The New Era: XC World Cup Round 2, Albstadt – Finals Photo Epic

May 29, 2017
by Irmo Keizer  



With temperatures soaring to mid-summer goodness, Albstadt heated up for the second round of the World Cup. The men's U23 race provided plenty of fireworks and unexpected happenings and today proved to surpass all expectations. Spectators witnessed a series of races which were among the closest and best in recent years. Fresh faces are starting to shake things up as they work their way up the competition ladder. Albstadt has provided the arena in which the stars of the future shined bright. It was racing at its pinnacle as riders charged to the front, attacked and defended positions. Blood, sweat, and tears. Racing at its very best.

Race positions at the ready.
Race positions at the ready.

Here we go
Here we go!

Kate s day wasn t going to turn out like she envisioned.
Kate's day wasn't going to turn out like she envisioned.

Albstadt is not the most technical of the World Cups but it is always tricky. Slippery when wet slippery when dry. The course claimed many victims.
Albstadt is not the most technical of the World Cups, but it is always tricky. Slippery when wet, slippery when dry. The course claimed many victims.

Evie Richards was pushing hard today. The pressure paid off.
Evie Richards was pushing hard today. The pressure paid off.

Kate Courtney didn t have the best of luck today but she had the legs to take her to second.
Kate Courtney didn't have the best of luck today, but she had the legs to take her to second.

Sina Frey pushing to third place on a hot morning.
Sina Frei pushing to third place on a hot morning.

Evie Richards looks over her shoulder but finds herself all alone before winning the World Cup in Albstadt.
Evie Richards looks over her shoulder but finds herself all alone before winning the World Cup in Albstadt.

Despite the crash and the flat Kate Courtney had a damn good ride.
Despite the crash and the flat, Kate Courtney had a damn good ride.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
The women's U23 category seems set for a close battle between Kate Courtney and Evie Richards. Sina Frei is poised to get closer to the two as well.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Evie takes the win and now leads the series.

Jolanda warms up in the rare bit of shade you find between the pits.
Jolanda warms up in the rare bit of shade you find between the pits.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic

Maja Wloszczowska Switched the lead with Annika a couple times until Annika had an off. Maja rode on to second for the day.
Maja Wloszczowska Switched the lead with Annika a couple times until Annika had an off. Maja rode on to second for the day.

One lap later Annika Langvad seemed to make her move and powered to the front.
One lap later Annika Langvad seemed to make her move and powered to the front.

Yana Belomoina had a strong start of the season finishing in 5th in Nove Mesto. Her goal of a top 10 finish proved to be modest.
Yana Belomoina had a strong start of the season, finishing in 5th in Nove Mesto. Her goal of a top 10 finish proved to be too modest.

Emily Batty had a better day today and took tenth place.
Emily Batty had a better day today and took tenth place.

The crowds here rival Nove Mestos for sure.
The crowds here rival Nove Mesto's for sure. Although on the noise side, the Germans have to admit defeat.

Jolanda Neff was showing some of that form from two years ago today. She finished third.
Jolanda Neff was showing some of that form from two years ago today. She finished third.

Annika Langvad leading Maja early in the race but a crash would have her settle for 16th.
Annika Langvad leading Maja early in the race, but a crash would have her settle for 16th.

Bec Henderson wasn t feeling to shattered in the heat. She finished fifth for the day.
Bec Henderson wasn't feeling too shattered in the heat. She finished fifth for the day.

Yana speeding home towards an oh so sweet victory.
Yana speeding home towards an oh so sweet victory.

After Annika crashed hard Maja took the lead and rode on front. Yana Belomoina passed her in the final lap with incredible pace.
After Annika crashed hard, Maja took the lead and rode on the front. It was Yana Belomoina with the performance of the day though as she passed Maja final lap with incredible pace.

In disbelieve Yana grasps to behold what just happened as Maja congratulates the young Ukrainian rider on her first elite World Cup win.
In disbelief, Yana grasps to behold what just happened as Maja congratulates the young Ukrainian rider on her first elite World Cup win.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Anne Tauber grasping for air.

Exhaustion dehydration and disappointment.
Exhaustion, dehydration, and disappointment.

Erin Huck put so much into the day that she didn t have words at the end.
Erin Huck put so much into the day that she didn't have words at the end.

