Photo Epic: The Rain, the Mud, and the Suffering - Les Gets XC World Cup 2021

Jul 5, 2021
by Andy Vathis  


The Les Gets XCO finals followed suit on the chaos and carnage we witnessed in the downhill. The weather forecast was looking ominous and it played true with the rain beginning to fall during the U23 men, conditions that were mastered by Simone Avondetto. The Italian got the better of Martin Vidaurre Kossmann and Juri Zanotti, in doing so he took the overall leaders jersey away from Carter Woods who had a race to forget. In the U23 women, Mona Mitterwallner proved too strong for her competition once again as she romped clear of Caroline Bohe and Leonie Daubermann.

The Elite Women was a familiar story. Loana Lecomte swiftly dispatched of any lingering disappointment from Friday evening's short track, if there was any, and made her way to the front without stopping to look back. Jenny Rissveds took second, 51 seconds back from Lecomte after fending off the charging Evie Richards who had managed to wriggle past Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Rebecca McConnell. The Elite Men had the wettest conditions with heavy rain falling throughout the race - it didn't dampen Mathias Flueckiger's spirits though. Confidence and momentum are at an all-time high and it shows. Ondrej Cink ran him closest once again whilst Jordan Sarrou, Alan Hatherly and Nino Schurter completed the podium steps.

The cross-country attention now switches to Tokyo with the next World Cup XC action not until September.

The weather forecast held true to it s word today.
The weather forecast held true to its word today.

Final preparations for Mona Mitterwallner.
Final preparations for Mona Mitterwallner.

Caroline Bohe leads them off the line.
Caroline Bohe leads them off the line.

Caroline Bohe would once again run Mona Mitterwallner the closest.
Caroline Bohe would once again run Mona Mitterwallner the closest.

Leonie Daubermann once again takes to the junior women podium.
Leonie Daubermann once again takes to the U23 Women's podium.

Mona Mitterwallner threads her way through the slippery grass sections.
Mona Mitterwallner threads her way through the slippery grass sections.

A clean sweep so far in 2021 for Mona Mitterwallner and perhaps one of the most convincing so far.
A clean sweep so far in 2021 for Mona Mitterwallner and perhaps one of the most convincing so far.

Your top 2 junior women 1st Mona Mitterwallner 2nd Caroline Bohe 3rd Leonie Daubermann.
Your top 3 U23 women: 1st Mona Mitterwallner 2nd Caroline Bohe 3rd Leonie Daubermann.

Cool and collected Simone Avondetto is ready to go.
Cool and collected, Simone Avondetto is ready to go.

Lots of shuffling off the line for the U23 men s start.
Lots of shuffling off the line for the U23 men's start.

The second of two Italians on the podium today Juri Zanotti finished third.
The second of two Italians on the podium today, Juri Zanotti finished third.

Second place for Martin Vidaurre Kossmann after clawing back a few places.
Second place for Martin Vidaurre Kossmann after clawing back a few places.

Avondetto was patient and made his moves near the end.
Avondetto was patient and made his moves near the end.

Big win for Simone Avondetto in a stacked U23 Men s class.
Big win for Simone Avondetto in a stacked U23 Men's class.

Your U23 men s podium 1st Simone Avondetto 2nd Martin Vidaurre Kossmann and 3rd Juri Zanotti
Your U23 men's podium: 1st Simone Avondetto, 2nd Martin Vidaurre Kossmann, and 3rd Juri Zanotti

Most of this course is exposed ski slope with barely any cover fro the elements.
Most of this course is exposed ski slope with barely any cover from the elements.

Evie Richards gets in the zone whilst rain bounces off the roof of the Trek Factory Racing pits.
Evie Richards gets in the zone whilst rain bounces off the roof of the Trek Factory Racing pits.

Loana Lecomte certainly put the disappointment of short track well behind her.
Loana Lecomte certainly put the disappointment of short track well behind her.

Lining up on home soil Pauline is looking for a big race.
Lining up on home soil, Pauline is looking for a big race.

The women are off with showers starting to move through the venue.
The women are off with showers starting to move through the venue.

Tenth for Eva Lechner.
Tenth for Eva Lechner.

