Video: Jolanda Neff Beats Cyclocross World Champion in GP Sven Nys

Jan 2, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Jolanda Neff has just put herself on the radar for the upcoming cyclocross World Championships as she stormed to victory in the GP Sven Nys in Belgium. The GP Sven Nys may not be in the top tier of Cyclocross racing but Neff was able to beat current World Champion Sanne Cant on her way to the win.

It looks like it was Neff's superior riding skills that won her the event on the day as she was able to bunny hop over obstacles to catch up to Cant and then overcome the mud to take and maintain the lead. Neff ended the race 27 seconds clear.

This is Neff's second CX race of the season since joining the Trek team and she also impressed at her first, the sixth round of the World Cup in Namur, where she battled from the fifth row on the grid to finish fifth.

The Cyclocross World Championships is a month away and if the weekend's result is anything to go by, we could see Neff adding some gold to her collection before the mountain bike season even begins in earnest.


90 Comments

  • + 63
 Pretty badass just bunny hopping over obstacles while other competitors are lifting their bikes over... showing everyone how it’s done!
  • + 17
 Loving the nonchalant smile covered Belgian mud.
  • + 33
 #bunnyhopthepatriarchy for those that know...know.
  • + 21
 The inside line pass she had was sick especially since Cant went OTB trying to do the same thing to her!
  • - 19
flag fattyheadshok (Jan 2, 2019 at 19:22) (Below Threshold)
 That’s cos Neff spends her days riding
trails with Luca Shaw. Two people that passionate about MTB riding but differing disciplines they’ll teach one another a lot. That inside line was pure DH.
  • + 41
 @fattyheadshok: I'm sure Jolanda was ripping inside lines long before she met Luca...
  • + 10
 @fattyheadshok: this is the same as “Rachel is fast only because she has 2 brothers who are fast”
  • + 27
 @johannensc:

When I ride with someone that is faster than me downhill, I have the benefit of watching their line, and learning to become a faster rider.

This isn’t sexist. This is merely someone trying to make a connection between a couple that could compliment them in their profession.

People need to chill out.
  • + 4
 @johannensc:
How is "they’ll teach one another a lot" the same as the Rachel comment?
  • + 7
 @johannensc: Rachel is simply fast. same with Jolanda. they train hard, race perfectly and only supported by team family friends and coaches.
The achievement belong to the athletes personally.
Be happy for them and don't try to look behind a corner for responsibility in one who only assisted to reach the goal.
every athlete need a supporting surrounding, but a professional team can't bring any human to the same goal.

All top athletes are spacial in there own way.
  • + 4
 @johannensc: @johannensc: Gender aside that's a plausible statement. If I grew up in a household with those two, world class mtb athletes, (given I had a passion for riding) you don't think I wouldn't be a faster, better rider? Of course I would.
  • + 1
 @RONDAL: I think it's the other female racers. They should all take note. Skills pay the bills.
  • + 0
 @johannensc: Not only, but in large part due.
  • - 1
 @millsr4: except it happened at 2mph
  • + 8
 Having fast family members or a partner is not a guarantee though, so why bring it up? One might be faster having fast riders close to them, but would they be at the top of the sport because of it? Not necessarily. What about Luca Shaw's brother, Walker Shaw or Dan Atherton? Why are Walker and Dan not winning world cups and staying at the top end of the sport? Yeah they are fast, but by the logic given above, one would think their results would be better because of the sibling affect. When Bam Hill is old enough to race DH will we be saying he's only good because his dad is Sam Hill? If he is not as good as his dad, will we harp on him for somehow squandering a gift? On top of the above mentioned, Jolanda's only been dating Luca for what 6 months at the most? She was winning long before she met Luca. I doubt Luca spends his limited relationship time with Jolanda coaching her.

It is sexist because we downplay the woman's (Rachel, Jolanda, etc.) achievements making it sound like it's purely because of the men in her life when that fact may have 5% (maybe 10%?) affect on her speed. Who knows the level of affect; why speculate? I don't hear anyone saying Mathieu VanDerPoel is only good because his brother and father are professional cyclists. When you mention one but not the other, its sexism, bro.
  • + 1
 @Patsplit:

It isn’t sexist at all. It’s an association of family and/or friends. Stop trying to defend people who aren’t claiming to be victims.

Luca Shaw is fast.... Ethan Shandro is fast.... the list of family members that are fast goes on and on.. we can discuss motor sports and keep the lists going.
It isn’t necessarily gene pool, it’s exposure and the desire to be involved.

When Chris Kovarik has female riders in his development program, people don’t yell, “SEXIST!!” at him in the pits. They see it a strong rider helping others become more refined, and well rounded.

