Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of the Lenzerheide World Cup XC

Aug 8, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
One of many back and forths between Nino and Gerhard.

...And just like that, the season is nearly over. We head into the penultimate round of the XC World Cup this weekend in Lenzerheide but it seems like the season only started a few weeks ago.

Lenzerheide drew a huge crowd last year, possibly the biggest ever. The atmosphere was electric and the home crowd cheered on three Swiss XC World Champions - Nino Schurter, Alessandra Keller (U23) and Alexandre Balmer (Junior). On top of that, a cumulative 46 million reportedly tuned in to watch the World Championships as a whole, making it the most viewed mountain bike event ever, truly impressive stuff.

Lenzerheide's high-altitude challenge returns again this year and it's set to test riders once again. With titles on the line, stakes are high and the racing promises to be furious. Here's all the info you need before the weekend.

The track


Lenzerheide is one of the more technical tracks on the circuit with plenty of rooty woods sections and some sizable drops and rock rolls in the spectator-friendly open parts. It has remained largely unchanged since its inception on to the circuit so expect a similar layout for this year's event.



Previous winners



2015:

Elite Men: Jaroslav Kulhavy
Elite Women: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja

2016:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Jenny Rissveds


2017:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Annie Last

2018 - World Championships:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Kate Courtney



Last round recap


The rains held off in Val di Sole for the XC, which made for fast-paced, hot as heck, action-packed racing. For the men, Mathieu van der Poel, Mathias Flueckiger, and Nino Schurter fought hard until the final lap when Mathieu van der Poel decided he had had enough hanging around and had to go. Mathias Flueckiger took a well earned second, and Nino would take third. In the women's race, Neff and Ferrand Prevot battled it out all race but the Frenchwoman took it in the final sprint to the line.


Elite Men

1st. Mathieu Van Der Poel: 1:20:47
2nd. Mathias Flueckiger: +18
3rd. Nino Schurter: +53
4th. Henrique Avancini: +1:46
5th. Luca Braidot: +2:01
6th. Milan Vader: +2:42
7th. Daniele Braidot: +2:47
8th. Thomas Litscher: +2:55
9th. Gerhard Kerschbaumer: +3:10
10th. Stephane Tempier: +3:13


Elite Women

1st. Pauline Ferrand Prevot: 1:21:59
2nd. Jolanda Neff: +1
3rd. Jenny Rissveds: +1:01
4th. Yana Belomoina: +1:29
5th. Anne Tauber: +1:56
6th. Chloe Woodruff: +2:44
7th. Rebecca Mcconnell: +3:00
8th. Tanja Zakelj: +3:21
9th. Catharine Pendrel: +3:35
10th. Eva Lechner: +3:42


Overall Standings

MEN
1. Nino Schurter - 1390
2. Mathieu Van Der Poel - 1274
3. Henrique Avancini - 1165
4. Mathias Flueckiger - 1143
5. Jordan Sarrou - 813
6. Gerhard Kerschbaumer - 802
7. Maxime Marotte - 668
8. Ondrej Cink - 630
9. Jens Schuermans - 588
10. Titouan Carod - 578
WOMEN
1. Jolanda Neff - 1415
2. Kate Courtney - 1382
3. Anne Terpstra - 950
4. Pauline Ferrand Prevot - 940
5= Anne Tauber - 805
5= Sina Frei - 805
7. Rebecca McConnell - 797
8. Elisabeth Brandau - 754
9. Yana Belomoina - 744
10. Haley Smith - 641

Weather forecast

The forecast for this weekend is mixed and it's looking quite likely that we might see some wet conditions on the track.

Mathieu van der Poel had a solid ride from the second row. He took third today.
Friday, Aug 9 - Short Track
Sunshine and some clouds, a shower or thunderstorm; warm // 22°C // 55% precipitation // wind 7km/h

Saturday, Aug 10 - Practice
Times of clouds and sun, a shower or thunderstorm around; remaining warm // 24°C // 40% precipitation // wind 6km/h

Sunday, Aug 11 - Under 23 Men, Under 23 Women, Elite Men, Elite Women
Times of clouds and sun, a couple of showers and a thunderstorm; turning colder in the afternoon // 21°C // 63% precipitation // wind 7km/h

Weather forecast as of Thursday, August 8. Live updates from Accuweather.



