Mont Sainte Anne XC and the Return of Beatrice

Aug 4, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
As the big summer break in the World Cup is over and many of the XC riders have returned from the Commonwealth Games, the battle for XC domination heated up again. We return to Mont Sainte Anne and found that the infamous technical downhill section of track that has cause havoc for so many riders in the past had returned after being omitted from the course last year. Nino Schurter and Yolanda Neff took the victory today. Julien Absalon and Yolanda Neff retain the point lead.

Yolanda Neff was out front from the start. She never looked back.
  Yolanda Neff was out front from the start. She never looked back.

Jenny Rissveds on one of the open slope climbs.
  Jenny Rissveds on one of the open slope climbs.

Dropping into Beatrice. Keep your line or fail.
  Dropping into Beatrice. Keep your line or fail.

Katerina Nash is a master of tactics. She played her cards well today and finished third.
  Katerina Nash is a master of tactics. She played her cards well today and finished third.

There was even a small stream crossing due to last night s thunderstorms.
  There was even a small stream crossing due to last night's thunderstorms.

Technical single track and sloppy woods sections were sure to keep riders on their toes.
  Technical single track and sloppy wood's sections were sure to keep riders on their toes.

Slow gradual climbs and steep technical descents combined with high temperatures robbed the racers of their energy today.
  Slow, gradual climbs, and steep, technical descents combined with high temperatures robbed the racers of their energy today.

Yolanda Neff again kept a lead throughout the race and took another win. She now has 900 points enough that she could theoretically skip a race and still take the series.
  Yolanda Neff again kept a lead throughout the race and took another win. She now has 900 points, enough that she could theoretically skip a race and still take the series.

Canadian National Champ Catherine Pendrell was a clear favorite today. She rode to a second place finish.
  Canadian National Champ, Catherine Pendrell, was a clear favourite today. She rode to a second place finish.

Some climbs were too much by laps four and five pushing up became the best option.
  Some climbs were too much by laps four and five; pushing up became the best option.

American Russell Finsterwald grinding up a slick climb that made many riders give in.
  American Russell Finsterwald grinding up a slick climb that made many riders give in.

Emily Batty duked it out with Katerina Nash but slipped back to fifth place on the last lap.
  Emily Batty duked it out with Katerina Nash, but slipped back to fifth place on the last lap.

Yolanda Neff crosses the line and accumulates a total of 900 points.
  Yolanda Neff crosses the line and accumulates a total of 900 points.

McConnell gets out in front for a clean start.
  McConnell gets out in front for a clean start.

Nino Schurter got away early and established a sizable lead. He lead most of the race only to trade position with Absalon.
  Nino Schurter got away early and established a sizeable lead. He lead most of the race, only to trade position with Absalon.

Absalon took a brief lead mid-race but Schurter answered the attack and quickly reeled him back in.
  Absalon took a brief lead mid-race, but Schurter answered the attack and quickly reeled him back in.

Dan McConnell powered through the field from somewhere around 22nd place on lap one to ultimately finish third. It s good to have diesel power.
  Dan McConnell powered through the field from somewhere around 22nd place on lap one to ultimately finish third. It's good to have diesel power.

The descent lovingly referred to as Beatrice was put back into the course this year and she didn t always play nice. The pile ups were many.
  The descent lovingly referred to as "Beatrice" was put back into the course this year and she didn't always play nice. The pile ups were many.

Pushing hard through the humidity up the many climbs on the MSA course made it feel like breathing through a wet sock.
  Pushing hard through the humidity, the many climbs on the MSA course made it feel like breathing through a wet sock.

It was hot and humid on the course today and though afternoon thunderstorms were in the forecast they never materialized. Better to cool off with a water bottle.
  It was hot and humid on course today, and though afternoon thunderstorms were in the forecast, they never materialized. Better to cool off with a water bottle.

Nothing left but burning lungs and stinging legs.
  Nothing left but burning lungs and stinging legs.

The agony of racing five laps on the physical course here in MSA can be brutal.
  The agony of racing five laps on the physical course here in MSA can be brutal.

A triumphant Nino Schurter pumps his fist as he comes across the line.
  A triumphant Nino Schurter pumps his fist as he comes across the line.

An exhausted Mathias Fluckiger takes a moment to catch his breath at the finish line. Fluckiger finished fifth today.
  An exhausted Mathias Fluckiger takes a moment to catch his breath at the finish line. Fluckiger finished fifth today.

Team mates friends family. Mantecon congratulates McConnell on a job well done.
  Team mates, friends, family. Mantecon congratulates McConnell on a job well done.

Women Poduim- Yolanda Neff Catherine Pendrel Katerina Nash Lea Davidson Emily Batty
  Women's Podium - Yolanda Neff, Catherine Pendrel, Katerina Nash, Lea Davidson, Emily Batty

Men s Podium- Nino Schurter Julien Absalon Dan McConnell Lukas f*ckiger Mathias Fluckiger.
  Men's Podium - Nino Schurter, Julien Absalon, Dan McConnell, Lukas Fluckiger, Mathias Fluckiger.



