Photo Epic: XC Finals - 2018 Val di Sole World Cup

Jul 8, 2018
by Irmo Keizer  


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 Degn

Well prepared.
Better come prepared. The valley of sunshine awaits.

They re off
They're off!

Evie Richards
Evie Richards making her way down. Richards finished in second.

Malene Degn with another solid 3rd place
Malene Degn with another solid 3rd place.

Sina Frei on her way to yet another U23 victory
Sina Frei on her way to yet another U23 victory.

Sina Frei takes another win here in VDS.
Sina Frei takes another win here in VDS.

Men Under 23

1. Petter Fagerhaug
2. Joshua Dubau
3. Vlad Dascalu

The cool air has pushed off and the heat took over. The first of many cooked in the Val di Sole sun.
The cool air has pushed off and the heat took over. The first of many cooked in the Val di Sole sun.


Vlad Dascalu went crazy in the last lap and made it to 3rd place
Vlad Dascalu went crazy in the last lap and made it to 3rd place after technical issues at the beginning.

Petter Fagerhaug dropping down into Val di Sole Bike Land
Petter Fagerhaug dropping down into Val di Sole Bike Land.

Petter Fagerhaug celebrating
Petter Fagerhaug has shown it before. This Norwegian is FAST.

Joshua Dubau being blessed by a monk in trail running shoes.
Joshua Dubau being blessed by a monk in trail running shoes.

Women 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.

Creepin
Creepin'

Hot temperatures meant riders were seeking shadow and trying to stay cool as long as they could
Hot temperatures meant riders were seeking shade and trying to stay cool as long as they could.


Yana heading up the long climb
Yana Belomoina is getting stronger and stronger. Heading up the long climb.

Pauline leads Neff and Batty through the woods.
Pauline leads Neff and Batty through the woods.

Refuel.
Refuelling is a must in Val di Sole.

Emily Batty was pushing it today and the second place finish was oh so sweet.
Emily Batty was pushing it today and the second place finish was oh so sweet.

Neff and Prevot in one of many back and fourths.
Neff and Prevot in one of many back and forths.

Anne Tauber was way behind after a crash but fought her way back into the top 10
Anne Tauber was way behind after a crash in the start loop but fought her way back into 10th.

Jolanda.
Jolanda charged hard in the downhills, riding away from the field in every single lap.

Pauline was in the lead for quite some time but had to settle for 4th in the end
Pauline was in the lead for quite some time but had to settle for 4th in the end.

An ecstatic Maja takes a win here in Val di Sole.
An ecstatic Maja takes a win here in Val di Sole.

After the fight.
After the fight.

Emily Batty.
Emily Batty putting up two big results in a row. Can she get on that top step soon?

The break out ride from Ellen Noble had her all smiles at the end.
The break out ride from Ellen Noble had her all smiles at the end.

Happy Maja.
Happy Maja.

Champagne.
Champagne.

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.

Nino was ready to answer all challengers today.
Nino was ready to answer all challengers today.

Nino was in the lead quite early
Nino was in the lead quite early

Henrique Avancini was on fire today and stoked to take fourth.
Henrique Avancini was on fire today and stoked to take fourth.

The surprise of the race Gerhard Kerschbaumer.
The surprise of the race: Gerhard Kerschbaumer.

One again out in front. The king wasn t giving up the crown.
Once again out in front. The king wasn't giving up the crown.

Florian Vogel was on the pace today and took fifth.
Florian Vogel was on the pace today and took fifth.

Mario Costa being cut off by a rider taking a shortcut.
Mario Costa being cut off by a rider taking a shortcut.

Nino blasting through the rock garden
Nino blasting through the rock garden.

Van der Poel putting the hammer down. Not enough today.
Van der Poel putting the hammer down. Not enough today. Van der Poel finished in third and is still on the hunt for that World Cup win.

Kerschbaumer caught up with Nino they started switching the lead
Kerschbaumer caught up with Nino, they started switching the lead

Nino looking back but Kerschbaumer was no threat at the end of the last lap
Nino looking back, but Kerschbaumer's threat faded with only hundreds of meters to go.

Made it
Made it.

Two happy chaps.
Two happy chaps. Schurter and Kerschbaumer celebrate.

Fontana was suffering
Fontana suffered.

Jordan Sarrou feeling it after 8 laps.
Jordan Sarrou feeling it after 8 laps.

Tempier fought a hard one today.
Tempier fought a hard one today.

Tough day in the office for Anton Cooper but team mate Sergio Matecon made some moves.
Tough day in the office for Anton Cooper, but teammate Sergio Mantecon made some moves.

Third place - this time without any excuses.
Third place - this time without any excuses.

Nino was genuinely happy.
Nino was genuinely happy.

Doing Scott proud on the anniversary.
Doing Scott proud on the anniversary. Racing heritage.

Celebration
Celebration!

Done. Dusted. Cheers Val di Sole.



59 Comments

  • + 58
 Super stoked for Batty, way to go Emily!
  • - 53
flag jclnv (Jul 8, 2018 at 23:05) (Below Threshold)
 Wheelsucked 95% of the race (as usual) and still lost.

