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4 Things We Learned From the Petrópolis XC World Cup 2022

Apr 12, 2022 at 3:41
by Ed Spratt  
Thomas Litcher and Christopher Blevins lead the charge into the first turn.

The World Cup's return to Brazil after 17 years away marked a historical weekend of racing alongside some incredible performances across all categories. Here are four things we learned from the sidelines.



Nino Schurter Could Beat Julien Absalon's All-Time Wins Record

The question of whether Nino Schurter could match Julien Absalon's all-time record has been on many people's minds with the Swiss rider having a drought in World Cup wins since Les Gets in 2019. Last year, we did see a moment of brilliance with Nino once again taking his ninth World Champs title, but there were no World Cup wins.

But the racing in Brazil marked a truly historic moment as Nino Schurter bested Maxime Marotte to the line and took an emotional 33rd World Cup win. So emotional that you wonder whether Schurter himself thought that beating the record wasn't to be.
N33no cemented himself into mtb history.

With his win in Brazil, Nino now matches Julien's record, but with such a strong performance at this year's opening round, it now seems possible that we could see the Swiss rider beat actually beat Absalon's record. Looking at other stats, both Nino and Julien are also matched on World Cup overall wins with seven each although Nino does have four more World Champs wins with nine to his name.

When it comes to Olympic gold medals, Julien does just win with two compared to Nino's one, although Nino has more medals total with a silver and a bronze in addition to his gold. However, Schurter announced earlier this year that he has signed with Scott-SRAM MTB Racing for a further two years, right up to the Paris 2024 Olympics. He won't be aiming for anything less than gold this time around, although he will be 38 years old.





The McConnells are the only Australians to win XCO World Cup in the past two decades

Another equally big moment in Brazil was Rebecca McConnell finally taking a well overdue Elite World Cup win. Rebecca has been at the sharp end of World Cup racing for years, but has always just missed out on that elusive win. Her incredible performance in Brazil follows 16 Australian national champs titles and nine consecutive Elite wins as well as numerous World Cup medals and two World Championships bronze medals. After disappointment at the last Olympics, it will be a massive confidence boost for the Australian for the rest of the season.

Rebecca's win in Brazil also marks the first time an Australian woman has won an Elite World Cup in over two decades and it is only the second time an Australian woman has ever won an XCO World Cup, the first being Mary Grigson 22 years ago.
She s come close a few times but today belonged to Rebecca McConnell.

The last Australian to win an XCO World Cup was Rebecca's husband Dan McConnell back in 2013. With her win in the XCO and her fourth place in the XCC, McConnell is now the series leader heading into the second World Cup in Albstadt, Germany May 6-8. Fun fact: this was the venue where Dan McConnell won in 2013.





The Brazilian Crowd Might Be The Wildest Ever

Back at the first round of the DH World Cup in Lourdes we thought that the French fans were incredible, but we think that the past race in Brazil could have topped it. Over 42,000 tickets were sold for the event in addition to all those watching the live stream and there were fans packed alongside the course at every opportunity. It may have been 17 years since the last World Cup in Brazil, but that's not for a lack of fan base in the country. With such great fans, we definitely want to see racing return to the country and maybe some other South American countries need to be added in the future.
Vlad Dascalu fighting back from a mechanical in the short track to lead the main race. He lost out in the sprint to Schurter and Marotte and would end up third.





Loana Lecomte Might Have to Change Tactics for 2022

It's no doubt in anyone's mind that Loana Lecomte was truly dominant in 2021, and all races she won involved the young rider firing off at the start of the race and building huge leads as the laps went on. As racing began for the Elite Women in Brazil, it looked like business as usual for Loana Lecomte with a 14-second gap being built on just the shortened first lap. At the end of lap three, Loana had built her lead to a sizeable 27 seconds, but in just a single lap this would be completely switched with both Rebecca McConnell and Anne Terpstra pulling all of this time back to join the front of the race. It seems that the Elite Women's field does now have an answer to the tactic that was pretty much unstoppable in 2021 and Loana may need to play a more tactical race. Or perhaps, Loana's collarbone injury from late January is still affecting her and once she's back to full form, she'll be able to win from the front again.
Loana Lecomte led the race early on before being passed by McConnell and Terpstra.




