Photo Epic: World Cup XCO Finals - Meribel

Aug 25, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
The season comes to a close in Meribel, France. Julien Absalon rode to an overall victory on home soil and, with the help of Lukas Fluckiger, secured the overall for team BMC. Nino Schurter had a commanding ride and took another win, but it was not enough to claim series victory. Jolanda Neff showed just how much of a force she is.

Trek mechanic Matt Opperman fixes a flower to the number plate in memory of Annefluer Kalvenaar who passed away Saturday after falling off a bridge in XC eliminator.
  Trek mechanic, Matt Opperman, fixes a flower to a number plate in memory of Annefleur Kalvenhaar. Kalvenhaar passed away Saturday after falling off a bridge in XC eliminator.

Jolanda Neff focused on the job ahead.
  Jolanda Neff, focused on the job ahead.

Catharine Pendrel warming up before the race. Pendrel took second in the overall.
  Catharine Pendrel warming up before the race. Pendrel took second in the overall.

Batty and Pendrel Wish each other luck before the start.
  Pendrel and Batty wish each other luck before the start.

Annie Last Bec Henderson and Emily Batty getting warmed up.
  Annie Last, Bec Henderson, and Emily Batty getting warmed up.

Irina Kalentieva rides off the front on the start. Kalentieva finished eighth on the day.
  Irina Kalentieva rides off the front on the start. Kalentieva finished eighth on the day.

Dahle Flesjaa Gunn-Rita showed strong late season fitness and finished second. She is looking like a strong contender for a World Championship title in Norway.
  Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa showed strong late season fitness and finished second. She is looking like a major contender for a World Championship title in Norway.

Pauline Prevot rode to third place and helped solidify the overall for the LIV team.
  Pauline Ferrand-Prevot rode to third place and helped solidify the overall for the LIV team.

Emily Batty had a stong race. She finished in sixth place today and was fourth in the overall.
  Emily Batty had a strong race. She finished in sixth place today and was fourth in the overall.

Catharine Pendrel had another stong ride finishing fourth here in Meribel.
  Catharine Pendrel had another good ride finishing fourth here in Meribel.

Annie Last has been on a tear this season. She has been consistantly starting on or near the back row and tearing through the field. Today she started in 48th and finished in 13th.
  Annie Last has been on a tear this season. She has been consistently starting on or near the back row, and advancing through the field. Today she started in 48th and finished in 13th.

Jolanda Neff was out front from early on in lap one and stayed there.
  Jolanda Neff was out front from early on in lap one and stayed there.

Neff had an untouchable lead comimg into this race finished up the season with a brilliant perfomance.
  Neff had an untouchable lead coming into this race and finished up the season with a brilliant performance.

Riders observe a momnet of silence for Annefleur Kalvenaar before the start.
  Riders observe a moment of silence for Annefleur Kalvenhaar before the start.

Simon Burney leaving a message for Jose Antonio Hermida on the start line.
  Simon Burney leaving a message for Jose Antonio Hermida on the start line.

Happy Birthday Hermida.
  Happy Birthday, Hermida.

Nino Schurter - calm before the storm.
  Nino Schurter - calm before the storm.

Absalon was called up to the start line to a roar of cheers.
  Absalon was called up to the start line to a roar of cheers.

Dan McConnell gets away clean on the men s start with Schurter hot on his heels.
  Dan McConnell gets away clean on the men's start with Schurter hot on his heels.

Lukas Fluckiger was back up on the podium with a fouth place finish.
  Lukas Fluckiger was back up on the podium with a fouth place finish.

Nino Scherter took first place with ease but missing Cairns may have cost him the overall.
  Nino Schurter took first place with ease, but missing Cairns may have cost him the overall.

Julien Absalon was strong on the climbs today but Nino pulled away on the descents. A
  Julien Absalon was strong on the climbs today, but Nino pulled away on the descents.

