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Short Track Photo Epic: Here Comes The Sun - Albstadt XC World Cup 2021

May 8, 2021
by Andy Vathis  



The 2021 XC World Cup season burst into life in Albstadt this evening with the opening short track race of the year. It was a cold and snowy start to the day, but by the time the on-track action kicked off it was dry and sunny, leaving riders and mechanics pondering last-minute setup changes. With such fine margins, every detail counts at this level, especially with the frantic and fast-paced nature of short track racing.

It was two familiar faces who opened their account with winning ways in this crucial run-up to the Olympics, with Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Mathieu Van Der Poel being the cream of the crop after managing to just about break free of the chasing pack. Linda Indergand broke free from the pack for a while with a brave and gusty ride before ending up second, Annie Last followed in third with Kate Courtney and Loana Lecomte rounds out the top 5.

The front of the men's race was action-packed with a lot of chopping and changing, in the end Van Der Poel got the better of the competition with Victor Koretzky pipping Nino Schurter to the line in a sprint finish, in behind them were Henrique Avancini and Mathias Flückiger.

The U23 races take centre stage tomorrow before the elites are back on track with Sunday's main event. Who will draw first blood?

Final adjustments before go time on the 2021 season.
Final adjustments before go time on the 2021 season.

2021 let s go.
2021 let's go.

A team change certainly hasn t slowed down the World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
A team change certainly hasn't slowed down the World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

Kate Courtney hoping to find her pace today along with the rest of the hungry pack.
Kate Courtney hoping to find her pace today along with the rest of the hungry pack.

And just like that we re off to the races. The Women s start roared through the straightaway before splitting into two main groups.
And just like that, we're off to the races. The women's start roared through the straightaway before splitting into two main groups.

Rebecca McConnell takes her turn at the front.
Rebecca McConnell takes her turn at the front.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot with the lead pack trying to sort themselves out.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot with the lead pack trying to sort themselves out.

Linda Indergand went for it early on and managed to break free from the field although was just caught by Pauline Ferrand Prevot at the death.
Linda Indergand went for it early on and managed to break free from the field although was just caught by Pauline Ferrand Prevot at the end.

Loana Lecomte was one of last season s biggest surprises and she looks to be carrying that form into 2021.
Loana Lecomte was one of last season's biggest surprises and she looks to be carrying that form into 2021.

The chase group hunting down Linda Indergand who took off like a bat out of hell.
The chase group hunting down Linda Indergand who took off like a bat out of hell.

Annie Last showing her strength with 3rd in a crucial time with the Olympic selection looming large.
Annie Last showing her strength with 3rd in a crucial time with the Olympic selection looming large.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot taking the first XCC of the season. Sunday however is the real test.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot eventually caught Indergand and took the win. Sunday, however, is the real test.

Anne Terpstra feeling the hurt after the final sprint to the line.
Anne Terpstra feeling the hurt after the final sprint to the line.

Your top 3 women 1st Pauline Ferrand Prevot 2nd Linda Indergand 3rd Annie Last
Your top 3 women: 1st Pauline Ferrand Prevot 2nd Linda Indergand 3rd Annie Last

New stripes and kit as Jordan Sarrou lines up to start.
New stripes and kit as Jordan Sarrou lines up to start.

Henrique Avancini is somewhat of an XCC master although had to settle for 4th today.
Henrique Avancini is somewhat of an XCC master although he had to settle for 4th today.

The men head off into 20 minutes of all-out racing.
The men head off into 20 minutes of all-out racing.

Victor Koretzky tucking his way to second place and a great grid slot for Sunday.
Victor Koretzky tucking his way to second place and a great grid slot for Sunday.

Starting way at the back of the pack Peter Disera isn t one to turn down a challenge and put the hammer down for a solid seventh.
Starting way at the back of the pack, Peter Disera isn't one to turn down a challenge and put the hammer down for a solid seventh.

As always with short track the action up front was read hot with constant lead changes.
As always with short track the action up front was read hot with constant lead changes.

Nino Schurter lead the race late in the frame until a timely attack had him chasing.
Nino Schurter lead the race late in the frame until a timely attack had him chasing.

Matias Flueckiger was on one today but the front was just that much more quicker.
Matias Flueckiger was on one today but the front was just that much quicker.

The World Champ Jordan Sarrou got his first opportunity to wear the Rainbow stripes at a World Cup.
The World Champ Jordan Sarrou got his first opportunity to wear the rainbow stripes at a World Cup.