More things:
• The top two men in Sunday's XCO, Nino Schurter and Maxime Marotte, are over a decade older than bronze medallist Vlad Dascalu.
• Likewise, in the women's race, top-ranked Rebecca McConnell and Anne Terpstra are 8 years older than bronze medallist Loana Lecomte, 9 years older than fourth-placed Laura Stigger, and 11 years older than Mona Mitterwallner, who placed fifth in her first-ever Elite World Cup.
• Many riders battled illness at an inopportune time. The Trek Factory Racing squad was nearly decimated, with pre-race favourite Jolanda Neff missing both the Short Track and the XCO. Anton Cooper missed the Short Track, but managed an impressive 16th in the XCO two days later, undoubtedly not at full strength. Evie Richards finished third in Friday's Short Track despite a stomach bug, but had to pull out of the XCO. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot won the Short Track but also had to pull out of Sunday's race due to illness.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
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66 Comments
  • 146 0
 No. 5: PBers secretly wish they could ride the Petropolis XC track
  • 32 1
 No secret here. Looked fun!
  • 20 2
 No secret-that track looks awesome. Hope to see more technical tracks like this!!!
  • 33 3
 @wyorider: they’re almost all technical like this, these days - have been for a while now
  • 17 0
 @id-w: true, although this one had really great flow sections.
The high-speed descent before the finish is genius.
  • 2 0
 @Willikers: definitely - it was a cool course
  • 1 0
 could = were able to
  • 1 0
 Yeah, but only on the "enduro" bike as not got the skills to do it on a XC bike........
  • 116 0
 No. 5: It is in fact possible for a "world" cup to be outside of europe and north america
  • 65 1
 No. 5: A vast majority of Pinkbikers still wonders whether there will be some kind of Fantasy XC.
  • 4 3
 only for the paywallers
  • 3 0
 And will carry the disappointment of missing the first round(s) the rest of the season.
Big miss on such a good tool to 'drive engagement'.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: Considering the paywallers can't even comment on posts, I'm not holding my breath.
  • 1 0
 To me the strange thing is PB has not even said anything about it!?!?
  • 31 0
 As a brasilian working and living for bikes, it was really emotional to be one of those fans packed alongside the course! I hope this WC proves how big MTB really is in Brazil. We have a huge number of riders and fans, not to talk about the potencial as a destination. ps. that track made any enduro rider want to hop on a bike and give it a lap
  • 29 0
 Bec's husband Dan has been at all 48 of her world cups until this one that he had to miss... and she wins. Awkward!
  • 25 0
 Guess he needs to quit showing up then. Apparently he’s bad luck.
  • 24 4
 Nr.5 : don‘t drink jungle water
  • 8 0
 Drink jungle juice instead!
  • 14 2
 Things I learned:
UCI rankings out.. McConnell is no. 1. She is strong tactically from racing road a lot, coming into play on Sunday.

Loana doesn't need to change a thing. She may just be easing into the season to be stronger for the latter part, where she burned out last year. If you are a strong third there's absolutely nothing you need to do differently, just mild fine-tuning.

The Maxime legend continues to grow.

American XC fans generally only care about one rider.

Mona Mitterwallner is a problem. She was unhappy with the way she raced!

Anne Terpstra has the best flow and may have reached a higher level.

Bohe is a beast.

Stigger got steez.

Albstadt is practically next century.
  • 2 0
 Yes to all of this!
  • 1 2
 Another thing - why does pinkbike shade all of the American riders except for one - is it because that one is paid to supply content for you?

By inference the casual observer might think an aspiring world cup xc rider must have a casual operating agreement with pink bike in order to raise that rider's profile.

Blevins and Gibson were amazing this weekend - I'm not quite sure what race you guys are looking at.

Whether by intent or negligence, I see you pink bike.
  • 9 0
 5. I guess we're not getting FANTASY XC?

So disappointing going to the fantasy page every day for the last few weeks expecting something other than "coming soon".
  • 1 0
 Cmon PB. Surely you see the opportunity there to turn this to your advantage
  • 8 0
 I can't believe it's been so long since Nino won! I also can't believe Pinkbike would say 2022 XC Fantasy coming soon on the landing page but not actually bring it back. My mind has been blown multiple times.
  • 13 3
 Still waiting for an xco in Utah. We have some awesome spots for it here.
  • 2 17
flag OnTheRivet (Apr 12, 2022 at 11:00) (Below Threshold)
 Doubt that would happen, most of the venues would be at an altitude only a few people were accustomed to and thus would require people arrive weeks early to acclimate and have any chance.
  • 7 0
 @OnTheRivet: idk, they've raced Vallnord before which is something like 6500ft I think, about the same as Park City. XCO in the Moab area would be epic too, but there's nowhere with the right infrastructure to support that.

It seems hard to get US ski/bike resorts interested (Windham just decided to stop hosting after 2 seemingly successful years), and the western US is pretty out of the way compared to flying into NYC or DC. I would definitely make the road trip if it ever happened but I'm not holding my breath.
  • 1 0
 @OnTheRivet: snowbasin sits at ~6300 ft, which is lower than the Vallnord course. Soldier hollow, which is around Midway, sits about 500 ft lower than that, so it's definitely doable.
  • 2 0
 @OnTheRivet: acclimatise / a-cclim-a-tise
  • 2 0
 Honestly Vegas or Phoenix wouldn’t be bad spots for early season events.

I think part of the reason there isn’t much interest in hosting big events like this is the lack of spectators. It’s just not a money maker most venues are ready to commit to with UCI’s requirements.

