Photo Epic: Swiss Power - Mont Sainte Anne XC World Cup 2015

Aug 3, 2015
by Matthew DeLorme  
The weather Gods shone down upon us today in Mont Sainte Anne. With a fifty-five percent chance of thunderstorms forecast for midday and later, we were all certain that Hell would break loose on the technical track and that there would be excessive carnage. While the rains didn't come, the track refused to play nice on this 25th edition of the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup. Riders took their beatings and fought tooth and nail to best each other over the granite slabs and slippery root networks.

Jolanda Neff and Nino Schurter both fell short of the dominating performance we expected out of them in Lenzerheide, but they weren't going to let anyone forget how strong they are today. Both Schurter and Neff took the win in the pro classes while Rissveds and Titouan Carod took the win in their respective U23 divisions.

Titouan Carod speeding up one of the bridges to a first place finish in U23 men.
  Titouan Carod, speeding up one of the bridges to a first place finish in U23 men.

Victor Koretzky finished third in junior men.
  Victor Koretzky finished third in junior men.

Jenny Rissvids led the entire U23 race until she flatted with two laps to go. Then she blasted her way back to another first place finish.
  Jenny Rissvids led the entire U23 race until she flatted with two laps to go. Then she blasted her way back to another first place finish.

The MSA course got the best of Kate Courtney and she finished fifth.
  The MSA course got the best of Kate Courtney, and she finished fifth.

Alessandra Keller took second place for the U23 women today.
  Alessandra Keller took second place for the U23 women today.

Umbrellas were used for shade from the sun today not shelter from the rain fortunately.
  Umbrellas were used for shade from the sun today, not shelter from the rain, fortunately.

Pendrel was quiet and calm as she warmed up in the Box.
  Pendrel was quiet and calm as she warmed up in the Box.

Annie Last came out swinging like a sledge hammer but an early crash put her into 27th place.
  Annie Last (15) came out swinging like a sledge hammer, but an early crash put her into 27th place.

...and the Emily Batty fan club award goes to.....
  ...and the Emily Batty fan club award goes to.....

Most of the women s field pushed this uphill rock section. Only a few made the punchy technical climb.
  Most of the women's field pushed this uphill rock section. Only a few made the punchy technical climb.

Gunn-Rita was out in the lead group for much of the race and only slid back in the final two laps. Gunn-Rita finished fourth.
  Gunn-Rita was out in the lead group for much of the race, and only slid back in the final two laps - she finished fifth.

Emily Batty has proven that she is a World class competitor this year. She keeps working her way up in the rankings. Perhaps Red Bull really does give you wings
  Emily Batty has proven that she is a World class competitor this year. She keeps working her way up in the rankings. Perhaps Red Bull really does give you wings?

Pauline Ferrand Prevot took third place today for RaboLiv.
  Pauline Ferrand Prevot took third place today for RaboLiv.

Catharine Pendrel was hoping for a win on Canadian soil but was still happy to take second place only 34 seconds behind Neff.
  Catharine Pendrel was hoping for a win on Canadian soil, but was still happy to take second place only 34 seconds behind Neff.

Not the day Lea Davison wanted finishing just one place off the podium.
  Not the day Lea Davison wanted, finishing just one place off the podium.

Jolanda Neff didn t want a repeat of Lenzerheide. Today she took the win with ease.
  Jolanda Neff didn't want a repeat of Lenzerheide. Today she took the win, with ease.

Batty and Gunn-Rita congratulate each other on a well ridden race.
  Batty and Gunn-Rita congratulate each other on a well ridden race.

Women s Podium Neff Pendrel Ferrand Prevot Batty Dahle Flesjaa
  Women's Podium: Neff, Pendrel, Ferrand Prevot, Batty, Dahle Flesjaa

Marco Fontana takes a moment to center himself before going into battle.
  Marco Fontana takes a moment to center himself before going into battle.

Keeping cool during warmup is key. Box fans got a heavy workout today.
  Keeping cool during warmup is key. Box fans got a heavy workout today.

For some it was easier to walk down Beatrice. For others they had no choice.
  For some, it was easier to walk down Beatrice. For others, they had no choice.

Ralph Naef fought hard and finished fourth. For Naef fourth place was a sweet victory today.
  Ralph Naef fought hard and finished fourth. For Naef, fourth place was a sweet victory today.

Nino typically would lead on the climbs and Julien would try and make his move on the descents.
  Nino typically would lead on the climbs, and Julien would try and make his move on the descents.

Sergio Mantecon takes a fly-by cool down on lap five.
  Sergio Mantecon takes a fly-by cool down on lap five.

