE rainbow jersey certainly fueled a fire in Kathrin Stirnemann, and she jumped off the start at mach chicken.

Pendrel got out front quickly and never looked back. She flatted on the last lap but had enough of a lead to take the win with ease.
  Pendrel got out front quickly and never looked back. She flatted on the last lap, but had enough of a lead to take the win with ease.

Irina Kalentieva rode consistently today and it paid off with a second place finish.
  Irina Kalentieva rode consistently today and it paid off with a second place finish.

Big big day for Lea Davidson as she had her best race of the season. Davidson finished third.
  It was a big, big day for Lea Davidson as she had her best race of the season. Davidson finished third.

While Gunn-Rita was the clear home favorite. it wasn t meant to be today. She finished ninth.
  While Gunn-Rita was the clear home favorite, it just wasn't meant to be today. She finished ninth.

Katerina Nash has had a solid season but today she just didn t have the legs under her.
  Katerina Nash has had a solid season, but today she just didn't have the legs under her.

Your new cross counrty world champion Catharine Pendrel.
  Your new cross country world champion, Catharine Pendrel.

Pendrel is congratulated by Luna manger Waldek Stepniowski after crossing the line.
  Pendrel is congratrulated by Luna manager, Waldek Stepniowski, after crossing the line.

Sweet sweet victroy.
  Sweet, sweet victory.

Annie Last did it again. She started in 43 and rode through the field to finish 12th.
  Annie Last did it again. She started in 43rd and rode brilliantly through the field to finish 12th.

Somedays it doesn t go your way. It just sucks when it s the one single biggest race of the year.
  Some days it doesn't go your way. It just sucks when it's the single biggest race of the year.

Release the bulls. McConnell got the jump on the start.
  Release the bulls. McConnell got the jump on the start.

Dan McConnell was looking good on the first lap. He had a stong start and settled into the top five then trouble set in. McConnell double flatted and retired early.
  Dan McConnell was looking good on the first lap. He had a stong start and settled into the top five, then trouble set in. McConnell double flatted and retired early.

Absalon had Schruter on his wheel for a short time then he went into overdrive.
  Absalon had Schurter on his wheel for a short time, then went into overdrive.

Julien Absalon got out in front of Schurter and put the power down. He was relentless. He finished a minute and fifty one seconds up on Schurter.
  Julien Absalon got out in front of Schurter and relentlessly put the power down. He finished a minute and fifty one seconds up on Schurter.

Nino trying to keep cool mid way through the race.
  Nino trying to keep cool midway through the race.

The rough rock sections caused havoc today. The flats came one after the other.
  The rough rock sections caused havoc today. The flats came one after the other.

Marco Fontana was on the gas today. He finished third sans baggies. Let the interweb bickering commence.
  Marco Fontana was on the gas today. He finished third, sans baggies. Let the interweb bickering commence.

All hail the champ. The rainbow stripes are once again on the shoulders of Absalon. That s number five.
  All hail the champ. The rainbow stripes are once again on Absalon's shoulders. That's number five.

Everything left out on the track.
  Everything left out on the track.

Julien was all smiles in the finish corral.
  Julien was all smiles in the finish corral.

Bloody hell that was rough.
  Bloody hell, that was rough.

Now that the season is over it s time to celebrate. Beer anyone
  Now that the season is over, it's time to celebrate. Beer anyone!?

This blog post was co-written by Trek Factory Racing rider, Bec Henderson.

See you all trackside in 2015.


