Photo Epic: Les Gets XC World Champs 2022

Aug 29, 2022
by Ross Bell  





The biggest race of the 2022 cross country season took place in front of a bumper crowd here yesterday in Les Gets, France. The day got off to the best possible start for the home supporters as Line Burquier put down a dominant performance to take home the rainbow jersey in front of Puck Pieterse and Sofie Pedersen. In the U23 men it was the Italian Simone Avondetto who had the ride of his career so far to take gold with Mathis Azzaro in second and Luca Schatti in third. By the time the elites took to the start every inch of the course was packed with fans and to their delight Pauline Ferrand Prevot took off and was never seen again, one hell of way to clinch yet another World Champs title. Jolanda Neff fought back to silver in front of Haley Batten who had a great ride into bronze. In the men's the writing was on the wall very early on with none other than that man Nino Schurter leading the pack. He commanded the front of the race and when push came to shove he broke free from David Valero Serrano in the final moments to add another gold medal to his collection. Valero crossed nine seconds later for silver with Luca Braidot hanging onto the bronze.

The biggest race of the year might be done but we still have the small matter of World Cup finals in Val di Sole this week.


Fair skies forecasted for XC Sunday.
Fair skies forecasted for XC Sunday.

Line Burquier was the firm favourite coming into the race.
Line Burquier was the firm favourite coming into the race.

The U23 women kick of the day s action.
The U23 women kick off the day's action.

Line Burquier leads Puck Pieterse down the first techy descent.
Line Burquier leads Puck Pieterse down the first techy descent.

Puck Pieterse couldn t match Line Burquier today but would take home the silver medal.
Puck Pieterse couldn't match Line Burquier today but would take home the silver medal.

Sofie Pedersen left it late in the race to claim her medal.
Sofie Pedersen left it late in the race to claim her medal.

Line Burquier overjoyed to take her first U23 World Champs title.
Line Burquier overjoyed to take her first U23 World Champs title.

A tough one for Giada Specia who lost out on a medal in the closing moments of the race.
A tough one for Giada Specia who lost out on a medal in the closing moments of the race.

Line Burquier takes home the gold medal Puck Pieterse the silver and Sofie Pedersen bronze.
Line Burquier takes home the gold medal, Puck Pieterse the silver and Sofie Pedersen bronze.

The French crowd let their feelings known when Line Burquier arrived on the podium.
The French crowd let their feelings known when Line Burquier arrived on the podium.

The U23 men are off.
The U23 men are off.

Big day out for Mathis Azzaro staying with the lead pack throughout and taking silver.
Big day out for Mathis Azzaro staying with the lead pack throughout and taking silver.

Bronze for Luca Schatti making his way up the pack.
Bronze for Luca Schatti making his way up the pack.

Simone Avondetto ramped up the pace eventually cracking Vidaurre by lap 3.
Simone Avondetto ramped up the pace eventually cracking Vidaurre by lap 3.

Avondetto takes the well earned stripes.
Avondetto takes the well-earned stripes.

Avondetto will get to wear his new jersey next week in his home country for the last round.
Avondetto will get to wear his new jersey next week in his home country for the last round.

U23 men s podium - Simone Avondetto Mathis Azzaro and Luca Schatti
U23 men's podium - Simone Avondetto, Mathis Azzaro, and Luca Schatti

Champagne showers for the champs.
Champagne showers for the champs.

What a day for Haley Batten.
What a day for Haley Batten.

One of two crowd favourites takes her place on the starting line.
One of two crowd favourites takes her place on the starting line.

Evie Richards suffered an unfortunate mechanical mid race but is back and on form.
Evie Richards suffered an unfortunate mechanical mid-race but is back and on form.

Loana Lecome was a firm favourite for the win but didn t quite have the legs to stick at the very front.
Loana Lecomte was a firm favourite for the win but didn't quite have the legs to stick at the very front.

The women are off in Les Gets.
The women are off in Les Gets.