Schedule

Jolanda Neff the crowd favorite had to settle for fourth today. She was not capable to fight for that top spot today but it will only fuel her hunger for more titles.

All times CEST

Thursday, Aug 8
• 12:00-14:00 // Official XCO Training - Women Under 23 and Elite
• 14:00-16:00 // Official XCO Training - Men Under 23 and Elite

Friday, Aug 9
• 09:30-11:00 // Official XCO Training - Women Under 23 and Elite
• 11:00-12:30 // Official XCO Training - Men Under 23 and Elite
• 12:30-14:30 // Official XCO Training - All riders
• 15:45-16:30 // Official XCC Training - Women
• 16:30-17:15 // Official XCC Training - Men
• 17:30 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Women
• 18:15 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Men

Saturday, Aug 10
• 08:30-10:30 // Official XCO Training - Women
• 10:30-12:30 // Official XCO Training - Men
• 13:30-14:30 // Official XCO Training - All riders

Sunday, Aug 11
• 09:00 // World Cup Cross-country Olympic - Women Under 23
• 11:20 // World Cup Cross-country Olympic - Women Elite - Followed by Awards
• 13:50 // World Cup Cross-country Olympic - Men Elite - Followed by Awards
• 16:10 // World Cup Cross-country Olympic - Men Under 23

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the UCI/event organiser.



How to watch

Annika Langvad had the power but when it came down to it the technical riding got the best of her.

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team of photographers in Lenzerheide this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, results, news and tech.

All the elite races can be streamed live on redbull.tv.

Schedule:
(All times in CEST, replay available immediately following the races)

- Val Di Sole XCC Women and Men: Friday, Aug 2 - 5:20pm (7:20am PDT, 10:20am EDT, 4:20pm GMT, 02:20am NZST)

- Val Di Sole XCO Women: Sunday, Aug 4 - 11:00am (2:00am PDT, 5:00am EDT, 10:00am GMT, 9:00pm NZST)
- Val Di Sole XCO Men: Sunday, Aug 4 - 1:30pm (4:30am PDT, 7:30am EDT, 12:30pm GMT, 11:30pm NZST)

Note: These times are subject to change. Please check with your local provider.



Pinkbike Predictions

"With less than a week of recovery time, it's hard to see the results being too different from Val di Sole. We think another battle between Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand Prevot is on the cards and it could go either way. Neff will be hurt after being pipped in the sprint so she will be keen to make amends this week and we think she could just take it on home soil. Keep an eye on Chloe Woodruff this weekend too. She has been rapidly improving all year and it wouldn't be the first time an American woman has had a breakout ride on this track.

"We saw Mathieu Van Der Poel on another level last weekend. This will be his last World Cup of the year as he starts to prepare for the road World Championships so he will be keen to leave with a bang as we head into an Olympic year. We expect to see a Swiss rider up there on home soil but after his strong performance last weekend Flueckiger, not Schurter, could be that guy. Finally, Gerhard Kerschbaumer was so close to the win here last year and was the only real challenge to Schurter's dominant performance, expect him to be right up there again this weekend."


ELITE MEN
1 // Mathieu VAN DER POEL
2 // Mathias FLUECKIGER
3 // Gerhard KERSCHBAUMER
ELITE WOMEN
1 // Jolanda NEFF
2 // Pauline FERRAND-PREVOT
3 // Chloe WOODRUFF




Fantasy League

Don't forget to complete your XC Fantasy team before racing kicks off. If you don't know who to pick, our mid-season analysis for some idea as to who's going fast.


The Fantasy XC League is Presented by Trek and SRAM.



MENTIONS: @trek / @SramMedia



Regions in Article
Lenzerheide


23 Comments

  • + 10
 That is really bold; no Nino and no Kate in the top 3 Pinkbike Predictions...
  • + 5
 Yea not sure I agree with those predictions...
  • + 1
 It's common knowledge that she had a bad time of it last weekend but she's proved to be pretty resilient individual.