Nino Schurter keeping Mathieu Van Der Poel in his sights. Will we see these 2 embroiled in a race-long battle
Nino Schurter keeping Mathieu Van Der Poel in his sights. Will we see these 2 embroiled in a race-long battle?

Nino chasing Van Der Poel into the wall ride.
Nino chasing Van Der Poel into the wall ride.

Van Der Poel made his move near the end and kept the lead all to himself.
Van Der Poel made his move near the end and kept the lead all to himself.

The first statement of the 2021 season goes to Mathieu Van Der Poel.
The first statement of the 2021 season goes to Mathieu Van Der Poel.

Your top 3 men 1st Mathieu Van Der Poel 2nd Victor Koretzky 3rd Nino Schurter
Your top 3 men: 1st Mathieu Van Der Poel 2nd Victor Koretzky 3rd Nino Schurter


Author Info:
andy9 avatar

Member since Jul 12, 2006
82 articles

74 Comments
  • 46 0
 Photo epics are the best, I've really missed them.
  • 27 5
 I don‘t get why Avancini wears a gold helmet and shoes. I would expect a world champ or overall winner to do so. And I don‘t see any other athlete with one world cup win doing this...
  • 9 1
 I don't think gold has any special meaning in racing? Just for bling factor? Or does it?
  • 10 2
 You do see Olympic road champions doing this, not mtb'ers that win one world cup..
  • 5 0
 I think he's XC marathon world champion?
But anyway doesn't look that tasteful
  • 7 0
 Does it matter?
  • 2 3
 It's given for the number 1 of the ranking, also a world champion ( xcm 2018 )
  • 3 1
 Gold is traditionally reserved for the reigning olympic champion. At least on the road.
  • 1 0
 www.facebook.com/BRASILRIDE/videos/145235970333435

Here you can find more about the gold helmet...things that matter for sure hahaha
  • 2 0
 Its a Redbull thing don't stress.
  • 12 0
 Interesting visible difference in tire width from Courtney to Prevot.
  • 2 0
 that's prolly what did it!
  • 1 0
 @thepwnstar39: I wouldn't be surprised, it that level every gram counts.
  • 3 0
 Good eye, yes it probably wasn't the best choice for Kate on this course. Also looks like there's some mud between the tread.
  • 4 0
 Especially on a tacky course, no need for extra width.
  • 4 1
 I have always wondered why more riders/teams aren't using something like a 1.75" for XCC. Even tire width aside, something like the Maxxis Pace is a way better tread design for XCC, yet we see Maxxis sponsored riders using massive lug alternatives.

The rules about using the same bike for both XCC and XCO really only apply the frame. I have to wonder if it's because mechanics don't want the hassle of switching tires for one day, then switching them back, or if team budgets are really that tight, they're stuck with whatever sponsors provide.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: Yah I wonder seems last year Maxxis was plugging their WT tires for XC.... and then pros have to follow in suit. For some extreme XCO courses sure I can see that, but for most you need to keep the watts on the bike and not wasting on dirt to keep up with MVP.
  • 3 1
 @Jamminator: Narrow isn't necessarily faster, nor even is a smoother tread. CF. road tyres getting wider and the Race King 2.2 being almost the same rolling resistance as a Speed King. That plus you want to get the power down without wheelspin. I'd say 2.2 is about right.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator:

I was thinking the same. Earlier in the day, when it was snowing, it looked as if it might have been a mudbath - you would surely go for maybe a mud tyre, and/or a narrow tyre to cut through the mud.
However, it stopped snowing, and dried out - so mud tyres weren't really needed.
  • 1 0
 @timbarnes: I bet those were 2.4 Aspens. I have a pair and love them on rough courses, but at XC tire pressures they noticeably require a lot more power on pavement.
  • 2 0
 @Jamminator: guarantee that they have more than one wheel set.
  • 1 0
 Nino on 2.4 and still wheelspan up the top of the final hill. Loosing a couple of bike lengths to MvdP in the process.
  • 1 0
 Come on, girl
  • 1 0
 Come on, girl
  • 1 0
 @timbarnes: Actually that "wider is faster" blanket statement on road bikes is largely a false narrative spread on misinformation, because the tests are based on using the same pressure in the wider tire as the narrower tire. Once you start to air down the larger volume tire for comfort, the resistance goes back up, and the resistance starts to equalize between narrow and higher pressure vs wide and low pressure. Checkout Bicycle Rolling Resistance website for some good science on different tire resistances.