Jolanda Neff started off fast and was smart enough to realise the pace was a little to high. She dropped back and came back strong into second.
Jolanda Neff started off fast and was smart enough to realise the pace was a little too high. She dropped back and came back strong into second.

A great showing by Malene Degn in 8th.
A great showing by Malene Degn in 8th.

What a ride by Haley Batten to take the bronze medal.
What a ride by Haley Batten to take the bronze medal.

Pauline like a bat out of hell increased her gap with every passing lap.
Pauline, like a bat out of hell, increased her gap with every passing lap.

This was Pauline Ferrand Prevot s race to loose and that became immediately clear from lap one.
This was Pauline Ferrand Prevot's race to lose and that became immediately clear from lap one.

A top ten finish for Caroline Bohe.
A top ten finish for Caroline Bohe.

Loana Lecomte just off the podium in fourth.
Loana Lecomte just off the podium in fourth.

In the mix as always Anne Terpstra settling into sixth.
In the mix as always, Anne Terpstra settling into sixth.

Alessandra Keller leads Haley Batten up the climb just before Batten made her move and overtook her on the inside of the following corner.
Alessandra Keller leads Haley Batten up the climb just before Batten made her move and overtook her on the inside of the following corner.

Mona Mitterwallner climbed her way back into 7th.
Mona Mitterwallner climbed her way back into 7th.

Top five finish for Alessandra Keller.
Top five finish for Alessandra Keller.

Haley Batten fought her way out of the pack and chased hard for a podium spot.
Haley Batten fought her way out of the pack and chased hard for a podium spot.

Annie Last had a great ride into the top 10.
Annie Last had a great ride into the top 10.

Vive la France. Pauline Ferrand Prevot takes yet another World Championship title.
Vive la France. Pauline Ferrand Prevot takes yet another World Championship title.

Jolanda Neff was super happy with her ride into silver.
Jolanda Neff was super happy with her ride into silver.

Loana Lecomte crosses the line into 4th.
Loana Lecomte crosses the line into 4th.

What a ride today by Malene Degn.
What a ride today by Malene Degn.

Lecomte congratulating Pauline on her incredible ride.
Lecomte congratulating Pauline on her incredible ride.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot adds another gold medal to her collection as Jolanda Neff picks up silver and Haley Batten the bronze.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot adds another gold medal to her collection as Jolanda Neff picks up silver and Haley Batten the bronze.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot back in the World Champs stripes. once again.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot back in the World Champs stripes. once again.

Tom Pidcock had to battle hard through the pack to get in contention at the front.
Tom Pidcock had to battle hard through the pack to get in contention at the front.

Nino Schurter tries his best to keep cool before th start.
Nino Schurter tries his best to keep cool before the start.

David Valero Serrano ready for battle.
David Valero Serrano ready for battle.

The men charging off the start.
The men charging off the start.

Filippo Colombo couldn t quite match his XCO medal performance but 9th is still a great ride.
Filippo Colombo couldn't quite match his XCO medal performance but 9th is still a great ride.

Tom Pidock with some work to do early in the race to reach the front of the pack.
Tom Pidcock with some work to do early in the race to reach the front of the pack.

Sam Gaze won the XCC and had his sights aimed at the XCO title too. A slight mistake with big consequences attached had him out on the opening laps.
Sam Gaze won the XCC and had his sights aimed at the XCO title, too. A slight mistake with big consequences attached had him out on the opening laps.

Seventh for Alan Hatherly.
Seventh for Alan Hatherly.

Jordan Sarrou was battling hard at the front of the pack.
Jordan Sarrou was battling hard at the front of the pack.

Nino Schurter laid down the marker early on and commanded how the race was going to play out.
Nino Schurter laid down the marker early on and commanded how the race was going to play out.

Jordan Sarrou leads the pack up the main climb which was lined with crowds top to bottom.
Jordan Sarrou leads the pack up the main climb which was lined with crowds top to bottom.