Does PB know something about Kate that's not public knowledge? A la insider info.....???
  • + 2
 Troll game on point.
  • + 1
 @Augustus-G: Just have to wait all of 12 hours until XCC and then we'll know if Kate's podium form is back this weekend. It's either back to domination or similar performance to last weekend. She didn't go back to USA after the Andorra round and stayed in Switzerland, I believe doing some altitude training. There isn't enough time between last weekend and now to do much change, so either that training will pay off at altitude this weekend, or the change of routine was no bueno and it's same-same.
  • + 2
 It'd be amazing if she could keep that form all year.
  • + 3
 Nino finished 5th and 3rd last weekend: very good results. Kate finished 10th and 17th; not so good results.

If anything, Nino is much better positioned to repeat with solid finishes this weekend. Kate could be burned out after redlining in the first half of the season. Meanwhile, Jolanda remains remarkably consistent. Prevot has recovered fully from IAC surgery. Jenny is on upward arc regaining her form.

Nino is very very likely to podium; Kate, not so much.
  • + 4
 Hard to see anyone but MVDP taking it. We're lucky to be watching the current best cyclist in the world doing his thing.
  • + 4
 Lenzerheide is at altitude, though...not exactly what VDP likes, or is even used to racing in.
  • + 1
 Lenzerheide is still* at altitude, though***

Didn't mean to imply VDS last weekend wasn't altitude.
  • + 2
 MVDP also won a road criterium against some world tour guys on Wednesday.
  • + 5
 @qldmtb: But isn't De Draai one of those semi-fixed post Tour crits where organizers pay top names to show up and racing isn't very serious?
  • + 3
 @qldmtb: Those Post-Tour Crits are poodle shows: they've got nothing to do w/ real racing. Organizers are writing checks for big names who will bring autograph-seekers by the busload. Hollywood red-carpet event w/ a little more lycra.
  • + 6
 MVDP is one of the most well-rounded cyclists we've seen in a long time, but until he's earned a *senior* World Championship on the Road or MTB, or a Grand Tour, he's a long way from earning the title of anything but world's best cyclocross rider. Given his age and the number or quality single-day race wins he's picked up recently at World-Tour / World-Cup level, he could be on his way to a truly historic career, but superlatives are premature at this point: guys like Valverde & Schurter wear current rainbow stripes and have palmares that would take any other rider at least a decade to replicate. I'd love to see him continue to defy the odds in this age of hyper-specialization, but he's up against massive odds trying to add rainbow stripes in a second discipline, much less a third.
  • + 1
 @Veloscente: I love how PVP was the world champ in CX, XC, and road simultaneously yet MVDP is the greatest ever...
  • + 2
 @clink83: To my knowledge, looking strictly at CX, XC, & the Road Race, *no one* has ever earned the senior men's Rainbow jersey in more than one of those disciplines in a lifetime (Van Petegem was a great classics rider, but never wore rainbow stripes on or off road). On the women's side, I can think of only Marianne Vos who has a combined *ten* rainbow jersies in CX & Road. Vos is still active, so MVDP will have to win 5 more CX Worlds & 3 Road Worlds before anyone can rightfully call him the "world's best active cyclist."
  • + 3
 2017... Martins Blums? Uh, he might have won U23. Nino won Elite Men.
  • + 1
 Nino at home, with the rainbow jersey, that also happens to be his sponsor's home country as well. No worries Nino, it's only pressure x3!
  • + 1
 i havent payed attention but overall is really close, MVDP can jump to 1st place overall this weekend and Avincini to 3rd.
  • + 1
 While he can retake the lead, skipping SnowShoe is going to drop him out of contention even if he wins out. I believe Mathieu has said he already no longer cares about overall picture just because the math doesn't work out in his favor.
  • + 1
 That's perfect, now Nino and Kate can go into it as underdogs. They will both have a chip on their shoulders.
  • + 1
 My weather predictions for Sunday: no rain, some clouds and around 22°. Dry track conditions.
  • + 0
 Avancini is good at altitude! I Hope a top 3 for him!!!

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