Photo Epic: XCC Slop Track - Val di Sole World Cup XC 2019

Aug 2, 2019
by Matthew DeLorme  


It was a day of wild weather here in the Valley of the Sun. While thunderstorms wreaked havoc on DH qualies, they made things equally interesting for STXC. The course was a greasy mess for both races, and the field would struggle in the wet, save for one man who seemed quite at home. The women's race was dominated by Sina Frei and Pauline Ferrand Prevot until Jolanda Neff made her move and pushed past Frei for the win. After watching the women slide around the course it was clear that one man had a massive advantage in the slop, Mathieu van der Poel. If STXC ever resembled a cross race it was today, and van der Poel took an easy win when he decided it was time to go. Henrique Avancini took second after doing a bit of work for MVDP, and Jens Schuermans took third.

The rains came again after DH and they came down hard.
The rains came again after DH, and they came down hard.

Sina Frei focused and ready. She s been putting up a very good fight this season.
Sina Frei focused and ready. She's been putting up a very good fight this season.

Annika Langvad is back from injury and ready to test herself in the worst conditions possible.
Annika Langvad is back from injury and ready to test herself in the worst conditions possible.

The rain began to fall heavy as soon as the women s field began their warm ups.
The rain began to fall heavily as soon as the women's field began their warm-ups.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot was ready for a slog in the wet.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot was ready for a slog in the wet.

Jolanda Neff was all smiles as usual at the start.
Jolanda Neff was all smiles as usual at the start.

Neff and Courtney chase down Pauline Ferrand Prevot in the early laps.
Neff and Courtney chase down Pauline Ferrand Prevot in the early laps.

Eva Lechner was in the mix throughout the race.
Eva Lechner was in the mix throughout the race.

Lea Davidson giving it all she has.
Lea Davidson giving it all she had.

The course was absolutely soaked.
The course was absolutely soaked.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot took third. She will be looking to take advantage of that front row start position on Sunday.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot took third. She will be looking to take advantage of that front row start position on Sunday.

Sina Frei was out to win and she fought hard.
Sina Frei was out to win, and she fought hard.

Big sprint to the finish Jolanda takes the mud soaked win.
Big sprint to the finish, Jolanda takes the mud-soaked win.

Jolanda Neff spent at the finish.
Jolanda Neff spent at the finish.

Kate Courtney had a rough one out in the muck. She took tenth.
Kate Courtney had a rough one out in the muck. She took tenth.

Jolanda Neff Sina Frei and Pauline Ferrand Prevot STXC women s winners.
Jolanda Neff, Sina Frei, and Pauline Ferrand Prevot, STXC women's podium.

If you thought Mathieu van der Poel wasn t going to win in these conditions you are probably insane.
If you thought Mathieu van der Poel wasn't going to win in these conditions, you are probably insane.

Henrique Avancini has been a relentless force in XCC this season.
Henrique Avancini has been a relentless force in XCC this season.

Nino Schurter awaiting the green light.
Nino Schurter awaiting the green light.

Men s start. Just as the rain was letting up.
Men's start. Just as the rain was letting up.

Avancini made the inside pass on the European champ to take the lead.
Avancini made the inside pass on the European champ to take the lead.

Nino Schurter couldn t find his pace on the slick track.
Nino Schurter couldn't find his pace on the slick track.

The men made quick work of the first lap to set the pace.
The men made quick work of the first lap to set the pace.

Avancini took second on the day.
Avancini took second on the day.

Try as he may Henrique Avancini could not hold off van der Poel in the slop. When MVDP decided it was time to go he was off like a rocket.
Try as he may, Henrique Avancini could not hold off van der Poel in the slop. When MVDP decided it was time to go, he was off like a rocket.

Big battles in the slop between Nino and Ondrej Cink.
Big battles in the slop between Nino and Ondrej Cink.

The track and conditions couldn t have been any better suited to Mathieu van der Poel.
The track and conditions couldn't have been any better suited to Mathieu van der Poel.

Henrique Avancini did a stint at the front but van der Poel looked like he was soft pedaling behind him.
Henrique Avancini did a stint at the front, but van der Poel looked like he was soft-pedaling behind him.

Jens Schuermans came out of nowhere at the very end to sneak into the top three.
Jens Schuermans came out of nowhere at the very end to sneak into the top three.

Mathieu Van Der Poel and Henrique Avancini battled it out until the very end.
Mathieu van der Poel and Henrique Avancini battled it out until the very end.

Mathieu van der Poel Henrique Avancini and Jens Schuermans your STXC men winners.
Mathieu van der Poel, Henrique Avancini, and Jens Schuermans, your STXC men's podium.

Van Der Poel takes another XCC win.
Van Der Poel takes another XCC win.

Respect for a good battle. Let s see how these two get on on Sunday.
Respect for a good battle. Let's see how these two get on come Sunday.



25 Comments

  • + 8
 Andy Vathis' shot of Neff, Lechner and Courtney almost looks posed. Just brilliant. The portrait of Neff with her eyes closed is wonderful. Great photos.
  • + 1
 Checkout van der Poel's cheeky pair of socks for the rain... They're so thin you can see through them, and he wears athletic tape underneath to prevent blisters. Being that thin means they don't absorb any water and no waterlogged shoes. There a good photo on his social media.
  • + 2
 What is this cover-thing on the trek top tube, is it hiding some new suspension system?
  • + 1
 Yes, it's a new, un-released XC bike.
  • + 3
 @max2max the new XC Bike from Trek. Has ##mm of Travel in the Rear with a new suspension design. Drops in 4 weeks Smile Its probably the worst hidden secret XC-Bike - pictures all over the internet. And its a super name with that caliber Wink
  • + 2
 @DoctorWatson: I see what you did there. LOL!
  • + 1
 @DoctorWatson:

New Trek XC bike: 60mm of Travel. Not shipping till Dec. very light frame!
  • + 1
 @drail139: i know. i have all the prices and part lists. There is some more stuff dropping. Some bikes shipping end of October, depends on the model
  • + 1
 Not usually a Black and White pic fan but here they really work to convey that gritty atmosphere. Well done guys!
  • + 1
 what schwalbe use avancini?
  • + 3
 A pair of Dirty Dan's by the looks of it. Yet MVDP still wins on some skinny small block tread. His CX experience showing there.
  • + 3
 @watermouse: MVDP using Maxxis Ikons, impressive. Nino finally used some mud tires, he used Maxxis Aspens in Albstadt and that costed him many points.
  • + 2
 @entrecerros:MVDP using Ardent Race. Go Avancini!
  • + 1
 Avancini on quite big knobs compared to MvdP's tires and the advantage really did not show in the muddy corners. It seems unfair if you have to fight such skills...

A Dutch cycling journalist had a nickname for MvdP: "The inevitable one". Quite fitting I must say.
  • + 1
 @watermouse: no, its doesnt dirty dan
  • + 1
 Why in the world don't they use fenders?
  • + 1
 Good point but most of that shit in their faces is off the wheel in front.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: where I keep my fender
  • + 1
 The track was dry just before they started
  • + 2
 @Jimmy0: The guy in front!
  • + 1
 @gumbytex - Schurter did use one on the front.
  • + 1
 @gumbytex - Actually looks like lots of the guys did.
  • + 1
 >Assuming fenders make much difference shoulder-to-shoulder with 39 other riders splashing through puddles.
  • + 1
 That was some great racing to watch! Awesome photos in this post!
  • + 1
 MVDP appears to be wearing different shoes. White version of Shimano?

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