Absalon takes a quick look back to see just how close Nino is. Nino would edge out Julien in the end.
  Absalon takes a quick look back to see just how close Nino is. Nino would edge out Julien in the end.

Mathias Fluckiger blew out his tire and fought tooth and nail to finish in sixth.
  Mathias Fluckiger blew out his tire and fought tooth and nail to finish in sixth.

Mathias giving every last ounce after his flat.
  Mathias giving every last ounce after his flat.

Julian Absalon traded blows with Schurter throughout the race but in the end would finish second.
  Julian Absalon traded blows with Schurter throughout the race, but in the end would finish second.

Florian Vogel pounding his way through the switchback climbs. Vogel would finish third.
  Florian Vogel pounding his way through the switchback climbs. Vogel would finish third.

Schurter on the exit from Beatrice.
  Schurter on the exit from Beatrice.

Schurter circled back around to welcome Julien across the line.
  Schurter circled back around to welcome Julien across the line.

Ralph Naef was shattered after his fourth place finish today.
  Ralph Naef was shattered after his fourth place finish today.

The result of fighting your way back to a sixth place finish after flatting.
  The result of fighting your way back to a sixth place finish after flatting.

Men s Podium Schurter Absalon Vogel Naef Tempier.
  Men's Podium: Schurter, Absalon, Vogel, Naef, Tempier.



47 Comments

  • 48 4
 Cool display of sportsmanship between Absalon & Schurter, nice to mountain bikers doing it right. Watched a few Tour de France stage finishes and the competitors would not even look at each other after crossing the finish line. Thanks for the recap, I'm going to try to watch the replay on redbull.tv if it's there.
  • 11 0
 I have to disagree on the tdf part. There were a real respect between Quintana and Froome after the big mountain stages.
  • 6 3
 And Froome out of respect didn't wear the yellow jersey for the stage after Tony Martin's crash.
  • 3 0
 Froome couldn't wear the yellow jersey, it was decided by the race jury who were following the rules that a rider is only officially out of the race when he fails to start. Froome had nothing to do with it, no matter who PR spinners might have wanted to word it...
  • 2 0
 True it does look like it was spun that way. He did make the comment that he wouldn't have worn it anyways though at least (say if he didn't finish that stage).
  • 20 1
 "Nino typically would lead on the climbs, and Julien would try and make his move on the descents."
Isn't it the other way round?
  • 7 0
 Normally yes, but in this race Nino seemed to like leading on the climbs and wasn't too bothered whether he was leading the descents or not (until the last lap where he attacked a climb and Julian couldn't keep touch)
  • 9 0
 Yeah i also thought that was false but not really sure how the writer means
  • 19 1
 Xc isn't really my thing (I'm unfit) but there is a part of me that would love to try a proper xc rig on a course like this just to see how crazy scary it would become Smile
  • 6 0
 Some of the photos looked properly technical, even for a decent trail bike. On a twitchy race machine it would be crazy scary indeed!
  • 21 0
 Just race Cat3 dude. I guarantee you there are fatter/less fit people than you out there having a great time, and the Cat3 races are usually only 2-3 laps. Raise that saddle and try it out!
  • 2 0
 start slow, go up on a fire road, pedal until you get tired, next time pedal a little further, start adding turns and picking up your wheel to clear small obstacles, you will find yourself enjoying the uphill sections in no time. Add a friend if possible, so you can push each other as well as share experiences to grow upon. I personally love XC and the friendship it entails.
  • 13 1
 Can't believe nobody has mentioned Jolanda. She rode lines that only two men rode. If she did an EWS she would destroy the field. I also bet that if you gave her a month on a DH bike she could win a WC DH too. She's by far the most all-round talented rider on the planet. Even Prevot and Graves pale by comparison.
  • 4 0
 jclnv I couldn't agree more, her skills have amazed me.
  • 6 0
 Racin ain't about being comfortable, it's about being on the ragged edge of control the entire time. Dropper posts are great until something goes wrong and something always goes wrong so for now, I doubt you'll see too many on XC rigs. Great photos and Nino greeting Absalon at the finish was pure class and no you don't see that in road biking except among teammates.
  • 5 2
 I get the traffic jam part but it does look like they taped the course pretty wide, could they not have gone around and stayed on the bike or is it that technical? If it is so tech that they have to get off the bike when somebody goes down, why even put that part in the course? Seems like it kinda defeats the purpose of a race if you have to go on foot. Also it mentions that some were not making it up some of the climbs? I feel like xc racing is hard enough why make it so hard that they have to get off the bike to go up a climb? Neg prop away since people seem to get butthurt when you question these races, i ride xc i just dont really get the racing part of it.
  • 7 26
flag MtnMark (Aug 3, 2015 at 7:39) (Below Threshold)
 XC racing is dying bc it has become only about fitness and the trails haven't kept up with advances in suspension. It's a rare to see a technical course (like msa, I think) so these dudes would rather walk down a trail than run a decent front tire or dropper post and gain a few grams. So very lame.
  • 12 2
 No one complains when cyclocross racers dismount.
  • 18 0
 Yes the course is taped wide but on that section there is only one ridable line. The traffic jams really only form first lap and even then usually it is at the back of the field. The only way to get ride of those traffic jams is to make the course really lame. Climbing is a technical skill those who can clean difficult climbs are faster then those who have to walk. Many times race are won by someone who has the skills and fitness to clean a difficult climb. A good XC course contain sections where those with superior technical skills gain an advantage.
  • 6 0
 Fair enough, i have never actually raced xc so i am just speculating, it sounds like building a perfect course is a challenge. I wouldn't say xc racing is dying, in my area it is ten times more popular than downhill, but the tracks are not tech just really long so it is always the fittest who wins, which is why i would just race for fun.
  • 6 0
 I think the xc tracks are getting more technical because as mentioned the suspension/tyres/bikes can handle it, and just require a broader skill set. It is afterall a MOUNTAIN bike race, if you just paved it to make it easier for dirt roadies it becomes a spin class on dirt!
  • 4 0
 Like Bob alluded to, that picture was probably a result of a traffic jam early in the race. The lead group rode down beatrice every lap. If anyone thinks that XC racing is for "dirt roadies" you really should watch a lap or two of this race. And then remember that not only are they riding these technical descents, but they're going it with their heart rates pinned. You can stream both the mens and womens elite races on the Red Bull site.
  • 3 0
 *sighs* XC racing is kind of the most basic format of racing... on a mountain bike, especially since there aren't mountains everywhere. Have a local trail loop? Well if you race on it, it's an XC race! (or time trial) That's not dying anytime soon.