39 Comments

  • 124 5
 Fantastic to see more XC stuff here on Pinkbike. I'm all for the DH/AM/FR stuff just as much as the next guy, but XC guys don't get as much credit as they deserve (not necessarily from pinkbike, but in general); it takes a special kind of person to want to physically suffer, and to push the envelope more than you could imagine.. Not to mention the bike handling skills these guys have! Keep it up Pinkbike!
  • 30 3
 The descents are almost indistinguishable to me from those on DH/Enduro courses. These riders also have to climb, and to run the course repeatedly with less suspension beneath them. I don't understand how this isn't the most challenging discipline in mountain bike racing.
  • 5 5
 Whats up with the grocery line through "Beatrice"? Perhaps training wheels were needed?
  • 43 4
 More XC coverage please of high class events just like this.
  • 34 12
 I'd like to see how technical "beatrice was" before I judge the hikers-err-I meant bikers.
  • 19 8
 That's why xc riders should consider having a dropper post.
  • 48 3
 Remember - they are likely all walking because one person made a mistake and then everyone behind had to stop and then momentum is lost so you have to walk it....BUT.. am also sure that on Lap 1 you could do Beatrice....but on Laps 4,5,6 and 7 with heat, humidity and the pressure of competition....I might hazard a guess that you too might make a mistake and end up walking it too
  • 23 2
 Yeah, was gonna post what stretchza said. I'm sure everyone can ride those hard sections when they're fresh, but halfway though the race when people start getting sloppy one guy's mistake can have half a dozen people dismounting. Gotta remember, these races last like 90 minutes and you're pushing hard the whole time. I don't care how easy the stuff looks, go try sessioning a piece of your local singletrack for an hour and a half at max effort. You're bound to f*ck up sometime. Now imagine like 50 other people doing it at the same time. Reacting to other riders is probably the most challenging part of xc racing for me; you don't always get to take the line you want to take, and you have to be ready to dismount and sprint up a short climb or past a logjam at pretty much any time. Fun as hell though.

And thanks for the photos, LoretteRider. Looks awesome. More technical than a lot of the stuff I see in DH videos here.
  • 7 1
 The bits I saw of this race on TV everyone rode this section, but admittedly they were focussing on the front runners. As others say that picture of the pushers looks like a traffic jam caused by a faller

@ibis09 - A couple of the ladies did have droppers, but the front runners didn't seem to need them. Even though I have a dropper myself I actually like watching top riders riding with the seat up. It's good to be reminded that it is possible.

Neff is a complete boss on the technical sections. That played a large part in her victory here, which of course is how it should be.
  • 4 0
 I love you Beatrice!
  • 2 0
 saw many women and a few men avoiding the little river gap jump - it cost around 4secs or more. If you can manage Beatrice you should be able to clear the gap.
  • 1 0
 I've seen a handful of specialized riders on a proto 35mm dropper. Its a thing that may be on its way.
  • 1 0
 On any race course if you are going to get off the bike and walk a section you need to get out of the way to allow racers the option of riding through. Or if you screw up get out of the way. On a course like this a seat dropper would probably be worth it.
  • 1 5
flag bjorntsc (Aug 5, 2014 at 0:01) (Below Threshold)
 Lol, smooth course. Rocks look sharp, but there are no holes for your wheels to get stuck in.
  • 13 0
 Did the course once just day before and let me tell you lads it ain't a picknique....hats off to all the riders participating. I know how grueling it was never mind doing multiple of laps...other than that waked event never the less.
  • 12 0
 Crazy how rowdy some xc races can get
  • 8 0
 Photo of NiƱo crossing the line is perfect. Scott need to use that photo.
  • 1 0
 Except that it looks like he doesn't have any teeth since he is yelling.... kinda funny actually.
  • 2 0
 I prefer the women's race over the men. They are strong, fast, some of them have amazing bike handling skills and on the top of everything they are pretty. What not to like? Smile Neff and Prevot (on the previous two races) amazed me the most. The guys are brutal terminators, hats off to them too. Smile

Ohhh and great pictures as always! Smile
  • 5 0
 Great write up. One correction: it's Catharine not Catherine ;-)
  • 4 0
 Yeah Dan! back to back Bronze within a week!
  • 3 1
 He's just lucky that the 2 kiwis weren't racing Wink
  • 1 0
 They both race in under 23! Pretty amazing really, some great young talent coming out of NZ at the moment.
  • 4 1
 XC riding and Emily Batty on pinkbike....awesome start to a holiday Monday!
  • 3 0
 Wow Team BMC is just DEEP!! Smile Anyway congrats on the win Nino.
  • 4 0
 Nice swan Matt!
  • 4 0
 Emily Batty 3
  • 2 2
 I ride XC for fitness, but i still have a lotta fun doing it. I know it is a race, but this just doesnt seem like fun at all.
  • 1 0
 Great course, great rides from the front runners. Jeez, 7 laps at that pace on that terrain and up those climbs....
  • 2 0
 now i understand why most male xc rider wear mostly black lycra shorts.
  • 2 1
 looking at the course. wonder why they don't need a kneepad.
  • 2 1
 Both races were won on 650B hehe.
  • 1 1
 Indeed - it doesn't take a genius to figure that a steep big wheeler isn't actually ideal for a tight tech course ie most XCO events...
  • 1 0
 I did read Beatrice, but was looking for a rider with such name...
  • 1 0
 Im here for Emily Batty
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