Rising High: Elite Men and Women - Vallnord XC World Cup 2017

Jul 2, 2017
by Irmo Keizer  



With two exciting under-23 races finished, the Andorra World Cup continued its run of thrilling racing as the women's elite field got ready to make temperatures soar even higher up in the Andorran mountains. Both the women's and men's categories have had extremely interesting races in the first half of the season, setting the stage for an ignited competition. Yana Belomoina stepped up her game in the women's field, challenging the status quo. Jolanda Neff is getting back up to speed, and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down anytime soon. Annika Langvad has proven time and time again she is a force to be reckoned with, holding two world titles as we speak.

As for the men's field, we've seen closer racing then ever before. Mathias Flückiger, Maxime Marotte, Jordan Sarrou, David Valero, Anton Cooper and lately Mathieu van der Poel seem to be ready to rattle Schurter's cage. Stakes are high. Vallnord's weather gods have spared us from the enduro wrath. The elite race is on.

As temperatures rose riders try to cool their body prior to the start.
As temperatures rose, riders tried to cool their body prior to the start.

Linda Indergand and Jolanda Neff showing no nerves as they share a word on the start line.
Linda Indergand and Jolanda Neff showing no nerves as they share a word on the start line.

Annika Langvad stares down the barrel of the gun with the clock ticking down to race start.
Annika Langvad stares down the barrel of the gun with the clock ticking down to race start.

Jolanda Neff blazes off as the women s elite field sets off.
Jolanda Neff blazes off as the women's elite field sets off.

When the riders appeared onto the long drag back to the height of the course it was eventual winner Yana Belomoina out front.
When the riders appeared onto the long drag back to the height of the course it was eventual winner Yana Belomoina out front.

Batty with Neff in hot pursuit it would be Neff that would fade whilst Batty came on stronger and moved up the field.
Batty with Neff in hot pursuit, it would be Neff that would fade whilst Batty came on stronger and moved up the field.

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa continues to amaze as she tore the field up with Yana Belomoina in the first couple of laps.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa continues to amaze as she tore the field up with Yana Belomoina in the first couple of laps.

Jolanda Neff Irina Kalienteva and the young Dutch Anne Tauber climbing up.
Jolanda Neff, Irina Kalienteva and the young Dutch Anne Tauber climbing up.

Langvad pushed hard and managed to pull away from Dahle-Fjesjaa riding to a second place.
Langvad pushed hard and managed to pull away from Dahle-Fjesjaa, riding to a second place.

Gunn-Rita Dahle putting her vast experience to good use taking a fine third.
Gunn-Rita Dahle putting her vast experience to good use taking a fine third.

Linda Indergrand with a slender gap back to Emily Batty.
Linda Indergrand with a slender gap back to Emily Batty.

Jolanda Neff either checking the gap to her pursuers or looking for a little help in the pursuit of the the riders ahead.
Jolanda Neff either checking the gap to her pursuers or looking for a little help in the pursuit of the the riders ahead.

No one could hold a candle to Belomoina this afternoon.
No one could hold a candle to Belomoina this afternoon.

Annika Langvad reigning World Champion in both cross country and marathon disciplines rode a consistent race today.
Annika Langvad, reigning World Champion in both cross country and marathon disciplines, rode a consistent race today.

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot seems to be getting back to her old self. She finished in 15th today.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot seems to be getting back to her old self. She finished in 15th today.

Emily Batty briefly lifts her head to check the damage in front of her.
Emily Batty briefly lifts her head to check the damage in front of her.

Two elite World Cup wins for Belomoina.
Two elite World Cup wins for Belomoina.

Annika Langvad was more than happy with her ride today.
Annika Langvad was more than happy with her ride today.

All smiles for your winner Yana Belomoina.
All smiles for your winner Yana Belomoina.

Getting stronger and stronger. Jolanda-G.
Getting stronger and stronger. Jolanda-G.

A very very tight schedule in Andorra saw riders finishing their race having to wait for the podium prior to riding out of the finish area.
A very, very tight schedule in Andorra saw riders finishing their race having to wait for the podium prior to riding out of the finish area.

Popping some bottles.
Popping some bottles.

Coining in on the wheel size debate.
Joining in on the wheel size debate.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot gave it her all and showed a glimpse of a return to her pace with a battling 15th place.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot gave it her all and showed a glimpse of a return to her pace with a battling 15th place.

Emily Batty watching the last of the riders coming down the final straight. She ll be content with a 5th place finish.
Emily Batty watching the last of the riders coming down the final straight. She'll be content with a 5th place finish.

Mathieu van der Poel r caused quite the stir as he challenged Schurter s dominance in Albstadt. Today Schurter showed the world his class.
Mathieu van der Poel (r) caused quite the stir as he challenged Schurter's dominance in Albstadt. Today, Schurter showed the world his class.

There are no easy starts in cross country.
There are no easy starts in cross country.

Schurter took the lead and would never look back.
Schurter took the lead and would never look back.

As the course dried the challenging downhills got progressively easier. Still with heart rates soaring they remained no mean feat.
As the course dried, the challenging downhills got progressively easier. Still, with heart rates soaring they remained no mean feat.

For some the venue was an excellent place for that powernap.
For some, the venue was an excellent place for that power nap.

Sarrou Mathias Fluckiger and Sam Gaze in pursuit.
Sarrou, Mathias Fluckiger and Sam Gaze in pursuit.

Schurter s skills are second to none in the men s field. His riding is smooth controlled and confident. Combine this with the endurance power and experience and there it is. This is a world class athlete.
Schurter's skills are second to none in the men's field. His riding is smooth, controlled and confident. Combine this with the endurance, power and experience and there it is. This is a world class athlete.