A solid eighth place for Ronja Eibl.
A solid ninth place for Ronja Eibl.

Yana Belomoina speeding through the noisy fans who lined the track once again.
Yana Belomoina speeding through the noisy fans who lined the track once again.

Sina Frei with another consistent ride into 7th.
Sina Frei with another consistent ride into 7th.

Kate Courtney working her way back from injury.
Kate Courtney working her way back from injury.

There was brief moment were Loana seemed to be struggling in the deteriorating conditions but bounced back in a huge way in the later laps.
There was a brief moment where Loana seemed to be struggling in the deteriorating conditions but bounced back in a huge way in the later laps.

Anne Tauber was just off the podium in 6th.
Anne Tauber was just off the podium in 6th.

Rebecca McConnell sliding her way onto the last spot of the podium.
Rebecca McConnell sliding her way onto the last spot of the podium.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot doing the French proud and into the fourth spot on the podium.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot doing the French proud and into the fourth spot on the podium.

Evie Richards thrives in these chaotic conditions and today was no different.
Evie Richards thrives in these chaotic conditions and today was no different.

Jenny Rissveds was in the thick of it from the off and was Lecomte s nearest challenger.
Jenny Rissveds was in the thick of it from the off and was Lecomte's nearest challenger.

Loana Lecomte wasn t in the mood for hanging about today. Again.
Loana Lecomte wasn't in the mood for hanging about today. Again.

Loana Lecomte seems somewhat untouchable this year.
Loana Lecomte seems somewhat untouchable this year.

Four straight. What a season it s been so far.
Four straight. What a season it's been so far.

Lecomte congratulating Rissveds after a hard fought battle.
Lecomte congratulating Rissveds after a hard-fought battle.

A tough battle out there today for Pauline Ferrand Prevot. She was rewarded with fourth for her efforts.
A tough battle out there today for Pauline Ferrand Prevot. She was rewarded with fourth for her efforts.

Evie Richards takes her best elite finish so far she ll be looking higher though
Evie Richards takes her best elite finish so far, she'll be looking higher though!

Your top 5 elite women 1st Loana Lecomte 2nd Jenny Rissveds 3rd Evie Richards 4th Pauline Ferrand Prevot 5th Rebecca McConnell
Your top 5 Elite Women: 1st Loana Lecomte 2nd Jenny Rissveds 3rd Evie Richards 4th Pauline Ferrand Prevot 5th Rebecca McConnell

One more shower for the top women and it s bubbly.
One more shower for the top women and it's bubbly.

The rain got particularly heavy during the men s race.
The rain got particularly heavy during the men's race.

Tricks of the trade - A few riders were spotted sporting duct tape on the downtubes as mud guards. It helps keep mud from sticking too.
Tricks of the trade for keeping mud and its weight off your bike.

Mathias Flueckiger has been on one this season rain or shine.
Mathias Flueckiger has been on one this season, rain or shine.

Nino has his sights set regardless of what the weather has in store.
Nino has his sights set, regardless of what the weather has in store.

Ondrej Cink lining up alongside Alan Hatherly.
Ondrej Cink lining up alongside Alan Hatherly.

The elite men power their way off the line.
The Elite Men power their way off the line.

It was carnage out there today.
It was carnage out there today.

Mathias Flueckiger is a wet weather specialist so the writing was on the wall very early given his current form.
Mathias Flueckiger is a wet weather specialist so the writing was on the wall very early given his current form.

Tenth place went to Nadir Colledani.
Tenth place went to Nadir Colledani.

Ninth for Lars Forster.
Ninth for Lars Forster.

Luca Braidot cranks his way up the final metres of the opening climb.
Luca Braidot cranks his way up the final metres of the opening climb.

Track conditions actually got better once the heavier rain fell.
Track conditions changed midway through the race as the skies opened up spawning streams across the steep bits.

Seventh for Simon Andreassen in the deluge.
Seventh for Simon Andreassen in the deluge.

Although it s great getting to wear the rainbow jersey there is one downside when it comes to laundry... Good luck getting that looking fresh again Jordan
Although it's great getting to wear the rainbow jersey there is one downside when it comes to laundry... Good luck getting that looking fresh again Jordan!