Dan McConnell rode to sixth today just off the podium by five seconds. McConnel took third in the overall.
  Dan McConnell rode to sixth today, just off the podium by five seconds. McConnel took third in the overall.

Manuel Fumic rode stong today finishing third.
  Manuel Fumic rode well today, finishing third.

Fontana collapsed before making it to the finish corral.
  Fontana collapsed before making it to the finish corral.

Today s course took it s toll on Mathias Fluckiger.
  Today's course took it's toll on Mathias Fluckiger.

Nino Schurter is now looking to keeping the rainbow stripes on his back in Norway.
  Nino Schurter is now looking to keep the rainbow stripes on his back in Norway.

Sergio Mantecon feeling the sting of catching back up to 14th after a flat put him back in the field.
  Sergio Mantecon feeling the sting of catching back up to 14th after a flat put him back in the field.


Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and racing community who are grieving the loss of the young and talented Annefluer Kalvenhaar - PB Staff.



66 Comments

  • 104 0
 RIP Annefleur... Too young to go to paradise...
  • 46 1
 That is just terrible! The irony of the downhill racers crashing in their terrain a kilometer away at 50km/h and bouncing back and then a fluke accident on the XC course taking the life of that young girl Annefluer is just too much. That must have been extremely hard on the other riders...
  • 2 0
 Is there a pic of the bridge she feel off?
  • 2 0
 Anyone knows/seen how did she fall down? I've been looking at that bridge for about 2 mins but I can't imagine it. Did she try to jump over it or what?
  • 2 0
 Warner said she jumped it tagged her back wheel and went down head first. Horrible and so tragic.
  • 1 1
 Like a half-frontflip? On an XC 29er? Still can't imagine it o_O
  • 1 0
 You never come up short on a jump and tagged the lip with your rear wheel?
  • 1 1
 No, but I only ride on natural terrain so I don't have any experience with those wooden jumps. In fact the trails around Dublin don't have any jumps, unless you intentionally bunny hop over every root or stone that's in front of you.
  • 36 0
 Rest in Peace, Anne. You will be missed by all who were touched by your extraordinary riding, exceptional personality, and wonderful smile.
  • 25 7
 Shoutout to Manuel Fumic for showing us all you don't need spandex shorts to podium
  • 9 2
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ReDmvjailA - Apparently you don't need spandex to win, but apparently it will actually help!?!
  • 2 0
 Don't think he's trying to show us anything. He had an awesome race. Very strong in the tech and descents!! I was hoping he could hold on to second.
  • 13 3
 Except for the ones under his baggy shorts.
  • 4 1
 Another fool with issues...
  • 8 3
 When absalon is going to realize he may need fullsusp if he wants to have any chances to beat schuster ? Always the same script...
  • 4 1
 Maybe he doesn't like BMC's full suspension design? Idk, I was surprised to see him keep bringing out the HT when Schurter has been winning races with ballsy descents on FS.
  • 7 1
 Also, Nino had never won on a full sus before his brief time out to road race earlier in the season, so winning on a full sus is very new for him, let alone anyone else (barring Kulhavy for a short time). The commentators always joke that his time on the smooth roads has made him soft Smile
  • 3 2
 He realized it... just not early enough for this race. He had his BMC FS01 built just before this race and is going to test it now, so probably we will see it at the Worlds? It seems to be good enough for World Cup Podiums as Lukas Flückiger and Moritz Milatz proved.
Nino won in Hafjell last year on a full suspension bike.
  • 4 2
 Absalon doesn't like the full-suss because he does a lot of climbing out of the saddle, and BMC's suspension design doesn't seem to be so good for that.
  • 2 1
 The truth is rather that he never tried it before that race. With Fox iCD, I do not see much problem for that, anyway he locks his suspension when out of the saddle.
  • 2 0
 Nino be a him on HT swell
  • 6 1
 Annefleur Kalvenhaar* please fix that guys... Annefluer Kalvenaar is definitely not the correct spelling.
  • 5 0
 Fixed. Thanks.
  • 3 0
 Its spelled wrong 3 times, 2 more to go ;-)
  • 14 1
 It took pinkbike days before her passing got a mention, heaven forbid they get her name spelt right as well. So sad to see any ride hurt let alone losing their life. RIP Annefleur.
  • 4 0
 You see, XC is not so bad, can make for some cool photos and photo essays. Matt Delorme just killed it again.
  • 2 0
 My 29er is 3 minutes faster than my 26er no matter how you slice it on the same trails I ride every day. They have the same gearing but just love riding the sixer just as much. Just ride bikes!
  • 1 1
 Yes a 29” Wheel is Faster (Generally for XC) But, so for some people riding is not about being as fast as possible, some people just enjoy the characteristics of a 26” or 650b wheel.
  • 1 0
 Jolanda Neff is a very interesting rider to watch on the technical sections. She seems to be much faster than everyone else on the rough stuff, but just seems to hold her shape. I dunno, looks strange to me, like she's not trying!
  • 4 2
 Absalon and damn near everybody else are on 29" wheels, what bin are you referring to?
'
  • 2 1
 Can I ask why no xc riders run dropper posts? I raced an xc national for the 1st time in 20 years recently and I was the only rider with a dropper. Glad I had it!
  • 4 0
 Weight most likely
  • 3 4
 I would not say necessarily weight because a friend of mine has one and it really does not add that much. The best possible reason I can think of is reliability. Drop post's have a tendency to be unreliable and the last thing a world cup performer needs is to have his seat mal-function in the middle of a race.
  • 4 0
 It adds about 400 grams compared to the lightest carbon fibre seat posts, that's quite a lot for sub 10kg bikes.
  • 2 1
 @Matt76