Vallnord XC World Cup
Mathias kept it together today and even seemed to close the gap to Schurter.

Schurter s competition closed in on him in the last lap. Mathias Fl ckiger finished 18 seconds later winning the sprint from Jordan Sarrou.
Schurter's competition closed in on him in the last lap. Mathias finished 18 seconds later, winning the sprint from Jordan Sarrou.

Pablo Rodriguez rode a strong race ending in sixth position.
Pablo Rodriguez rode a strong race ending in sixth position.

David Valero had to settle for 22nd as a flat threw him back in the field. Catching back up on a course on this altitude is very very hard.
David Valero had to settle for 22nd as a flat threw him back in the field. Catching back up on a course on this altitude is very, very hard.

Schurter rode back to the line for a victory hop.
Schurter rode back to the line for a victory hop.

It all came together. Mathias Fl ckiger has been in top form all seaon but today his hard work paid off.
It all came together. Mathias Fluckiger has been in top form all seaon, but today his hard work paid off.

Sam Gaze finished in fourth but what could it have been without this mechanical
Sam Gaze finished in fourth, but what could it have been without this mechanical?

To say Nino Schurter was happy with today s performance would be a one hell of an understatement.
To say Nino Schurter was happy with today's performance would be a one hell of an understatement.

Vallnord XC World Cup

Vallnord XC World Cup
The leader's jerseys are wrapped around the shoulders of Nino Schurter and Yana Belomoina. Lenzerheide, here we come.

Today's racing saw riders gasping for air as they pushed through pain and thin air. Incredible racing. We thank you.


Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup
Vallnord XC World Cup


MENTIONS: @ikeizer / @rossbellphoto




43 Comments

  • 38 0
 Love the WC DH/XC double header weekends!
  • 28 1
 To be fair Mathias wasn't catching Nino. Nino was warming down. He wasn't even remotely challenged, and I say that as a Mathias Fluckiger fan.
  • 6 0
 Nino knew he did not need to push anymore. However, competition is heating up.
  • 17 0
 Langvad pushing Dahle on the balance bike for photo of the year. Even World Cup races are still a bunch of friends out riding bikes.
  • 5 0
 Yes, that is what makes mountainbiking so good.
  • 15 0
 Amazing coverage! Sick shots!
  • 6 0
 Thanks man
  • 11 0
 Thank you for your coverage too.
  • 2 0
 You’re welcome
  • 8 0
 Something cool about the pics of riders descending with the saddle in their stomachs. Droppers are awsome but those images just scream XC RACE to me.........love it
  • 9 1
 Would popping a fork seal really change anything? Think the fork works fine either way
  • 17 0
 Losing the dust wiper (main seal) and foam ring below it isn't a big deal in itself. BUT the that happens (I would guess) due to air leaking from the air spring into the lowers and popping the dust wiper out, so it's indicative of something more wrong with the fork.
  • 1 0
 @grgsmith: it hapennecd once to a mates brand new bike. Was simply a really shitty loose fit. Weather that'e the case here is impossible to say. I was very surprised his was so loose though.
  • 5 2
 Might have dripped some oil on the brake too.
  • 3 3
 Is on the fork leg that houses the "brain" on the Specialized forks, would guess the the ride would have been a bit rough. Not sure how or what it takes to blow the seals out like that, Gaze is an animal! Mind you, I have thought about ripping the internals out of a brain fork mid ride too.
  • 3 1
 @deadbeat: Nope you're wrong. The brain is on the right, this is the left leg that has the air cartridge (or whatever you want to call it)
  • 6 0
 Brazilian Henrique Avancini in 10th! Great result, congratts!
  • 4 0
 Nino CRUSHED them on lap one, how does he recover after that!? Amazing by the most stylish rider in the pack. Love the hurt pics at the end ????
  • 6 1
 What a great weekend of racing! more of this!
  • 4 0
 Their faces say it all. Tough race.
  • 5 0
 brilliant photos thanks
  • 1 0
 You’re welcome
  • 3 0
 What happened to Mathieu van der Poel? Crashed?
  • 4 0
 I think the altitude got to him, at least that is what he said thinks happened. He was moving backwards pretty quickly in the race and then started to make his way up to around 18th and then the next I heard was that he had abandoned.
  • 3 1
 He just came unglued as Nino dominated the shit out of him.
  • 4 0
 @Dustfarter: Absolutely! Nino sent a message to the entire field while making it look like a training ride, hammering from the get go and having fun on the downhills. Love his style - reminds me of Tomac.
  • 6 0
 @teamtoad: seem's experienced racer got the edge on this race. Still, I have high hopes on him.The more new faces in podium the better.
  • 3 0
 @Swabe: For sure! VDP has it in his blood and already has quite the racing resume being U23. Awesome that he has a passion for MTB as well as CX/Road.
  • 3 0
 @teamtoad: He has a huge passion for MTB. We will see more of him.
  • 2 0
 Interesting to see Belomoina riding Maxxis tires even though her main sponsor is CST.
  • 6 0
 CST owns Maxxis. She is allowed to ride them thus. They do have a couple of tyres under CST flag which the team regularly races, but the Maxxis gamma is a lot broader.
  • 3 0
 Nino like always! Legend
  • 1 0
 No podium for the Cannondale boys????
  • 2 0
 Batty looks ripped!
  • 2 2
 Grotts is the man.Thats the story of the day. Great shots but missed the US storyline.
  • 1 0
 The US storyline?
  • 2 0
 Excellent shots!
  • 1 1
 Looking at the last series of pictures that looks like fun...
  • 2 1
 Yana i love you 3
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