The heat took it s toll out there today.
The heat took it's toll out there today.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Tough as nails.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Some much-deserved cooling and hydration.

Maksym Gravylenko Yana s boyfriend coach and mechanic and Bart Brentjens right congratulate each other with Yana Belomoina s victory.
Maksym Gravylenko, Yana's boyfriend, coach, and mechanic and Bart Brentjens (right) congratulate each other with Yana Belomoina's victory.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
The top step.

Albstadt s setup is one of the best for spectators and they flock to the Bullpit to see the riders pass on all sides.
Albstadt's setup is one of the best for spectators and they flock to the Bullpit to see the riders pass on all sides. The time has come for the men's elite field.

TFR manager Jon Rourke wishes Anton well before he heads out into the heat of the day.
TFR manager Jon Rourke wishes Anton well before he heads out into the heat of the day.

Nice to Florian Vogel back and healthy. Also nice to see his start box routine hasn t changed.
Nice to see Florian Vogel back and healthy. Also nice to see his start box routine hasn't changed.

Nino cools down before things heat up.
Nino cools down before things heat up.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Umbrellas provided some shade prior to the start.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
After passing over 81 riders last week, Van der Poel raced to first position straight after the start.

Van der Poel leads as Nino Schurter takes the outside line. Schurter was one of the few to do so opting to go for the slightly longer but less steep climb.
Van der Poel leads, as Nino Schurter takes the outside line. Schurter was one of the few to do so, opting to go for the slightly longer but less steep climb.

With Van der Poel starting out on front it was Mathias Fl ckiger who took over the lead. Schurter and Van der Poel in pursuit.
With Van der Poel starting out in front, it was Mathias Fluckiger who took over the lead. Schurter and Van der Poel in pursuit.

Anton was biding his time until the right moment to strike. Coop took third today.
Anton was biding his time until the right moment to strike. Coop took third today.

Nino was looking like he was pushing a little harder than usual today.
Nino was looking like he was pushing a little harder than usual today.

Mathieu came of the start like a bat out of Hell and didn t let up until lap five.
Mathieu came of the start like a bat out of Hell and didn't let up until lap five.

Manny couldn t pull out a podium on home soil in the heat today unfortunately.
Manny couldn't pull out a podium on home soil in the heat today, unfortunately.

Serrano wasn t the man giving Nino the run for his money today but he had another strong ride.
Serrano wasn't the man giving Nino the run for his money today, but he had another strong ride.

Maxime Marotte letft nothing on the track today. He fought hard to push through he field.
Maxime Marotte left nothing on the track today. He fought hard to push through the field.

Albstadt always claims its victims.
Albstadt always claims its victims.

It is a long time since we saw Nino Schurter being challenged to this level. Van der Poel and Fl ckiger upping the stakes.
It is a long time since we saw Nino Schurter being challenged to this level. Van der Poel and Fluckiger upping the stakes.

On fire.
On fire.

Maxime Marotte just one of many fast French riders rode a consistent race finishing in 4th.
Maxime Marotte, one of many fast French riders, rode a consistent race, finishing in 5th.

Mathieu van der Poel crashed in a corner and saw Nino Schurter and Mathias Fl ckiger take off. Fl ckiger send it in pursuit of Schurter but crashed hard.
Mathieu van der Poel crashed in a corner on lap 5 and saw Nino Schurter and Mathias Fluckiger pass. The latter send it in pursuit of Schurter but crashed hard.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic
Lucky to miss the tree which would have ended in severe trauma, Math continued his race.

David Valero cools himself riding to a 4th position.
David Valero cools himself, riding to a 4th position.

Anton Cooper exceeded his own expectations. 3rd for this strong Kiwi.
Anton Cooper exceeded his own expectations. 3rd for this strong Kiwi.

Spectators high-fiving Nino.
Spectators high-fiving Nino.

That s two for two.
That's two for two.

Van der Poel and Fl ckiger might have crashed but the battle is on for that desired first spot.
Van der Poel and Fluckiger might have crashed, but the battle is on for that desired first spot.

It is no light task to get Schurter nervous. This man did it.
It is no light task to get Schurter nervous. This man did it.

The battle is on.
The battle is on.

The New Era XC World Cup Round 2 Albstadt Finals Photo Epic

The clean squad Nice job boys.
The clean squad! Nice job boys.

