A crisp Swiss mountain morning greeted the riders on XC Sunday in what was the final European stop of the 2021 season. The racing was stuck on full throttle as each category took to the start line in hopes of an uphill holeshot and healthy legs once the elevation factor became a harsh reality. It’s been a couple years since the circuit made its way over to take a shot at this largely natural course but even with limited capacity due to a certain global event, the arena was electric, cheering on anyone bearing the Swiss flag, whatever the number plate may read.
The U23 races kicked off the festivities just before the sun laid its rays on the start-finish arc. The women went first and the story was pure domination once again from the young Mona Mitterwallner. It wasn’t as clean cut this time as she took her time getting to the front. Once there, history repeated itself as she took her fifth consecutive win. The young men’s race was a little less predictable but exciting nonetheless. Martin Vidaurre Kossmann did take the eventual win but it wasn’t without some extra elbow grease. The top five riders traded spots until the final lap. Further back, the battle for the Leader’s Jersey blazed on with Carter Woods looking for a top ten finish to reclaim the Jersey - West Virginia will be a nail-biter.
Switching gears to the Elites, the pace picked up exponentially while fears of a possible late day shower disappeared. Last time around, Jenny Rissveds took the win here and did so again on Friday night during XCC but Sunday’s task was much harder. Evie Richards is riding her high off the Worlds win and was lusting after that first World Cup victory before season’s end. She had her sights set and there was no telling her otherwise. The excitement carried on to the men’s race for the final start of the day. It could have been anybody's race. Nino's a crowd favourite and yet his compatriot, Mathias Flueckiger, is now on the same playing field as him. Then there's Victor Koretzky, who as we've witnessed this year can really play into the waiting game while keeping up to the front of the pack. His late attack was thorough, leaving the two Swiss riders in his tracks. West Virginia is going to be one hell of a weekend.
These top dogs know how to race a bike thats for sure.