if you are riding 29'er wheels (most of the field are) the "drop" between saddle and bars is much lower (flatter) than on smaller wheeled bikes, making you less likely to go over the bars even with the saddle at normal pedalling height

check out my Stumpy HT, to see what I am babbling on about Wink

ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb11330482/p4pb11330482.jpg

this means the riding position generally does not require the saddle to be lowered, even for steep technical descents. The only time I have wanted to lower my saddle in the past 2 years is when visiting bmx track!
  • 2 0
 I don't run one for xc racing mainly due to weight, and due to the point that hampsteadbandit made. My 29er xc racer descends well enough with the saddle up, and the geometry actually feels slightly wrong with the saddle down. I would definitely use a dropper for fun riding on a trail bike, as I can't argue that a bike becomes more 'fun' with the saddle down, but for xc racing, where most time is made on the climbs, the extra weight just is not worth it. I also can't think of any british national xc courses from this year that have come close to needing a dropper, but to be honest I haven't been impressed with most of the courses this year compared with last year.
  • 2 0
 Ok I understand now cheers I can see how an extra 400+ grams doesn't make sense on xc. . CreberFilms did you race cannock the other weekend? The only part of that course that I used my dropper was on the rocks and some of the dh,s. Apart from the rocks I thought the course was very boring so I definitely agree with you . Shame.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I raced Cannock, I'v never liked racing there, and although the rock garden was a good feature, it was still a very tame course.
  • 2 0
 Yep totally agree.
  • 1 1
 @Cerberfilms Mhm, bigger and heavier is faster makes total sense...
Where did you learn Physics? In Kindergarten with all the marketing guys from the the big bike companies?
  • 2 0
 I still wan an xc course preview with fast forwarded uphill sections
  • 2 0
 www.pinkbike.com/news/video-meribel-xco-replay-2014.html
Looks damn fastforward to me. They climb like mountain goats. Animals !
  • 1 1
 agrr... somehow this commenting thing and editing does not work the way it did anymore
  • 1 0
 Nice!
  • 2 5
 Did Schurter dump the 29er wheels? His look a lot smaller than the surrounding ones in the picture of the start...
  • 15 0
 he's been riding 650B all season
  • 8 25
flag michibretz (Aug 25, 2014 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 nice, i didn't know that... so can we finally throw 29ers in the bin where they belong?
  • 18 0
 Goddamn where do you get these stupid arguments from?! Why would you want to throw 29ers in the bin? Because somebody wins an XC race on 27,5?
I`ve ridden both wheelsizes and on a hardtail the 29" is hands down better for the regular rider. The positives greatly overscreeds the negatives.
  • 7 0
 Nino has reported that he can not get the fit he wants on a 29er frame so it isn't the wheelsize as such but more the compromises to his riding position that come as a result that has forced the change. You need to look at the bike and rider as a system to getting riding as fast as possible
  • 5 0
 He was still riding 26 inch before 650b got big. 29'ers aren't for everyone. Just goes to show you it's less wheelsize and more what you're comfortable with.
  • 5 0
 Schurter has been rolling on 650b for at least 3 World Cup seasons now.