34 Comments

  • + 29
 Sweet day for us beaver loving, hockey playin', maple syrup drinkin', flannel wearing bikers, with Pendrel taking Worlds, and Semenuk and Rheeder owning RB District, eh!
  • + 16
 And Ryder won today's stage at Vuelta...phuck yeah!
  • + 4
 But Ryder has a motor, so it doesn’t really count... Wink
  • + 2
 Plus a little extra - no wait... that was in 2003 only!!
  • + 13
 Nice to see the No. 1 and 2 guys on FS bikes - keep making courses tougher and they'll all be on FS xc bikes! These guys are strong as hell and Gunn Rita Dahl - jeez I saw her race Mt Snow many times - She's the Steve Peat of XC!
  • + 2
 It was shocking to me as well, I remember her being a top racer when I was a teenager 10 plus years ago!
  • + 1
 Glad Julien lissened my comment on PB! Wink
AllridersAgency (Aug 25, 2014 at 9:42)
When absalon is going to realize he may need fullsusp if he wants to have any chances to beat schuster ? Always the same script...
  • + 12
 Pity there isn't a picture of the climb where Absalon & Nino where head to head. Epic moment.
  • + 2
 I was going to say. That was epic. Also a shot of Schurter's crash.
  • + 4
 Great pictures PB! The races were amazing - the women's race a little bit boring but it wasn't Pendrel's fault. Smile Absalon did an amazing run - first time on FS bike but the weight penalty paid off. He looked composed on the downs unlike on the last two world cup races. I would have liked to see them battle it out at the end but Schurter had no answer this time. I had no favorite but after Schurter stalled out Absalon on a tech climb I wanted Absalon to win.
  • + 6
 Ninooooooooo! I've enjoyed the rivalry between Schurter and Absalon a lot this season. I wanted Schurter to win, but congrats to Julien.
  • + 2
 I wonder how things would have panned out if Schurter hadn't fooled around with road bikes in the beginning of the season...
  • + 1
 Or not ate shit on the last descent.
  • + 5
 Huh? He was 1:30 behind with less than 2km to go when that happened. He crashed, yes, but Absalon could have double flatted and still walked it in. Complete non-factor in the race.
  • + 8
 Congrats Pendrel on a great ride!! GO CANADA!
  • + 8
 Great article fella.
  • + 3
 Indeed. I love these!
  • + 6
 great work PB in bringing us a more diverse reportage of mountain biking
  • + 4
 Gawd damn you Delorme you are such a good photographer, thank you for giving XC the coverage it deserves.
  • + 2
 I enjoyed watching the races, I even had my bike beside me as spectator lol. But I tell ya, I will have what Absalon is drinking. Guy jumps off his bike like it was a five minute ride.
  • + 1
 Yarp.
  • + 1
 Well it helped that he had a massive gap to work with. You could kinda see him cruise the last couple sections, and those guys recover insanely fast. Wish I knew what happened with Nino tho. Was hoping for a duel to the end, but Absalon either completely broke him or Nino just had an awful day. Absalon's new bike was def a factor though.
  • + 1
 I think that Absalon had itplanned all the way thru the season, he let Nino get confident of his shape thru the second half of the world cup and in the end he showed his hand. Perfect plannig epic race.
  • + 3
 First time I have watched a WC XC race for a decade or so, and loved this one; close, technical, view friendly...awesome..
  • + 2
 Check put the MSA and Meribel races, same deal. It's been awesome following XC this year! Got to ride Windham too, those courses are a blast.
  • + 2
 Does anyone know what the deal is with Schurter's wrist? He went straight to medical after he finished and look to be in a great deal of pain...
  • + 1
 He's OK
Nothing wrong according to the SCOTT-ODLO MTB Racing Team Newsletter sent out this am

"Luckily the crash only 30 seconds away from the finish line had not bigger consequences. "
  • + 3
 Monsters. Guys and Gals alike.
  • + 3
 Manuel Fumic got 5th in baggies. Pretty sweet
  • - 2
 Thank you Matthew DeLorme. Thank you for putting the race results in the front page title instead of INSIDE the article. Now I won't have to waste my time watching the replay and enjoy some exciting racing. Thank you very f*cking much...
  • + 6
 The results were up for hours as was the replay. You're welcome.
  • + 2
 Nygaard, you can still watch the first 45 minutes where schurter was up on the pack by 30 seconds or so... Riding like a machine. About then was when absalon took over as it seemed schurter had burned up all his nitro and was left with only regular unleaded to finish the race.
  • + 2
 I wish I had legs like them.
  • + 1
 You've got an extra "D" in Lea Davison's name.

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