Well done Maja.
  • + 9
 @jclnv: bit salty there mate?
  • + 17
 @jclnv: and I am sure she is still 95% faster than you!
  • - 3
 @HairyLegs: Don't doubt it. I'm just not sad enough to let a schoolboy crush for Batty cloud my judgment unlike the rest of Pinkbike. Which is clearly the case when you look how many comments the winner of the race got by comparison.
  • + 3
 @jclnv: I don't understand. Did she break the rules in some way? I'm asking because I really don't know. If she did, why did no race official call her on it and disqualify her? Or did she fairly play the game to her advantage? If that's the case, that just makes you a hater.
  • + 0
 2nd place is for 1st looser! Congrats Maja!
  • + 18
 @jclnv: Please don't mistake schoolboy crush for genuine respect for an amazing athlete.
This isn't mutually exclusive either, we're praising Batty specifically here but I would happily share the same praise for Maja who came out on top. Congrats to both.
Doesn't hurt that Batty has a Canadian flag on her jersey which is my personal bias being Canadian, but all the women in the race deserve their due credit. Chill out.
  • + 8
 @jclnv: Emily is Canadian and so am I - there is nothing wrong with showing support for someone from your own country. When Catherine is racing I support her too.

It would be great if there were also some front runners from Canada in the men’s Elite category - I would support them too. I suppose you would also consider that a schoolboy crush.
  • + 5
 @jclnv: this year there are many ladies in the xco who are real rock stars....another lady who showed real courage was Brandau....if I recall she was racing with a broken rib and came in 9th after Kate in a sprint finish. Then there is the amazing Gunn Rita, what an amazing women to be racing and making podiums after so many years of racing xco.....the ladies xco and dh are really putting up some good racing this season.....and Batty is only 94% faster than me Razz
  • - 1
 My enormous sack hurts just looking at these pictures.
  • + 3
 @TheR: He's just a hater. Batty riding within her limits to avoid stupid mistakes isn't wheel sucking. Neff And Wlosczowska also played some team tactics int he last few laps, with mistakes by Neff helping to open the gap. But no one would criticize them for that either.
  • + 2
 They are all awesome. It's great to see Batty rise back to 2nd place which is totally awesome. I means a lot to her, as well to the others when they have their struggles but come back to form from them. It's been a long time coming for Batty. Don't hate, appreciate!!
  • - 1
 @mountainbikerfisher: Yeah except you didn't mention Maja at all in your first comment...
  • + 2
 @jclnv: LOL yeah I'm sure Maja is so offended by that. The only one who seems to take offense is you. Like I said my comment wasn't mutually exclusive, you just chose to take it that way.
To each their own.
  • + 35
 How cool are the podiums!
  • + 12
 Ice cold
  • + 20
 GO HARD Gerhard :-) !!
really few can say " I battled with Super Nino"
and you are one of those
  • + 18
 The speed Nino went through that last rock garden and that last downhill section was simply unreal. Amazing.
  • + 16
 Bike frame--front triangle--rear triangle podium is glorious!
  • + 14
 Yes, best Womens podium ever! Super stoked for Majas and Emilys come backs. Yeah!
  • + 6
 These are beautiful pictures! I was not able to watch the race live this weekend on RB, but these stills made me feel like I didn't miss it; they caught the emotion and atmosphere so well. Thanks PB!
  • + 9
 Great racing. Incredible athletes. Well done Emily - superb!
  • + 8
 Neff's candy necklace is an interesting during-event fueling strategy.
  • + 7
 Stoked on Noble making an impression!
  • + 4
 Interesting that whereas all of the top men were on fullies, on the women's side only PFP was not riding a hard tail. OTOH, I think all but Batty had droppers, whereas none of the men did...
  • + 7
 after 3 first rides on my first dropper I noticed that I’d rather ride XC on ht with a dropper than a fully without...
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I am so used to riding with a dropper that I could not imagine riding without one, so I can realte to what you say. That, however, does not explain why Gunn Rita and E. Batty chose not to ride fullies. Neff and Maja, of course, did not really have a choice...
  • + 2
 Vogel on a hardtail though
  • + 2
 @JohanG: True dat, so 4 out of 5...
  • + 2
 @santoman: Neff rode a fully on the last race!
  • + 2
 @mh731: really? I thought Kross was not making a racing fully...makes me even more curious about why Nino and co. chose fullies and the ladies did not.
  • + 5
 Well done, Batty and Courtney!
  • + 5
 Excellent photo series! And so stoked for Batty!
  • + 3
 No NorCal Kate photos? pfffffft.
  • + 2
 I do not care what age or sex you are braking with your middle finger is lame
  • + 2
 I think "disappointment" is a bit extreme in describing a world cup race course.
  • + 3
 Wow. Fingerless gloves are still a thing. Who knew.
  • + 4
 Beautiful photos.
  • - 6
flag whoozh (Jul 8, 2018 at 20:45) (Below Threshold)
 Uh...yeah, like the one of Yana Belomoina squirting her bottle on her head...whats the word I'm looking for here?
  • + 9
 @whoozh: Loser.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: holy sht you kind of ask for a question about your iown race results
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you killed it!
  • + 2
 @drivereight: face swap app and face time sex chat can do a lot for you.
  • + 2
 That pic of Malene Degn is amazing.
  • + 1
 What is 'Gee atherton' doing filming the podium ceremony with a tv host shirt? :-D
  • + 3
 Bine Valdeeeeeeee!
  • + 1
 such a good race, such a good coverage PB
  • + 0
 Left cleat of Nino´s shoes it looks it went a litle bit loose... not paired with the right one.
  • + 1
 Fast girls and bikes. Sweet
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