Bash away.
  • + 0
 @dro-cfr: I'd bet money you couldn't even make it down that hill let alone make a pass on the inside of that muck bowl...
  • + 6
 @powaymatt: You're missing the point. You can bring up the topic of being faster because of those around you (family members, etc.), but it always seems to be brought up on articles about female athletes and not on articles about male athletes. We can argue whether my assertion of this is true, but in all my time of reading Pinkbike articles (at least 10 years), my memory is that this topic comes up more frequently on female articles than male.

Put yourself in the shoes of the ladies. Almost as long as Rachel has been racing, I'm sure she would say the topic of "you're only fast because Gee is your brother" has been a constant one. Nevermind the hours per day spent in the gym, eating right, practicing riding skills, years of experience, her sponsors' equipment, etc. I'll agree with you if you say, the only reason she is racing mtn bikes is because Gee and Dan influenced her.

If we are being accurate, the corollary argument doesn't hold up and further proves this as having a negligible affect. "Those without fast men in their lives are not fast riders and winning races." Yet we still see plenty of women at the top of the sport without fast men in their lives, so there is no direct correlation. Therefore, the causation must be dismissed.

What does it say for women wanting to get into the sport? If you don't have a fast man in your life, don't bother thinking you'll be able to do well.
  • - 1
 @Patsplit:

Nobody has once declared that these amazing women are faster because they’ve had the opportunity to ride with MEN. They’ve simply stated that they are riding with fast people (who just happen to be men in these circumstances).

I’d bet that Luca Shaw has learned a bit from Yolanda, and with her direction, will make him a better rider... does that level the playing field? Or is that a sexist comment?

Go ride with people that are faster than you. Personally, I only ride with Androngenous-Pat. After our rides, we typically go grab a Hefenweisen, shop at The Gap, and get matching haircuts at Supercuts. It’s the most healthy, unconditional, unprejudiced, non sexual, biking partner I have.
  • + 1
 @jhtopilko: you need to keep up with your #hashtags my friend.
  • + 2
 Wow! Can’t believe that got downvoted so badly. I have a wife a daughter who both ride. I’m the least misogynistic person you’ll ever meet. I merely meant that as a couple they’ll play off of each other and learn things from each other. XC and DH are different disciplines but there is crossover. Having advanced technical skills will help your XC game. Having super advanced Cardio and endurance can’t help but improve your DH game. Just look at their Instagram posts. They’re completely into each other and that’s a great thing. They’re bound to pick up skills from one another. That’s all I meant
  • + 41
 I never in all my days thought I would find cyclocross & xc racing interesting to watch. But dang, I must admit - this stuff is addicting to watch as a cyclist. Great riding on all levels!
  • + 9
 The frog is boiled man!
  • + 4
 Men’s Cyclocross is broken at the moment...not much suspense. At all.
  • + 4
 @ReformedRoadie: only because Van der Poel wins everything.
  • + 5
 @ReformedRoadie: on which lap will van der Poel drop everyone ? the first or second.
  • + 2
 They need to have some gap jumps in tdf, that would get people watching
  • + 2
 @zyoungson: Lets include a trackstand challenge for DH courses and a flat ground pump track sprint while we're at it shall we?
  • + 39
 why are people riding road bikes off road?
  • - 29
flag jaydawg69 (Jan 2, 2019 at 15:08) (Below Threshold)
 it's silly isn't it... but apparently cool in you are a hipster.
  • + 24
 wrapping up my first season this weekend and I can report it is one of the most fun things I have ever participated in. Also, among the most difficult. And the culture at local races is pretty rad too! Great people partying on bikes and drinking beers... sounds like a good time to me
  • - 2
 I have taken to calling it “stupid racing” for good reason tbh
  • + 16
 @jaydawg69: existed before mountain bike racing did...
  • + 35
 @yzedf: as did the Black Death. We have vaccines now.
  • - 20
flag dro-cfr (Jan 2, 2019 at 20:04) (Below Threshold)
 That was one of the stupidest bike related things I've seen and I like Neff. The only good thing that ever happened on cx bike was Yoann Barelli at Whistler.
  • + 12
 Because as everyone knows, if you ride bikes what you really want to do is ride them off road. Doesn't matter much what kind of bike it is!
  • + 4
 @yzedf: You got it. Those badass Belgians didn't want to stop riding even in winter, so they invented Cyclocross.
  • + 1
 @thatshowiroll: The flaw in that theory is that the Belgians don't close the roads in the winter, only in the summer, which is why they all have to drive around France in July and August (nothing wrong with that of course).
  • + 2
 @thatshowiroll:
They also invented Cyclocross as an excuse to drink beer and eat hot dogs in a tent (they are fun to go to).
  • + 27
 Jolanda is the "girl" equivalent of Sagan, one of those rare, compelling and inspirational talents that leave one with the idea that riding a bike should be, and is really fun. Winning the race against the reigning world champion going away, with a string of pearls around her neck and mud in her teeth. Pure style.
  • + 3
 Hmmm, i think Jolanda is the Jolanda equivalent of Sagan... they both have different achievements, styles and skills why the need to compare?
  • + 10
 as Neff's cyclocross form builds, she'll be another PFP for sure. Not sure if her MTB style translates as well to CX as it would need to be to consistently beat Cant/Vos/Brand/etc at this time, however. i'd still peg her for a CX World Champion contender.