Marcel Guerrini rode consistently through the race to claw his way up to 5th.
Marcel Guerrini rode consistently through the race to claw his way up to 5th.

Nino pulling ahead. Can he make it 10 titles
Nino pulling ahead. Can he make it 10 titles?

Victor Koretzky had a good day out staying in the top 10 for most of the race.
Victor Koretzky had a good day out staying in the top 10 for most of the race.

David Valero Leading out the group up the climb. He was a marked man as the attacks came and went.
David Valero Leading out the group up the climb. He was a marked man as the attacks came and went.

Luca Braidot battled tooth and nail for his bronze.
Luca Braidot battled tooth and nail for his bronze.

Ondrej Cink with a stronger on his way to the top 10.
Ondrej Cink with a stronger on his way to the top 10.

The World Champs stripes would look strange on anyone else other than Nino Schurter.
The World Champs stripes would look strange on anyone else other than Nino Schurter.

That s 10 World Championship titles for Schurter.
That's 10 World Championship titles for Schurter.

Nino greeting Valero after the finish.
Nino greeting Valero after the finish.

Ondrej Cink left it all out there.
Ondrej Cink left it all out there.

Hatherly spent in the Les Gets heat.
Hatherly spent in the Les Gets heat.

Schurter Valero and Braidot. What a line up.
Schurter, Valero, and Braidot. What a line up.

That s World Champs sorted for Schurter. Now on the VDS for the final round of the year.
That's World Champs sorted for Schurter. Now on the VDS for the final round of the year.


Author Info:
rossbellphoto avatar

Member since Apr 25, 2010
145 articles

54 Comments
  • 63 1
 That Pidcock photo is so rad. That guy knows how to have fun in a race.
  • 33 43
flag HF3 (Aug 29, 2022 at 6:32) (Below Threshold)
 He didn’t look so rad when he was peevishly throwing water bottles at his team support. Glad to see the cocky little put in his place by Nino
  • 100 1
 I just want to point out that 95% of the people who call Pidcock a "roadie" couldn't get that flat off a jump on the best day of their lives - much less on a 100mm XC bike with their heart rate pegged at 175 BPM. Like him or not, dude can ride a bike, ANY bike.
  • 4 0
 Well said.
  • 5 2
 @HF3:
I guess you just dont like him, cocky to say it though perhaps.
  • 14 2
 @tommyrod74: people who use the term roadie derisively are gapers. Every. Last. One.

Most skilled riders have some kind of complementary background. Road, BMX, or cross riding-maybe some time on dirt bikes or ski racing. Even sports like hockey or surfing provide a lot of good foundational skills to riding a mountain bike well.
  • 4 5
 @HF3: Meh. Nino doesn’t handle adversity well either.
  • 6 0
 @HF3: Did he really throw a bottle AT his team support? or did he toss it on the ground.
  • 21 0
 And a nature lover too judging by how much tree hugging he was doing. Smile
  • 7 2
 That photo is simply amazing and Pidcock clearly is in the 99.9 percentile when it comes to bike handling! However, based on his mannerisms throughout the race, I'm not convinced he was having much fun.
  • 15 0
 @Wyndbrook: Pidcock is an amazing talent, but his statements leading up to the race about how "he should win" definitely made him appear cocky.
  • 10 0
 @adamszymkowicz: I've heard other interviews with him (Life in the Peloton podcast maybe?) where he just flat out says he thinks he's the best all-around cyclist and wants to prove it by winning in all the disciplines. Dude is not afraid to call his shots lol. Doesn't necessarily make him a dick, but he's absolutely a fierce competitor who doesn't like to mince words and give nice political answers. Maybe not the attitude a lot of mtbers like to see but nobody can deny the talent.