That being said I’m surprised Whistler hasn’t proposed something because it’s one of the few places with a spectator population.
  • 3 0
 @bkm303: I mean Park City hosted the bulk of the Winter Olympics so I don’t think infrastructure is a problem, not to mention it’s 30 mins from an international airport, with plenty of worthy riding to host a World Cup event on. But with that said, as much as I’d love to see a WC race here and as much sense as it might make, I’m not holding my breath for it to happen. Vail seem pretty reluctant to allow anything to happen in their resorts that people might actually enjoy.
  • 2 0
 @Hayek: yeah I meant Moab doesn't have the infrastructure. Obviously anywhere with a ski resort can hold a WC event. Apparently Snowshoe is an Alterra resort, so maybe Deer Valley or Solitude could try to host? Idk
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: oh right. Moab would be absolutely unlike anything on the WC schedule. It would be amazing, but yeah, no population center, no infrastructure. DV would be a cool race but anywhere in the Rockies would be an almost indistinguishable substitute.
  • 1 0
 @Muzled: feel better now?
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: There's nothing close to Snowshoe and definitely less infrastructure for visitors than Moab has. Moab is 4 hours from SLC which is a big international airport (Delta is growing it too). I do think Park City is a prime location for a World Cup. MTB is huge and only growing.
  • 1 0
 Part of the problem is that WCXC is primarily Euro oriented. It's all about ease of access and limited travel times for the Euro riders. Many American, Canadian and Australian riders spend the entire season in Europe. Until more Asians and Western teams start filling the grid, it'll be hard to do west coast USA events.
  • 4 0
 @PHeller: Whistler doesn't need to host a WC to boost park attendance which is the main reason that many new venues spend the cash to bring UCI in. Add in that Canada is relatively small from a population perspective so any boost to advertisers isn't that significant. Personally I think it would be awesome to see some races their, but UCI is probably also not super stoked on the Crankworks events competing as well.

It will be interesting to see what happens regarding a US race in the future. F1 has made a HUGE push into the US over the last few years. For their new Vegas race F1 decided to take on the burden of organizing it because of the importance of the US in their growth plans going forward. Not sure if UCI would be willing to take that risk, but they need to. It is a huge miss not to have multiple WC events (both XC and DH) in the US considering it is the largest high end bike/consumer market by far. Very short sighted of them in terms of driving larger non bike sponsor interest in events by NOT hosting US races.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: Agree; if you're going to have a race in the US, you may as well have a few, plus Monte St Anne in Canada. Make the trip to the US worthwhile......
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: Totally agree. Would be cool if each year something like 1/3 of the schedule was devoted to a continent other than Europe. Like 3 North American venues in 2023, then 3 Aus/NZ venues in 2024, 3 African venues in 2025, etc. The non-NA years would probably be hard to justify from a business standpoint though, and even within the other continents the venues are likely so much further apart than in Europe.
  • 7 0
 that XC track was awesome
  • 7 0
 It was good, tight racing all weekend. Hope XC is this exciting all year.
  • 3 0
 Just a kick ass race weekend. One of the best in a long time. Thought I was going to fast forward the women’s race with Loana doing her “thing”, but damn the girls brought it back. Great racing! The men were on from the get go! Great to see Nino take it at the line! Awesome!
  • 7 0
 Get well TREK team.
  • 5 0
 Please x-ray Nino! I want to make sure he's not a cyborg!
Wink
  • 12 0
 His balls wont fit in the machine
  • 1 0
 Nino is in good form, and may well win again soon. Last year he was 2nd in Albstadt, behind Koreztky, then 4th in Nove Mesto - and two of those riders ahead won't be there.

The newcomers rode well; Bohe was ahead of Mitterwallner for most of the race, which was not the case last year in U23 races. Mona made a slow start, and slowly came back - I expect her to improve, and be challenging for wins.

Martin Vidaurre looks ready for the Elites - but probably wants another year of experience. And Line won first time out in the U23; will be interesting to see some of her rivals from the CX scene take her on.
  • 1 0
 It would also be much more interesting if the "B" lines on courses were actually longer than the more techy "A" line. When an easier alternate route for a feature doesn't carry a time penalty, like the the B line around the rocks here, then there's no incentive to risk the A line.
  • 2 0
 The b line turned out to be the preferred line. Nino used it to rest, not have traffic in front of him and did not risk a puncture I did not notice anyone gain an advantage going into the Rock garden first and the men's race but and the women's Anne Terpstra found the magic high line and clearly entered and exited with more speed than anyone else. You would think that Avancini would know the fast line but I didn't see him ride it. I'd like to see the rock garden much wider with multiple lines and a b line that sends you back to the starting line. But that's just me.
  • 1 0
 I may be off base, but I think part of the issue with an American race venue is that, “We” always want it to make millions right off the bat.
We don’t allow races to grow. We hardly have a road scene as far as races go, since promoters figured out a parking lot crit was easier to implement.

I liked how it appeared this race was setup in a small valley. It didn’t appear to take up much room and allowed spectators to move about easily between sections.

Hump
  • 4 0
 Would be nice if there was a world cup race in Mammoth CA
  • 4 0
 Nr 5... Martin Vidaurre has won the past 5 UCI Worldcups he has raced...
  • 2 1
 Do I understand correctly that the fantasy league will start from Albstadt? if that's the case then that's good because the petropolis race was insane
  • 1 0
 "Fun fact (check): this was the venue where Dan McConnell won in 2013."
Dan won the first round in 2013 but it was in Albstadt, Germany.
  • 3 0
 lotta riders with Montezuma's Revenge.......
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