I think the XC courses in the past couple years have generally been pretty good. Yeah, it's gonna be about fitness obviously since humans are the motors but you also have to be able to handle the technical aspect as well. The DHers have to have a very high level of fitness to compete at that level too.
  • 7 0
 ditto WhatAboutBob, virtually all the pileups happen in the first lap when the field hasn't spread out yet. Honestly I feel like reacting to other riders is one thing that makes XC racing more interesting than regular trail riding by yourself. Sure you can go through the course and pick your lines in practice, but it's a real test of your skills, fitness, and decision-making when someone screws up in front of you and you're forced onto a line you aren't familiar with. It's kind of a rush.... having to make decisions on the fly like that, and trying to decide how much gas you have left in the tank to make moves on people.

I know the technicality of XC courses vary a ton from location to location, but if you can find a series with some good courses you should definitely try it out. I think you'll have a whole new respect for XC racing. You might think you're fit or technically skilled when you ride on your own, but there are so many more variables to worry about when you hit the same features with other riders around and when you're exhausted. You'll be surprised how many of the "dirt roadie" crowd can humble you, even on the descents.

@MtnMark that's BS. WC XC had plenty of technical courses in the last 2 years, and XC is the most popular form of mtb. How exactly is it dying?
  • 3 0
 *Just pointing out that there are two photo's that are the same. (Florian vogel)

Other than that, fantastic photos! Really captures the brutality of XC
  • 3 0
 Amazing to see these same women's names at the top for so many years. Dahle Flesjaa, Pendrel, especially - seems like they have been at the top of the sport for years.
  • 1 0
 Correction: "Gunn-Rita was out in the lead group for much of the race, and only slid back in the final two laps. Gunn-Rita finished fourth."

Gunn-Rita finished 5th, Batty was 4th (which is great to see) Wink
  • 3 0
 Would've liked to have a peak at Jolanda's bike ; she had a good cadence going (double chainrings?)
  • 3 0
 Yep. 2x11 XTR Di2
  • 1 0
 Check out Mathias Fluckiger's bike in the picture where he's rolling into the pits. Looks like some kind of funky upside down dropper post??
  • 2 0
 @paulwatt It's a good thing you're not in charge bud
  • 1 0
 eyy Matt, are you mad at Kulhavy? seems he's not racing on the article.. remember? he is the overall leader in XCO3.. Smile
  • 5 0
 No, I'm not mad at him. I'm one guy, shooting four races, sorting through 2,300 photos until 12 at night, so it happens to get whittled down to about 35 relevant photos of the day.
  • 1 0
 too bad jaro flatted out. great shots matt!
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