After an eventful first two stops of the cross country World Cup season that saw some new podium contenders rise above the rest, we're back to the race tracks this weekend with a stop in Leogang, Austria.
So what can we expect to see this time around? Well, there will probably be some reshuffling of the top few riders with Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, and Kate Courtney out of the race -- MVDP is road racing, while Pidcock and Courtney are injured. Like Nove Mesto, this course will favor all-around riders with strong technical skills, and we'll likely see just about everyone opting for full suspension bikes. As of right now, the weather looks fair, so if we're lucky, we'll have beautiful conditions for the final races Sunday.
While a Leogang stop is standard issue for the World Cup downhill racers, the cross country riders returned to the Austrian venue in 2020 for the first time since 2012. They were presented with a well-designed course that offered a bit of everything: long climbs, fast sections, and some serious technical challenges. The sections have names like the Oakley Prizm Hell Climb, the Keep On Rollin' Section, and the Mercedes-Benz Riders Playground.
The course is 3.6km with 210m of climbing each lap according to the organizers' course info page
What Happened Last Round?
Nove Mesto was an eventful one. Pidcock and van der Poel battled for the first part of the race before Pidcock was able to pull away and finish with a commanding lead. Lecomte dominated the women's field, showing that she's the woman to beat this season. In the U23s, Mona Mitterwallner and Carter Woods were just as dominant. The tough, wet course made for some very difficult racing, separating riders who could handle the conditions from those who struggled more. Those who could handle the chaos, however, surprised us with just how brightly they shone.
Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Julie Bresset
Elite Men: Jordan Sarrou
Elite Women: Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Current UCI Rankings
1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL // NED // 570
2. Thomas PIDCOCK // GBR // 490
3. Victor KORETZKY // FRA // 483
4. Nino SCHURTER // SUI // 435
5. Mathias FLUECKIGER // SUI // 419
6. Jordan SARROU // FRA // 375
7. Ondrej CINK // CZE // 354
8. Anton COOPER // NZL // 340
9. Alan HATHERLY // RSA // 325
10. Henriqu AVANCINI // BRA // 260
1. Loana LECOMTE // FRA // 670
2. Haley BATTEN // USA // 525
3. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT // FRA // 475
4. Linda INDERGAND // SUI // 420
5. Anne TERPSTRA // SUI // 330
6. Sina FREI // SUI //325
7. Rebecca MCCONNELL // AUS //324
8. Kate COURTNEY // USA // 302
9. Evie RICHARDS // GBR // 270
10. Annie LAST // GBR // 253
The weather looks much nicer this year than last year's torrential rain, but some thunderstorms could still leave the track pretty muddy. At least it looks like the finals races on Sunday will have pleasant weather.
Thursday, June 10
- TrainingTimes of sun and clouds with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 21°C // 60% precipitation // wind 6km/h Friday, June 11
- Training and Short TrackTimes of sun and clouds with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 20°C // 60% precipitation // wind 6km/h Saturday, June 12
- TrainingPeriods of clouds and sunshine with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 21°C // 60% precipitation // wind 6km/hSunday, June 13
- U23 and Elite RacesPartial sunshine // 22°C // 25% precipitation // wind 6km/h
Weather forecast as of Tuesday, June 8 from Accuweather
ScheduleAll times CESTThursday, June 10
• 12:00-16:30 // Official XCO TrainingFriday, June 11
• 09:30-14:30 // Official XCO Training
• 15:45-17:15 // Official XCC Training
• 17:30 // World Cup Cross Country Short Track - Women
• 18:15 // World Cup Cross Country Short Track - MenSaturday, June 12
• 09:30-14:30 // Official XCO TrainingSunday, June 13
• 08:30 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Women U23
• 10:15 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Men U23
• 12:20 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Women Elite
• 14:50 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Men EliteNote: All times are local (CEST) and subject to change by the UCI/event organizer.
How to watch
Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the Nove Mesto coverage throughout the week.
All the elite races can be streamed live on redbull.tv
Schedule:(All times in CEST, replay available immediately following the races)
- Nove Mesto XCC Women and Men: Friday, May 14 - 6:20pm (9:20am PDT, 12:20pm EDT, 14:20pm GMT, 4:20am +day NZST)
- Nove Mesto XCO Women: Sunday, May 16 - 12:00pm (3:00am PDT, 6:00am EDT, 10:00am GMT, 10:00pm NZST)
- Nove Mesto XCO Men: Sunday, May 16 - 2:30pm (5:30 PDT, 8:30am EDT, 12:30pm GMT, 12:30am +day NZST)Note: These times are subject to change. Please check with your local provider.
Mathias Flueckiger has been in touch with the winning times so far this year, finishing 15 seconds behind second-placed van der Poel in Nove Mesto and 21 seconds behind second-placed Schurter in Albstadt, even after a dropper post issue forced him to drop behind the lead group. Next up, Ondrej Cink has been in the lead group for the last two races, carried that through to two fourth-place finishes, and may have the momentum right now to move up to the silver spot. Rounding out the podium, Nino Schurter will definitely want to redeem himself after finishing outside of the top five, and he has performed well on very similar courses in the past.
In the women's field, Loana Lecomte has been on fire lately, so I'll have to pick her as the most likely winner. For the second and third place riders, I think Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Haley Batten will have quite the season ahead of them as they both fight for podium spots. Batten has placed second and third so far this year, while Ferrand-Prevot has placed second and fourth, but her fourth took place even with a puncture and on the heels of her gnarly short track crash in Nove Mesto. I think she'll bring a bit of extra fire to Leogang, so I'm choosing her for second and putting Batten as third.
1 // Mathias FLUECKIGER
2 // Ondrej CINK
3 // Nino SCHURTER
1 // Loana LECOMTE
2 // Pauline FERRAND-PREVOT
3 // Haley BATTEN
And since participating is way more fun than sitting on the sidelines, Fantasy XC is back for 2021. Don't forget to pick your teams!