Cross country took centre stage today in Val di Sole with the U23 kicking off the action early this morning. As expected Mona Mitterwallner proved to be the one to beat and rode away from the competition, pulling out a gap in excess of two minutes to Laura Stigger who also had a big gap back to third-placed Caroline Bohe. It was a similar story in the U23 men with Martin Vidaurre Kossmann proving too strong for the rest of the field, the Chilean taking his first World Championship by over a minute with Juri Zanotti in second and Joel Roth in third.
It was difficult to predict what would happen in the elite ranks but it looked ominous when Pauline Ferrand Prevot pulled a big gap early on but it wasn't to be. She was reeled in by the UK's Evie Richards who muscled past and took off without looking back, she remained unchallenged for the rest of the race and waltzed over the line to her very first mountain bike World Championship title. One hell of a ride. Anne Terpstra was her closest challenger in the end just over a minute back, Sina Frei took the final medal in a sprint finish with Jolanda Neff. The men's was closer run with the Swiss duo of Mathias Flueckiger and Nino Schurter going toe to toe for most of the race which set up a tense but thrilling conclusion. It was Schurter who outfoxed the competition to notch up yet another World Championship title as Flueckiger slumped to the ground in disappointment as Victor Koretzky grabbed the bronze medal with a strong ride.
We don't have to wait long to see the World's best XC racers back in action as the World Cup season gets back underway next week in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.