definitely loving watching the XC/CX crossover these past few seasons.
  • + 11
 Mad respect. Tried CX racing and it's a hell of a lot harder than it looks; things that are a piece of cake on a mountain bike require planning and concentration in cx.
  • + 4
 likely because your HR was absolutely pinned at VO2max
  • + 1
 @RONDAL: Yep, it took me a couple of races to even start to learn to control my HR so that I'd actually last the whole race.
  • + 6
 Neff's XC/CX crossover will change the CX sport by introducing an MTB skill set to former roadies and gravel grinders who discovered the dirt in CX. Jolanda you're a great role model for my daughter. keep breaking the rules and records too!
  • + 6
 MvP has been doing that for years now on the mens side. All the power to Neff but she is not the first.
One the American side keep your eye on Ellen Noble, she's been making a huge rise and is doing MTB/CX this season with trek.
  • + 6
 Neff is one fun rider to watch. She just battles and charges downhills with reckless abandon.
  • + 6
 She's a boss! (Pinkbike robbed her on the performance of the year award, still).
  • + 1
 So true, Craig.
  • + 6
 Next up: "Neff joins Tour De France stage, wins by 30 seconds".
  • + 5
 Jolanda is strong and I appreciate her work.
  • + 2
 You'd have to be some kind of masochist to enjoy competing in this, but what a beast. Definitely shows how much the MTB background assists with the technical aspects of the race.
  • + 4
 What a monster! Congrats.
  • + 4
 Weird seeing her racing in blue and not white!
  • + 2
 Dang. That looks more miserable than even cross county racing. At least I can relate to having to walk up all the climbs and over stuff.
  • + 5
 She is just awesome!
  • + 1
 If you want to see another impressive feat, search for Thibau Nys' win in the junior race. He learned the stair riding trick from his dad (who the race is named after).
  • + 2
 Anyone remembered the Woman CX racer on 2018 who got caught with an electric motor in her bike?
  • - 5
flag RedRedRe (Jan 2, 2019 at 17:16) (Below Threshold)
 Yes.... she was caught because she was from a small team.
Different form of motors have been around since the early 2000's. The most expensive are in the rear hubs (150k per wheel). I am sure team skay uses them on more than one rider – when needed.
Don't think that MTB is a clean sport either – the controls are just more permissive. Anytime one person wins everything it is always the same reason... either mechanical or medical...
All other sports are even more doped out, with much less controls – i.e. football, soccer, etc.
  • - 1
 Congratulations to neff,but the woman that she beat is going to come and stay stronger then ever in his Career cause I guess she was a little stun by Yolanda and that is gonna be good for that sport ,but yes what a rider go yo go
  • + 1
 You know, I saw the last part and thought, “she’s getting her minerals”! Gosh you’ve got to be pushing it to get mude of your teeth.
  • + 3
 Would love to see Jolanda do an EWS event or two... and Nico as well.
  • + 1
 Curious to hear Cants interview. She is notoriously salty about people racing partial seasons and winning. Look at the year Prevot won world's.
  • + 1
 Dear cyclocrossers, next time when you saw an impeccable lady with a necklace in a race, you'll need to run faster.
  • + 2
 God lord that looks miserable. Beasts!
  • + 3
 Inside line ftw.
  • + 2
 CX is fun to watch. Tight races and lots of crashes and crazy passes.
  • + 1
 That was some scary muddy track. The CX pros' made it look easy though.
  • + 1
 More content like this
  • + 11
 cxmagazine dot com has more content like this
  • - 8
flag Franzzz (Jan 2, 2019 at 16:41) (Below Threshold)
 less comments like yours
  • + 1
 Zero content like this please. Find your silliness elsewhere. Keep Pinkbike Pinkbike
  • + 1
 Inside line!
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