Photo Epic: First Ever Short Track Rainbow Stripes Awarded - Val di Sole World Championships 2021

Aug 26, 2021
by Andy Vathis  




It was a historic day with the very first XCC World Championship taking place in Val di Sole. World Cup short tracks are always a frantic affair with the grid for the main XCO event being decided on the results, but today there was a lot more on the line with the rainbow jersey and three medals laying in wait. It lived up to the hype with both races being decided in the dying seconds of the race.

Sina Frei just pipped Evie Richards in a photo finish whilst Pauline Ferrand Prevot was a few meters behind in third. In the men's field, it looked like Max Brandl had broken free from the chasing pack with one lap to go before he was reeled in for a final straight show down with Christopher Blevins, Henrique Avancini, Ondrej Cink and Alan Hatherly.

It was the American Christopher Blevins who had the most left in the tank and Avancini and Brandl fought over the remaining medals in his dust with Avancini coming out ahead.


Moody skies moved in during the afternoon but the rain held off until after the race.
Moody skies moved in during the afternoon, but the rain held off until after the race.

Jenny Rissveds finished in the top 10 but was a contender midway through the race.
Jenny Rissveds finished in the top 10 but was a contender midway through the race.

Deep breathes for Evie Richards as the clock runs down to the start.
Deep breathes for Evie Richards as the clock runs down to the start.

Sina Frei about to make history.
Sina Frei about to make history.

The women leave the start for a fast and frantic 20 minutes in the saddle.
The women leave the start for a fast and frantic 20 minutes in the saddle.

Olympic champ Jolanda Neff led the first lap but would slip back to 5th with a few mistakes.
Olympic champ Jolanda Neff led the first lap but would slip back to 5th with a few mistakes.

Eva Lechner goes up ahead with many laps still to go.
Eva Lechner goes up ahead with many laps still to go.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot was a permanent fixture at the front of the field today.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot was a permanent fixture at the front of the field today.

Rebecca McConell rode another consistent race and ended up in 6th.
Rebecca McConnell rode another consistent race and ended up in 6th.

Evie found herself ahead fending off attacks towards the last couple laps.
Evie Richards found herself ahead fending off attacks towards the last couple laps.

Linda Indergand digs deep. She d finish fourth.
Linda Indergand digs deep. She'd finish fourth.

Eventual winner Sina Frei content to hold back from the front in the early laps.
Eventual winner Sina Frei content to hold back from the front in the early laps.

It came down to a 3 way sprint between Sina Frei Evie Richards and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
It came down to a 3-way sprint between Sina Frei, Evie Richards and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

There was absolutely nothing to separate Sina Frei and Evie Richards on the line.
There was absolutely nothing to separate Sina Frei and Evie Richards on the line.

The smallest of margins separated Evie Richards from the gold medal today.
The smallest of margins separated Evie Richards from the gold medal today.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot gave it her all but didn t quite have the legs to take another gold medal and World Championship jersey.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot gave it her all but didn't quite have the legs to take another gold medal and World Championship jersey.

A photo finish for the first XCC Champion. What a way to write history here in Val di Sole.
A photo finish for the first XCC Champion. What a way to write history here in Val di Sole.

Your top 3 XCC Women Elite Sina Frei 2nd Evie Richards 3rd Pauline Ferrand Prevot
Your top 3 XCC Women Elite: Sina Frei 2nd Evie Richards 3rd Pauline Ferrand Prevot

The champagne flies for the first time this week in Val di Sole.
The champagne flies for the first time this week in Val di Sole.

Ondrej Cink in the final moments before the race start.
Ondrej Cink in the final moments before the race start.

Alan Hatherly has had a good week so far and today was no different.
Alan Hatherly has had a good week so far and today was no different.

Chris Blevins finished third in his XCC qualifying heat and today he s wanting more.
Chris Blevins finished third in his XCC qualifying heat and today, he wanted more.

The men round the first turn with eventual winner Christopher Blevins already at the sharp end of proceedings.
The men round the first turn with eventual winner Christopher Blevins already at the sharp end of proceedings.

Anton Cooper won his qualifying heat but was left frustrated after the race tonight.
Anton Cooper won his qualifying heat but was left frustrated after the race tonight.

It was good to see Sam Gaze back in the mix again.
It was good to see Sam Gaze back in the mix again.

The lead group heads up the four cross track.
The lead group heads up the four cross track.

Out on the lead lap was Denmark s Sebastian Carstensen.
Out on the lead lap was Denmark's Sebastian Carstensen.

