With yesterday's downhill finals done and dusted, the spotlight turned towards an army of cross country riders. Three rounds have been completed, four more remain. The competition is heating up in all categories, with new challengers for that much sought top spot coming in hot. As for the Val di Sole venue, its downhill course is among the gnarliest out there. The XCO course has always been a disappointment, but this year the organizers made work of that and made significant changes to improve the course. Race day is on. Women Under 23
1. Sina Frei
2. Evie Richards
3. Malene DegnMen Under 23
1. Petter Fagerhaug
2. Joshua Dubau
3. Vlad DascaluWomen Elite
1. Maja Wloszczowska
2. Emily Batty
3. Jolanda Neff
The women's field would be mangled shortly after the start, with a massive pile-up of riders just when they left the grass to go into the woods. Annika Langvad and Linda Indergand were among the crash victims, both had to pull out of the race. Indergand due to a broken frame, Langvad with a bruised arm. With a reshuffled pack of riders, it was Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Jolanda Neff who battled it out in front. Neff was second to none in the downhills, but Ferrand-Prevot closed the gap again and again. Emily Batty chased meters behind, riding confidently. Throughout the race a pack of five riders remained close; Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Jolanda Neff, Emily Batty, Maja Wloszczowska and the ever-strong Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa.
Neff attacked in lap 5, opening a gap in the downhill but unable to keep the others from coming back moments later. In lap 6 it was her teammate, Maja Wloszczowska who attacked. Neff, Batty, and Ferrand-Prevot initially followed but today Wloszczowska proved to be in a class of her own taking another World Cup win after six years of waiting for it. Emily Batty took second whilst Jolanda Neff finished in third whilst Pauline Ferrand-Prevot settled for 4th. Gunn-Rita Dahle-flesjaa, at the age of 45, took 5th, Alessandra Keller at 22 years of age 6th. Kate Courtney managed to grab 7th and continues to impress in the elite field.
Due to Langvad dropping out, Jolanda Neff now leads the series before Annika Langvad and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Men Elite
1. Nino Schurter
2. Gerhard Kerschbaumer
3. Mathieu van der Poel
The men's competition is getting more and more interesting, with close races throughout the year. Anton Cooper almost managed to beat Schurter in Nove Mesto. In Val di Sole Mathieu van der Poel, the Dutch cyclocross star, already proved he meant business by winning the XCC race. He took the lead straight away with the rest of the field in pursuit. Shortly after Nino Schurter attacked and opened up a gap, in the very first lap of the race. Luca Braidot closed the gap and took the lead. Braidot's charge would soon end though, with Nino Schurter blasting off again. Another Italian surprise joined the front; Gerhard Kerschbaumer charged up the field. Van der Poel, Avancini and Vogel following in pursuit. Kerschbaumer's pace kept increasing, leading to an ever decreasing lead for Nino Schurter. With two laps to go, Kerschbaumer caught up with Schurter and even took the lead briefly. Making their way down to the finish with a comfortable lead, the two slowed down, waiting for the other's attack. It was Schurter who decided to make his move just prior to the last descent, opening up enough of a gap to take his 29th World Cup win. Gerhard Kerschbaumer took second, Mathieu van der Poel third. The podium was completed with Henrique Avancini in fourth and Florian Vogel in 5th.
Nino Schurter increases his overall lead in the series, with Mathieu van der Poel in second, Maxime Marotte in third, Florian Vogel in 4th and Henrique Avancini in 5th.