Thanks, Albstadt, we have seen plenty to get excited about. Close battles, new champions, and challenged champions. The future looks bright.


74 Comments

  • 75 0
 That was one of the most intense XC races I've ever seen. Call me entertained!
As a sidenode: I have to give it to Red Bull: despite their streaming issues, the camera setup and commentary was top notch. Well done.
  • 17 0
 The image set from the women's race was intense - blood, tears and pain for all.
  • 12 0
 It was a amazing race to watch!! Men's and Women's both very entertaining!
  • 25 0
 Great photos as usual. And while I do like Schurter, it's nice to see him getting challenged for real! Makes for much more exciting races.
  • 13 0
 Same here, Nino is a great rider and athlete. However, it is good to have more guys competing for that top one spot. Schurter won yesterday with experience and skills. Young(er) guns Mathieu and Math took themselves out.
  • 18 0
 I bet Nino actually loves the challenge.
  • 5 0
 @Tmackstab: Couldn't agree more. I bet Nino loves that he is being pushed. Setting up for a killer XC season!
  • 23 0
 Two Kross bikes on the World Cup podium! Yeah, oh yeah! Awesome work Maja and Jolanda.
  • 8 0
 Strong team!
  • 2 8
flag jclnv (May 29, 2017 at 7:58) (Below Threshold)
 @ikeizer: Despite those hanky piles of crap they have to ride.
  • 12 2
 @jclnv: you mean like Merida, Cube, Focus, Radon, Ghost, Orbea, Bianchi, Rose, Canyon, Scott, Trek, Kelly's, Author, Specialized, Intense, Santa Cruz, Planet X, Vitus?

What can we rule out from "yet another XC frame made in Asia?" Unno? S-works? Maybe Santa Cruz CC, Defo not Trek 9.9. Are you into Salsa maybe? Because all those frames are decorated with same level of components.
  • 9 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I just mean that those Kross bikes look like they have 70 degree head angles and they don't even appear to have a good FS option.

Can you imagine Jolanda on a Spark?
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: trek 9.9 are made in the us. I know as I had to wait weeks for a new frame the us factory where as if I had wanted a 9.8 frame it would have been a few days from Asia
  • 4 2
 @rrsport: sorry, there is a photo of a cut through Madone 9.9 - they can go fiddle themselves with their "Made in US". They don't even bother to make the front triangles as monocoque, they glue it from pieces and those connections are shit. I don't know how Jose or Consuela means more quality than Xian Jing so quite frankly if you want to buy a Trek, but the one made in Asia, you save money and it's probably better.

www.instagram.com/p/BRAEcqijim2/?taken-by=luescher_teknik


@jclnv - oh so you changed a point of reference to Spark? How about you use Evil Following? WIth 120 Reba and XC racing wheelset with dugast tyres it would be even better than Spark. And Kross has the geo as vas majority of XC racing bikes out there. I rode their Enduro bike and it's super long, feeling like a DH bike. Suspension is a bit shitty but geo is "modern"
  • 4 3
 @rrsport: and check out how clean Giant is:
www.instagram.com/p/BMQYnmojPGY