Also probably worth keeping in mind Pidcock had a great TdF, and training for a month of super long road stages with brutal climbs probably doesn't do him any big favors in an explosive 90 minute race.
  • 6 0
 @tommyrod74: dont be stupid man i can do that shit all day long .......im still that flat as i hit the ground a few metres away however which suggests im talking utter shit
  • 4 2
 @adamszymkowicz: Some people can afford to be cocky and Pidcock is one of them. He is taking the sport to another/next level.
  • 3 1
 "Tom Pidcock with some work to do early in the race to reach the front of the pack." instead of doing so he decided doing jumps and hugging trees was the order of events
  • 5 0
 @bkm303: I will never deny Pidcock's pure talent, but I'll always cheer for the other guy because of his (well deserved) cocky attitude.

Yesterday, the other guy was DVS. Well earned 2nd!
  • 3 3
 @zachcalton: His support reached her hand out for both bottles and he threw them at her feet in a blatantly tantrum-y way. I like Pidcock and fully expected to him win this, but it was a really bad look, reinforcing roadie stereotypes and all in a way that hasn't happened since Gaze went nuts on Cooper for not waiting for him to change his wheel.
  • 8 2
 @abbottt1: I disagree that his frustration comes anywhere close to what gaze did, or even what nino did to Matthias at lenzerheide. It was a very normal level of frustration in my opinion. He is in the zone, he might not have even noticed her hands
  • 20 0
 Haley Batten standing in the podium next to PFP and Neff; must be incredible to know you're in the mix with the very best in the sport.

Probably a giant confidence booster.
  • 20 2
 Not watched a lot of XC in the last few years but what an awesome race. Def watching in Val.

And all those roadie comments? Wtf its bike riding.
In any given week I probably ride 3 different types of bike including commuting. Get over yourselves.
  • 15 0
 I love having these photos as always, but in an effort to find the stories behind the images, who has answers to the following questions:

- Is Sam Gaze's head okay? That dude had a long road back, so I sure hope it was just a body shot he took off that jump.
- Speaking of crashes, how did Chris Blevins feel after kissing a rock on Friday? He seemed to have a solid race, if not the results he was hoping for from the weekend.
- Was Jolanda Neff the highest finish for the new SRAM super-direct RDs?
- How many pull ups can Avondetto do? That finish line shot - nice post-up.
- Staying with U23, was Burquier only squinting as the popped champagne because she heard about Biniam Girmay?
- Who had the most surprising no-show for Trek - Dascalu or Cooper?
- If the Canyon bikes weren't painted to save weight (as Bart repeated), how were they silver?
- Why was Sina Frei helping Gita Michiels put her chain back on? That made for an incredible image!
- How much does PFP's hardtail weigh, and how did she ever figure out her perfect training build-up in such a repeatable way?
- Finally, what are the odds of getting a Kona-style bike check? It would be really cool to know how many Maxxis athletes went for Aspens (though maybe Schwalbe athletes have more variability in choice) or how many Fox athletes go 34 vs 32, SIDs vs SLs, etc.

Anyone out there have answers?

-
  • 3 0
 Blevins' insta said he passed concussion tests after short track, but got bad noise-sensitivity headaches in the XCO race (from chainsaws/horns/etc) and pulled the plug.

I would also love to see that bike check!

Dude poor Girmay... apparently those corks almost took out Van Der Poel too. Why on earth would someone pre-loosen the corks??? I'd definitely point the bottle away and squint too lol.
  • 5 0
 I'm guessing her hardtail was stupid light. Detailed XC bike checks would be some of my favorite / most-clicked content on pinkbike.
  • 4 0
 Sam Gaze's head is ok...collar bone, broken, some ribs, broken
Dascalu had most surprising no-show - Anton had Covid a few weeks prior and still in recovery (didn't get the mild variety)
Sina Frei was just being cool and rides with the spirit of enduro
The Canyon bikes were black, but a form of TV magic was used to turn them silver. It's the only not paint but is painted answer?!?
  • 3 0
 Nino was also running the new AXS direct-mount RD Smile
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the responses people!

That makes sense about Blevins - he seemed reasonably 'in the race' until he wasn't, though it raises questions about the effectiveness of the concussion protocol.