It's all about contact patch causing casing deformation. Assuming equal tire construction, when using equal pressures between a narrow and wide tire, you have the same exact amount of surface area in the contact patch. The difference is that with the narrower tire, the casing has to deform in a more longitudinal direction to get the same contact patch (lots of casing deformation), whereas the wider tire has more width to get a more latitudinally shaped contact patch (less casing deformation).

Aerodynamics are another factor the wider tire movement in road (better transition between sidewall and rim), but that's another story.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: Well, I did go to bicycle rolling resistance dot com and it contradicts your initial statement:

www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/specials/conti-gp4000s-ii-23-25-28
  • 1 0
 @timbarnes: Don't you mean supports exactly what I said? "The bigger the tire, the lower the rolling resistance at the SAME air pressure." We can see the resistance going back up once you air down for comfort, just like I said.

No one is running 28c tires at 120psi. Most people are probably running them at 80PSI, which the testing shows 25c's @ 100PSI and 23c's @ 120PSI to be faster than the 28c's at 80PSI. I am 6'2'', 190lbs and run 95R/90F on my 28c Grand Sports.

The world's top female athletes that are petite sized have even less incentive to run higher pressure.
  • 11 0
 Van der Poel on a 34?
  • 4 0
 Looked like it to me also! ...I went looking and confirmed it here: www.bikeperfect.com/news/mathieu-van-der-poels-world-cup-race-bike
  • 16 1
 Yes a 34, confirmed. He'd probably break a 32 in a sprint.
  • 4 0
 It's a stepcast 34 which is only ~110 grams heavier than a stepcast 32, and also about ~240g lighter than a normal 34.
  • 3 0
 Maybe he is running his 34 SC with 110 mm of travel. Schurter is also running a "down country" fork (SID 35 with 110 mm I believe).
  • 2 0
 YEs new fox 34sc in 100 mm! MDVP beast! But Nino is also in good shape, respond to every attack in the race
  • 3 0
 Kross racing team also running 34s. KMC Orbea still on 32s though.
  • 2 0
 Of course he's on a 34SC - who else did they make that for! Nino is on a 35, so MvdP needed something to close the gap. That Tokyo course is gonna be fun!!
  • 8 0
 I am always impressed with the Quality of the pictures. Nino with the reflexion in the water is nice. Thank you pb
  • 2 0
 It is hard to tell, but it seems like a greater percentage of the women's racers were on hardtails vs the men. If so, why? Also, PFP is on that hardtail BMC that was just reviewed (the carbon version of course). I wish BMC would sell it as a frame-only!
  • 3 0
 Power to weight and the men descend so fast that punctures are a much higher risk.
  • 2 0
 Most people do not realize how petite sized a lot of the top females are. Many of them are well under 55kg and less than 165cm. Sina Frei is only like 150cm tall. Some are even less than 50kg (regardless of what's publicly claimed).
  • 1 0
 Why is the rider behind Peter Disera running his front tire backwards? Also looks like Avenci is running too narrow. And I agree Kate should not being running that wide on a ST. For some it's about shoes, for MTB it's about tires....
  • 6 0
 Ha ha, sorry but I love these comments! Lars Forster(the rider behind Peter Disera) will know what he's doing, especially his mechanic! As will all the mechanics these are very best riders and mechanics in the world. Sure they will make the wrong choices occasionally and mistakes but not massive errors. It's like when people try to say Jaroslav Kulhavý's bike set up is all wrong the guys an Olympic and world champion he's not just throwing bits at his bike!
  • 6 2
 I’d like to see MVP at an EWS
  • 4 1
 Better yet: MVDP at a WCDH
  • 2 0
 He has said that he though EWS looks exciting.
  • 6 0
 Other than a lack off time with all the other stuff he does, there's a small problem here. Matje is expected to win whatever he races, it's what his sponsors pay for. Road, mud or mountain, if he shows up, he is expected to win. He is obviously a great rider, but without enduro experience he can't just show up at a qualifier and win it. He'd need many qualifiers before getting to the main event and I doubt he has the time or permission from sponsors to do a more dangerous, less popular form of racing with major health risks that could compromise something like tdf or olympics.
  • 1 0
 @LaurensVR: I’m sure if he wanted to, the EWS would give him an invite or an exemption to race.
  • 3 0