Far ahead of his number plate Daniele Braidot landed himself a sixth place finish.
Far ahead of his number plate, Daniele Braidot landed himself a sixth-place finish.

That s more like it from Nino Shurter as he takes the final step on the podium.
That's more like it from Nino Shurter as he takes the final step on the podium.

A good day for Alan Hatherly taking home fourth.
A good day for Alan Hatherly taking home fourth.

The French crowd erupted as Sarrou pedalled past.
The French crowd erupted as Sarrou pedalled past.

Ondrej Cink once again had to play second fiddle to Mathias Flueckiger.
Ondrej Cink once again had to play second fiddle to Mathias Flueckiger.

Flueckiger had some extra time for style points while on his way to victory.
Flueckiger had some extra time for style points while on his way to victory.

Mathias Flueckiger across the line with time to spare.
Mathias Flueckiger across the line with time to spare.

Jordan Sarrou was ecstatic to get on the podium at home.
Jordan Sarrou was ecstatic to get on the podium at home.

Simon Andreassen is under there somewhere.
Simon Andreassen is under there, somewhere.

Your top 5 elite men 1st Mathias Flueckiger 2nd Ondrej CInk 3rd Jordan Sarrou 4th Alan Hatherly and 5th Nino Schurter
Your top 5 Elite Men: 1st Mathias Flueckiger, 2nd Ondrej Cink, 3rd Jordan Sarrou, 4th Alan Hatherly, and 5th Nino Schurter

The last champagne spray before the Olympics... Who will take gold in Tokyo
The last champagne spray before the Olympics... Who will take gold in Tokyo?

Sun rays crept in as the ceremonies wrapped up. Until next time Les Gets.
Sun rays crept in as the ceremonies wrapped up. Until next time, Les Gets.



36 Comments

  • 21 1
 I would love a tire check on those bikes,I know Fluckinger ran Dirty Dans. Great pictures! It looked like some muddy world cup races of old times,when CX racers dominated.
  • 4 0
 New mud tires from maxxis for scott-sram team
  • 5 0
 Was thinking the same thing. Also wish RedBullTV could film both rider and tire when first row riders line up at the start, like they do in most CX-races.
  • 7 2
 Definitely not Dirty Dans on Flueckiger's bike. Mud or not, he would not be running a tire that weighs over 3lbs... I'm not sure what his Schwalbe tires were, but when you zoom in on the pic of him on the grass, I could swear the name looks like "First Ride"? Maybe some new prototype mud XC tire?
  • 4 1
 @arek: maybe it's a new XC 'Dainty Dan'
  • 6 0
 @arek: He said he was running Dirty Dan in pre race interview. Maybe a new lighter model?
  • 5 0
 What Tyres??? From Isla Short, facebook post,
"@schwalbetires gave me the new Wicked Will prototype in the hopes that the heavens would open for Sunday. Last minute downpour meant Will got a ride the 2.0 looked sooo skinny riding towards the pens I was quite scared turns out it’s sickkk in those conditions! I get kinda bored running the same tyres all the time cause it’s harder to understand what feels good so I like it when the weather gods spice things up a bit the tyre will be for sale early 2022 (in multiple sizes for you more progressive bike riders - Papa Short is probably convinced this tyre width was the sole reason for yesterday’s success and this won’t have helped my arguments for wider tyres in other situations one bit ) @kenoderleyn"
  • 3 0
 @arek: There is a Liteskin 2.0 version of the Dirty Dan,weighting 520gr.
  • 2 0
 @arek: I had te opportunity to have in my hands a pair of Julian Absalon's Hutchinson Phyton tires that he used in the Orbea team. Those tires were very different (soft sticky compound) than those available for users. I think the same applies for any top WC racer, they just get some "very special" components
  • 10 0
 Great pics, but can't zoom in enough to figure out which horrible tire choice that Jenny Rissveds was on, so I can make sure I never ride on it.
  • 5 0
 She was running Specialized Fast Track. Maybe should have opted for the Storm-tire instead, but who are we to say. She took 2nd and was very close to 1st. If the A line had been open she might not have fallen and maybe she’d won because she wouldn't have to ride the B-line (that she had never practiced).
  • 2 0
 She was fast uphill. More visible on camera.but Not necessarily wrong choice.
  • 4 0
 Jenny seems to prefer the Fast Trak. She rode them last time out as well when all other S-riders were on Renegades. Still beat them both times!
I'd go for something a bit more open on the front (Ground control), but I know Spesh have just released new versions of all the XC-tires. I also know Jenny is a hell of a lot better than me, and can well understand why she opted for the FT. It is a pretty awesome tire even with the low knobs and somewhat crowded pattern.