Still want to proudly buy made by proud great again US?
  • 3 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Have you seen how light a Spark is? There's a reason all the top privateers are on them.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: 'look like they have 70 degree head angles'? So you're not just too lazy to check the actual and easily accessible number but also claim to be able to tell the angle from an action photo? The 69 degree HA they have is an industry standard for XC, if anything it's on the slacker side of what you can currently buy.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: latest spark has 68.5 head angle and long reach. It is a very welcome feature and I bet more conpanies will follow, but in the current setting it is an elephant in the room. So it is hard to blame Kross for doing what pretty much everyone else is doing. That's why I mentioned all other companies in previous post. Also, as far as XC racing is concerned you cannot really blame your racing results on the frame, unless you win 10 sec on each descent. Which could happen if they used fkng droppers... using around 20W more per 10 minutes (according to bike radars test) due to added weight is a rather silly excuse they all make, catering to weight saving superstitions...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: idk I'd kill for another 20w power (0.3w/kg in my case), why would I disadvantage myself that much when a dropper just doesn't benefit me
  • 17 0
 Stoked for Anton - that's one seriously strong kid!
  • 21 3
 I love XC girls...
  • 15 0
 That Flockiger crash was insane, pure DH level! Glad the he was ok.
  • 10 1
 The announcers were on fire, too. Witty color commentary, self-deprecating humor, Bart's expertise and brutal honesty. They didn't dumb the action down and thankfully don't have a producer forcing canned cliches into an earpiece.
  • 3 0
 My favorite comment they made was something along the lines of "putting them in the Schurt locker".
  • 10 0
 Until he exploded Mathias Flockiger was descending a hardtail faster than anyone I've ever seen. How his tires stayed on the rims I'll never know.
  • 9 0
 Good to see Mathieu van der Poel racing XC World Cup. I watched some Cyclocross races this winter and I really like his style of racing.
  • 10 0
 Stoked to see the strength of our K1W1 Anton. Fantastic work... Keep it going, that top step is not far away
  • 7 0
 Incredible racing this weekend. If you're a mountain biker and aren't following the world cup you're missing out. Fantastic images, keep the coverage coming.
  • 7 0
 Don't forget MvdP won a 200 kilometer road race on Thursday. That guy is a freaking prodigy!
  • 4 1
 Van der Poel's got the leg warmers on when he mounted the podium. Nothing's going to prove better mind games to Shurter than telling him he's already getting the road chills. The heat is ON - this is going to be a fantastic year.
  • 2 0
 I'm not firm witrh road jargon. What do you mean by road chills?
  • 3 0
 Great race VDP definitely gave the shake the WC circuit needs, reminds me of the pre 2000 era where many had chances to step on the first step of the podium. Love to elaborate on Absalon holding all his aces for world champs.
  • 6 1
 This could be the end of the Nino Absalon era. Bring on the MVDP vs Schurter!
  • 7 0
 Don't forget Mathias...he was pushing those two.
  • 2 0
 Now that Van der Poel has had a taste of a WC starting in the first row and resulting in second place, hopefully we will see him commit to the full schedule. Such a fun rider to watch - raw talent! Very surprising to see him opt for the full suspension given the course. Awesome to see the two young guns on the podium.
  • 1 0
 A full schedule will be hard, unless someone offers him a MTB contract which comes close to what he fetches now. That said though, he loves mountainbiking, so who knows.
  • 2 0
 Excellent photo set and narrative; really captures the color and spectrum of the sport, as well as the character of the venue.

Thank you, pinkbike.com, Irmo Keizer, Matthew Delorme, for this continued stellar coverage of UCI MTB XCO events.
  • 7 1
 I miss XC visors Blank Stare
  • 5 0
 MVDP. So good.
  • 7 4
 I demand a Burger Program for Yana!
  • 3 3
 yeah for sure she deserved it but being so tiny is what helped her to win, much better heat magement and less weight to pull on those climbs
  • 9 0
 Have you seen her 6-pack? No way she trades it for those burgers )))
  • 3 0
 @toni796: Being so tiny is good for this circuit which is smooth with long climbs, but most of the circuits these days are much rougher and punchier which tips the balance more towards pure power, not just power to weight ratio - and she's going to have a real hard time being consistently at the top there!
  • 2 0
 @wingguy: Check out the photo of Bec Henderson (5th place) standing between Rob Warner and Bart Brentjens!

www.facebook.com/bechendersonMTB/photos/a.370162476521378.1073741828.370157129855246/647179478819675/?type=3&theater
  • 1 0
 He has driven his Radon Jealous.
Great Job till this unnecessary jump.
But he is ok - and his baby also.
www.facebook.com/Radon.Bikes.France/posts/454235381587111
  • 2 1
 Rad photos and great race. . . . .... .but everytime I see a bad crash that could have been prevented with a Dropper Post!! The benefits "out weigh" the weight penalty.
  • 1 0
 It is a mental thing as well. I fully agree, but riders take their sport to the limits. A difference in weight is easily measured and it might gain that tiny advantage over your opponent.
  • 2 0
 So who came in 4th? Maxime Marotte or David Valero?
  • 1 0
 Valero. #needsleep
  • 2 0
 Fluckiger did hit tree, just not the first one...
  • 1 0
 Fair enough, he brushed the padding on it. I was sitting on the right of it ????.
  • 2 0
 A great set of moment Matthew Delorme
  • 2 0
 Great pics thanks PB!
  • 3 4
 hi kate.
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