 @LaurensVR: Sponsors don’t pay for wins, they pay for exposure. A world class road cyclist breaking into enduro would give the sponsors plenty of that. And it would put their names in front of a different set of fans. The injury risk is a real issue, but it’s also balanced by keeping a generational talent motivated and happy. It doesn’t seem too crazy to me.
  • 2 0
 Interesting, whats the average front chainring size pros run with with all these 50 sprocket cassettes? MVP appears to have 44T.
  • 1 0
 PPP not breathing an ounce of breathe after the finish is odd, like she didn't even pedal her bike...VDP was impressive (and breathing hard) but Nino looked lethal too, sunday is going to be fantastic.
  • 2 0
 I've never noticed this before, but do all XC racers shave their legs? Why?
  • 18 1
 Yes, most of them do. Massages are easier without hair, as is wound cleaning. Plus it's more aero...
  • 8 1
 As asphalt roadies do, so do dirt roadies. For the non-pro, If you do enough speed, eventually you'll shave your whole body.
  • 4 1
 username checks out.
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: comment had me do a double take lol
  • 3 0
 couse shaved leg looks better in clipless shoes
  • 5 6
 The simple answer is that there is this perception of looking good and feeling faster while wearing full Lycra. Lycra is the male version of lingerie. When you’re fit as hell and you put on a skinsuit, you don’t want hairy limbs sticking out. It’s like becoming an elite performance persona. Of course you would not have a desire to shave for enduro or gravel riding, the clothing doesn’t demand it.
  • 4 0
 Wound cleaning and healing is faster. And MTB gets its fair share vs road. Road has nasty crashes yes, but I bet in MTB cuts and scrapes are more prevalent. I shave my legs for this and as well to minimize picking up ticks, and if I do they are easy to spot before they bite.
  • 1 6
flag Rich-Izinia (May 8, 2021 at 6:10) (Below Threshold)
 I get the massages and maybe wound cleaning, but the wound healing seems like a bit of malarkey. The fact of the matter is, cyclists are a vain bunch and shaved legs look faster, better. I don’t have the credentials to shave smooth but I use clippers with a guard to manscape my legs. Full blown hairy legs look gross.
  • 11 1
 @Rich-Izinia: You can call it malarkey all you want, but the difference in dealing with road rash with and without hair in the way is no placebo. It already hurts enough, add in the multiple daily bandage changes and scrubbings, the last thing you want is to be pulling out hair from the tape. It makes a HUGE difference. It isn't as common in MTB because cuts are more common than road rash, but I'd bet that all of the world cup XC racers train and even race on the road a fair bit, and most of them probably dabble in CX racing as well. As a result, the shaving is probably more of a carryover from the rest of their life, but pretty necessary regardless.
  • 3 0
 @TBaldwin90: Valid point about the tape. That part didn’t occur to me, duh.
  • 1 0
 @TBaldwin90: oh you can get a road rash like injury on MTB. All it takes is a good slight down a fire road.
  • 1 1
 Hilarious about the downvoting about shaving for vanity reasons. Stop lying to yourself. You don’t proactively shave your legs every week for the sole reason of the rare possibility of leg injury that could come at an unpredictable time. It’s like wearing a helmet while driving a car. Give us a break. Shave your legs or not, who cares, at least don’t pretend it’s for injury prevention.
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: You're right. Leg muscles just look better on shaved(ish) legs. Some fools put a lot of work in - let them feel sexy. I don't put in much work but I still hit the getaway sticks with a 1/8" buzzer adapter (same as my dome) before a race or fest or just when I'm getting a little too Sasquatch. Let me live.
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: By your logic we shouldn't wear helmets when biking. I very rarely hit my head when biking. Even more rarely when road biking and yet I still wear one every time I ride. I put on my seatbelt in the extremely unlikely event that I get in a car crash every time I'm in a car. As a former road racer who used to start 30+ races a year, I can 100% assure you that my social circle shaved based on our 3-4 crashes a year. Did it make our legs look great, well of course it did...but that's just how fringe benefits work. There was even one race a season where we'd shave our elbows because it had a (deserved) reputation as a crash-fest.

In any case, to clarify, shaving doesn't "prevent" any injury, it just makes treating the inevitable injury suck a little less.
  • 3 1
 Yes
  • 4 1
 Profound statement
  • 1 0
 Amazing
  • 2 0
 sweet
  • 1 0
 Every time I saw MVP’s bike I kept thinking “who is on a Yeti?”...
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