I didn't know about Cooper's covid, but was looking for shots on whether or not Nino was running the new SRAM - because really, if you're going to have it on anyone's bike going into worlds... right? PFP's hardtail uses a different derailleur hanger if memory serves, so the other obvious athlete to include isn't an option.
  • 1 0
 Looked like PFP running blacked out Ray/Ralph grippy blue stripe version, BMC team is Vittoria.
Also notice Colombo on a new full suspension BMC, not the current Fourstroke.
  • 1 0
 @gorideabicycle: Unless BMC made her a special frame with an unique carbon layout, the Twostroke is quite heavy. The frame itself is over 1 kg, that's 200 to 300 g more than the "best" hardtails of the market. Geometry is top-notch but BMC wasn't targeting WC riders when they made the bike, more your local regional / national cup racer.
  • 1 0
 If it’s not a DH bike, you won’t get much from PB.
  • 9 0
 As a big Nino fan, I do actually think Pidcock wins this 7/10 times, even from a back row start. He may have just had an off day. Would have liked to see a little more poise from him while crossing the line, but I understand his disappointment.
  • 2 0
 He had a bug during the week - as others did; something going around...
  • 7 0
 Rob said in the feed that Nino could have (now has) a decade of gold world championship medals. I had difficulty understanding the weight of this fact.
  • 1 0
 Seeing these pics reminded me. Don't know how many saw the medal ceremonies... god bless the French, covid protocols completely vanquished. The medal presenter was double kissing and hugging the medalists at the women's podium show. Haven't seen this since '19.

Also what was up with PFP's fork? - SRAM didn't have the new mech and cassette on her bike but the uppers on her SID look slightly scalloped at the crown where stanchions insert. Didn't see any others done that way all weekend.
  • 5 0
 PFP’s BMC hardtail does not utilize the UDH rear derailleur hanger standard and is therefore not compatible with the new rear derailleur mounting format. Kate Courtney also had the new SID crown/upper as did a couple of other athletes (unique to SID SL Ultimate).
  • 1 0
 That women's XC race reminded me of Sunday's Formula 1 race. Pauline Ferrand Prevot was the analogue for Verstappen. Coming from the back and taking the lead and just riding away, like there was no one in her league. Jolanda rides like LeClerc drives, but with a better result this weekend. Her pass from 5th to 3rd on the 4th lap.... Wheel to wheel on the four cross course, late braking and diving to the inside. Just fantastic.
  • 5 1
 Stoked for PFP and Nino - the right riders won this weekend!
  • 4 0
 XC Fantasy League next year please!
  • 3 0
 Is N1NO rocking 4 pot front brakes?
  • 2 0
 I think so. To fast for 2 pot Wink
  • 1 0
 Yep, Sram G2 Ultimate
  • 2 0
 Great Photo Epics this week PB. Thanks for all of the new additions to my Desktop Slide Show!!!
  • 2 0
 Simone Avondetto and Mathis Azzaro look like twins!
  • 3 0
 Hardtail FTW
  • 3 3
 Not strange that Nino slid out in that corner when he basiclly has a slick rear tire
  • 2 0
 He's been using those tires front & rear for a few years now.
  • 1 1
 @Joecx: Not the Aspen ST front and rear for XCO racing
  • 2 0
 @laupe: Nino was on Aspen ST in Nove Mesto, Lenzerheide and Andorra Wink
  • 7 0
 He uprooted a rock mid corner which kicked the back end up and out from under him. There is a video of the crash where it is visible. The Aspen ST share the same corner knob profile as the traditional Aspen so center knob grip or lack thereof didn’t apply in this scenario.
  • 2 0
 @laupe: yes, he often uses it front and rear for XCO racing.
  • 3 0
 Ok, i was wrong. It's very impressive how good he can ride with such small knobs
  • 1 0
 Ross gives no f*cks about how dirty his camera's sensor is lol
  • 1 0
 PFP riding schwalbe tyres with covered branding instead of Vittorias?
  • 1 0
 Pretty common at Worlds/Olympics.
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