Here we are at the start of a fresh new World Cup XC season. Not just any season, an Olympic season. This isn't our typical year of XC. World Champs comes mid-season in Nove Mesto, so we have current year World Champions heading to the games. For most of the riders who have been selected by their respected federations for the games, it's the highest honor. As such it could be expected to see some surprising results these next few rounds. Most of these guys will be training to peak for the games. With the exception of a very select few, not many will be able to peak for Worlds, and then peak again so soon for the Olympics. It could be possible for someone who is going to the games who knows they don't have a great shot a medaling to peak early and take a shot at a World Championship. For that, we shall have to wait and see. What we do know is that there were a few big names missing from this first round. Jolanda Neff, Gunn-Rita, and Pauline Ferrand Prevot to name a few. At any rate, it will be an interesting season.
What we did see in Cairns wasn't so unusual, but there were a couple surprises. Annika Langvad rode an incredibly strong race, starting the season of as she finished the last one. Linda Indergand took second, and Aussie Bec Henderson battled her way to a phenomenal third place finish. Nino Schurter added one more win to his name. Maxime Marotte took a well raced second place. Julien Absalon was third after fighting his way up from mid-pack. Now that we have some chess pieces on the board, we will have to wait until Albstadt to see if this is a pattern that will gel, or if there will a shake-up of the status quo.
Full XCO results here