Henrique Avancini was hungry for it today. He ended up second but has a shot at redemption on Saturday.
Henrique Avancini was hungry for it today. He ended up second, but has a shot at redemption on Saturday.

Ondrej Cink was at the front for the whole race but didn t quite have the legs to hang on at the end.
Ondrej Cink was at the front for the whole race but didn't quite have the legs to hang on at the end.

Chris Blevins making his way up the pack with Max Brandl in tow.
Chris Blevins making his way up the pack with Max Brandl in tow.

Christopher Blevins rode the last lap to perfection and was rewarded with the very first World Championships in XC Short Track.
Christopher Blevins rode the last lap to perfection and was rewarded with the very first World Championships in XC Short Track.

Madness as Blevins is greeted by his team.
Madness as Blevins is greeted by his team.

Unbelievable finish by Blevins taking the stripes.
Unbelievable finish by Blevins taking the stripes.

Max Brandl had one hell of a ride but couldn t sustain his breakaway and had to settle for third in the end.
Max Brandl had one hell of a ride but couldn't sustain his breakaway and had to settle for third in the end.

So close yet so far for Henrique Avancini.
So close yet so far for Henrique Avancini.

Your top 3 Men Elite - 1st Christopher Blevins 2nd Henrique Avancini 3rd Max Brandl
Your top 3 Men Elite - 1st Christopher Blevins, 2nd Henrique Avancini, 3rd Max Brandl

Champagne before the rain trickled into the venue.
Champagne before the rain trickled into the venue. Let's hope everything stays dry a little longer.



28 Comments

  • 57 0
 The last USA male gold medal on a XC world Championship was John Tomac in 1991...7 years before Chris Blevins was born!
  • 41 2
 Let's not forget that it was a US rider who also to the Master's XC gold medal this year. Tinker Juarez at 64 and kicking butt. Californian latino from LA, chauuuu!
  • 12 0
 Both live in Durango, Colorado. They put something in the water here... :o
  • 11 0
 @Grantma: Or take something out of the air? :-)
  • 2 0
 @Grantma: some Goldorado power drink !
  • 1 0
 @Grantma: Along with the Koos factor..
  • 13 0
 Huge win for the Durango guy! Way to go Blevins! Nice job, PB, on the pics and reporting, as noted before not giving away the winners. That pic of the men in the first turn is fantastic!
  • 8 0
 Appreciate the no-spoiler headlines! Shocked about Blevins! Who dat?! Incredible career-defining day.
  • 5 0
 I wish they had a directly down the line shot of the finish line for womens race.
  • 4 0
 US male wins first world champs in 20+ years.....US can't watch because of geo restrictions. Cool beans. Ya ya ya I know, VPN and all that. Still not really the point.
  • 4 1
 It’s on flowsports. I watched it yesterday.
  • 6 1
 that's a lot of bubbly oakleys
  • 6 1
 This article was brought to you by _______
  • 3 0
 Do they have to ride the same bikes in they XCO like they do for World Cups? Or is that rule not present for World Championships?
  • 2 0
 I think it is independent, but also have this question
  • 3 0
 They don't have to use the same bike - totally separate event in the WCs.
  • 2 0
 Evie Richards is such a joy to watch. So fast and committed, and completely magnanimous in defeat. PFP could do with learning a thing or two about that from her.
  • 2 1
 That should give him lots of confidence going into Saturday's XCO race... Could the USA finally win its first men's world championship in 30 years since John Tomac??
  • 2 0
 Blevins is such a class act! Cheers to the world champ!!
  • 1 0
 Genuine question: are XCC world champs allowed to wear stripes in XCO races?
  • 2 0
 No, you can only (have to) wear the stripes for the discipline actively competing in: XCO, XCC, XCM etc. Same as all the jerseys.
  • 3 0
 @tuna-fish: Well up until this point, the XCO champion has been wearing the stripes in XCC races but I guess that is changing... But this brings up a question about Avancini. If you've been watching some of his previous XCO races, his kit displays rainbow stripes but he has never won an XCO championship. So can you display the stripes in XCO races if you have won an XCM championship (Like Avancini?) I guess the answer is yes since that is what has been happening.
  • 1 0
 Wow... So cool to see this kid earn the stripes! I remember when he was a kid racing BMX!
  • 2 0
 Hell yeah Blevins!!
  • 1 0
 everytime i hear the name blevins i think of all the pretty horses iono
  • 1 2
 Sebastian Carstensen looks like someone who would be banned from being around schools or playgrounds with that mustache.

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