And I would make a blanket statement that 29" wheels are hands down better for the regular rider.
  • 2 0
 @zephxiii unless you're small, then they can feel weird (according to my gf). But other than that I agree with you. Luckily I think we're heading towards a market where you can have several options for XC and trail hardtails in both 29" and 27.5", which I think is really cool. Having ridden both I can say I'm a big fan of both sizes on hardtails, but greatly prefer smaller wheels on full suspension bikes. I can definitely see how both sizes have their place in top-tier racing.
  • 2 0
 Woops I meant to say wouldn't*
  • 1 0
 Schurter was the guy who propelled 650b forward by working with Scott to develope the 650b Spark and win World Cup races, Worlds, and World Cup overall on it. That started to get people's attention.
  • 2 6
flag michibretz (Aug 25, 2014 at 17:03) (Below Threshold)
 haha, you folks are awsome... so its OK for a Pro like Schurter to not like the big wheels but not for me?

Marketing is telling us we need to buy 29ers because they are faster and on the other hand there is undoubtedly fastest XC racer of the last few years prefering smaller wheels.
For me that just confirms its all just a hype generated because nobody can visually see a better geometry on frame but bigger wheels are a clear novelty and people without any basic understanding for physics fall for it.

And yes i have ridden enough 29ers, hunderdes and hundreds of miles (because as a paying customer you don't really have a choice these days) and every single one of them felt awkward to me.
  • 5 0
 @michibretz If you had "any basic understanding for physics" then you would realise that the majority of you have just said is a load of shit, and is making you look like a bit of a moron.
  • 4 0
 So every single racer in the WC except for Schurter fell for a hyped up "novelty"? Bullshit. The amazing thing about 29ers is that even though 29ers are *heavier* and accelerate *slower* than smaller wheels, the weight weenie racers STILL chose them over the smaller, more flickable wheels. Why? Because the rolling efficiency and traction were that much of an advantage over 26" for XC.

I suppose it's possible now that 27.5" is available racers will all start switching over from 29", but I doubt it. For people tall enough to ride a 29er with a reasonable geometry it will continue to be an advantage.
  • 1 1
 Actually I believe Schurter has an advantage on 27.5, he's actually made that comment himself. Keep in mind that he totally has the option to run the 29er Scales and Sparks, however there is a reason he doesn't and I swear you can see it when you watch him out descend everyone in the tighter more tech situations.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I definitely agree that the 27.5" plays to Nino's strength as a descender. I'm just saying I still don't think 29ers will be disappearing anytime soon for XC racing. They're definitely more than just a gimmick.
  • 1 0
 Put Shurter on a Harley and he still descends faster then most guys :p It's the rider for the most part, not the bike. In my opinion, there is enough room for both siësta!
  • 1 0
 *sizes, damn you autocorrect!
  • 2 0
 Even though it is mostly the rider, the bike still plays a role, albeit more of a minor one, you can't just throw out all differences.
  • 2 0
 @Rien there is definitely room for siestas though. Right after lunch.
  • 1 0
 @both of the guys above me, i agree with you both! Razz
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