Jordan and Sina looks to be on either Storms or the new GC. Loana on something similar - very open pattern.
  • 9 0
 Does someone want to explain the downtube flappy thing...
  • 2 1
 It's there so the mud doesn't stick to the frame. The mud can weigh down the frame.
  • 1 0
 Stops mud sticking to the downtube I guess
  • 1 0
 Duct tape
  • 12 0
 I don't know but I could imagine different scenarios:

1. It "breaks" the surface continuum of the downtube. If a mud was deposited on a single surface then it becomes a single big lump hard to get rid of. The small areas hanging at the bottom part of this flappy strip provide less area where a large lump of mud could stick to (also reducing the available surface where the holding forces are acting against) and as such minimizes the overall mud stick up.

2. The mud that actually sticks to the tape will receive more destabilizing forces while riding due to the additional vibrations (due to it's low stiffness).

3. It adds areas of high negative slope where gravity is acting only vertically (no horizontal friction component).

4. Tape might have lower friction and could be potentially pre-sprayed with nano-particles of specific properties in the factory.

5. The placebo effect Smile
  • 9 0
 Judging by some of the photos they should have used the flappy thing on their faces & clothes
  • 2 0
 Not sure I'd want a long piece of muddy duct tape potentially falling off into my drive-train. No way that's a better option than spraying the downtube with your favorite non stick cooking spray.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure they use it as a sort of tear off similar to a downhiller’s goggles... Ditch the weight of the built up mud mid race.
  • 9 2
 pretty good race, Mud on DH races is boring af, but i can watch the whole XC muddy race no problem.
  • 1 0
 Funny eh? Ruins a DH race but there is something enthralling about watching XC riders battling in the mud to try and keep their bikes going straight.
  • 3 0
 @knutspeed: Jenny is definitely on Fast Tracks. You can read it in the picture with the Orange Tree Pad in the background. IMPO, the FT is a great dry tire but can be pretty dicey in the mud. I run them all the time in the desert SW. She said a bit about it in her interview. She probably wishes she'd gone with the Ground Control for the conditions. She was fighting for every bit of traction she could find.
Not a Storm on the others bikes, knobs are too small. Too few knobs for a Renegade unless they're Cut. Looks more like the old GC than the new one.
  • 2 0
 Why would you pick Fast Tracks for muddy conditions? I find that bizarre. Are they that obsessed with saving weight that they'll pick the wrong tyres.

As the old Pirelli ad used to say "Power is nothing without control".
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: Easy to choose control when the power is delivered by an engine and all you have to do is put your fot down ;-)

The new Fast Track has a more aggressive nob layout/size than previous generation.

Sarrou seems to have ridden with Storm on the front, and maybe Fast Track on the rear?
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: What comes to mind first is that she/they didn't expect it to get that wet & sloppy and went with what they had ready.
  • 4 0
 What Bontrager tyres was Evie Richards on? Must be a proto tyre???

Also... middle finger braking freaks me right out
  • 2 0
 Same question. they look pretty burly
  • 1 0
 "Tricks of the trade for keeping mud and its weight off your bike."

As you can see on the photos, this thing didn't helped a lot Smile
  • 1 0
 I know, I know, no one likes a smart arse, but.................. I told you Evie Richards was gona smash it at les Gets, just say'in!!
  • 2 0
 Some amazing shots. The black and whites especially are wall hangers
  • 2 0
 Can't agree with you more. Wonderful photos PB. Chapeau to al those "sqids" who managed to keep their kit working and get such great and varied shots in those conditions.

Over the last couple of years the womens XC has become so frick'in good to watch.
  • 1 0
 I would love to see someone like Richie Rude's build win one of these things.
  • 1 0
 MUD!
Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Those crazy cats

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