Will There be Carnage on the Boardwalks? - The Albstadt XC World Cup Primer

Apr 30, 2022 at 9:19
by Ed Spratt  
It s a long drag to the first turn in Albstadt meaning the start wasn t quite as fierce as it can be.

After some incredible and historic racing at the opening round of the XC World Cup in Brazil, the second race heads to Albstadt in Germany. The Albstadt course is pretty heavy on the climbs and will provide a very different challenge to the last race. Check out everything you need to know ahead of this week's race below.

The Track


The Albstadt course hasn't changed too much since the massive changes in 2019 that saw the course made quite a bit easier to ensure that it provided safer racing in wetter conditions. Last year there were a few small new additions to the German venue with some parts were widened and a few extra lines. We expect everything to stay mostly the same this year with plenty of climbing and some short fast descents.



Last Time in Albstadt


Last year Albstadt opened the 2021 season with a bang as Loana Lecomte dominated the Elite Women's race from the very start and finished the day almost a minute ahead of the then World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot. Haley Batten had an incredible performance just beating Kate Courtney for a top-three finish.

For the Elite Men, it looked like we were going to see a repeat of Mathieu van der Poel's Short Track performance but he would drop back during the third lap leaving the group of Victor Koretzky, Nino Schurter, Mathias Flückiger and Ondrej Cink to lead for most of the race. On the last lap, an issue with his dropper post would knock Mathias Flückiger out of contention for the top spot. A sprint to the line would allow Victor Koretzky to take his first Elite World Cup win as he beat Nino Schurter in a flat out sprint. Thomas Pidcock started on the 11th row of the grid and managed to fight his way to the front and finish in 5th place in an incredible spectacle.



Previous Winners


Jolanda Neff is always one of the most exciting riders to watch when wheels are pointing down the hill.

Since Albstadt first appeared on the World Cup circuit, we have seen some pretty varied racing but for the Elite Men, the wins have been dominated by Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon. For the Women, only Jolanda Neff has won more than once but with Loana Lecomte showing some good form on the climbs at this year's first-round in Brazil she could match this record after her win last year.


2013:

Elite Men: Dan McConnell
Elite Women: Eva Lechner


2014:

Elite Men: Julien Absalon
Elite Women: Pauline Ferrand Prevot



2015:

Elite Men: Julien Absalon
Elite Women: Jolanda Neff


2016:

Elite Men: Julien Absalon
Elite Women: Annika Langvad



2017:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Yana Belomoina


2018:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Jolanda Neff



2019:

Elite Men: Mathias Flückiger
Elite Women: Kate Courtney


2021:

Elite Men: Victor Koretzky
Elite Women: Loana Lecomte




What Happened at the Last Race?



In the Elite Women's race, it would have been easy to write it off as another dominant performance from the young French rider Loana Lecomte in the early stages but the hard work of Rebecca McConnell and Anne Terpstra flipped things on its head in the later laps. A tough battle the whole race for Rebecca McConnell saw her finally take an Elite World Cup win with a 17-second gap back to Anne Terpstra. Loana Lecomte had to settle for third place today and fourth and fifth went to Austrian riders Laura Stigger and Mona Mitterwallner.

XC Racing doesn't get much better than the Elite Men's event with a tense battle between Nino Schurter, Maxime Marotte and Vlad Dascalu coming down to a very tight sprint finish. The race couldn't have been closer as Nino Schurter beat Maxime Marotte by the smallest of margins to equal Julien Absalon's all-time record of 33 World Cup wins. Vlad Dascalu ended the race in third only three seconds behind Nino.



Current Overall Standings


It s not often that Nino Schurter leads into the final lap and doesn t convert that into a victory.

Following the first round of the season, we currently have Rebecca McConnell and Nino Schurter leading the overall standings with some decent gaps back to second place. But with Albstadt offering a completely different challenge to the technical Brazilian course we could see this list completely shaken up by the end of the weekend.


Elite Women






Elite Men





Weather Forecast

We were treated to some amazing weather and conditions at the opening round in Brazil but it currently looks like we are in for a wet one again at Albstadt. Past rainy Albstadt races have led to some serious carnage on slippery boardwalks so we could be in for some tough racing this weekend.

A well earned victory for Mathias Flueckiger.
Friday, May 6 - Short Track
A thick cloud cover with a couple of showers in the afternoon // 12°C // 80% precipitation // wind 15km/h

Saturday, May 7 - Junior and U23 races
Considerable cloudiness; a morning shower in spots followed by a little rain in the afternoon // 14°C // 61% precipitation // wind 15km/h

Sunday, May 8 - Elite races
Mostly cloudy with a couple of showers in the afternoon // 14°C // 69% precipitation // wind 15km/h

Weather forecast as of Saturday, April 30. Live updates from Accuweather.



Schedule

Laura Stigger rode into eighth today.

All times CEST

Thursday, May 1
• 12:00-13:30 // Official XCO Training - Women Under 23 and Elite
• 13:30-15:00 // Official XCO Training - Men Under 23 and Elite
• 15:00-17:00 // Official XCO Training - All including Juniors

Friday, May 7
• 09:30-11:00 // Official XCO Training - Women Under 23 and Elite
• 11:00-12:30 // Official XCO Training - Men Under 23 and Elite
• 12:30-14:00 // Official XCO Training - Junior Women
• 14:00-15:30 // Official XCO Training - Junior Men
• 15:45-16:30 // Official XCC Training - Women
• 16:30-17:15 // Official XCC Training - Men
• 17:30 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Women
• 18:15 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Men

Saturday, May 8
• 08:00-09:00 // Official XCO Training - Juniors
• 09:30 // XCO Junior Series - Men
• 11:15 // XCO Junior Series - Women, all Juniors awards to follow
• 13:00-14:00 // Official XCO Training - Men Under 23 and Elite
• 14:00-15:00 // Official XCO Training - Women Under 23 and Elite
• 15:30 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Men Under 23
• 17:00 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Women Under 23, all U23 awards to follow

Sunday, May 9
• 09:00-10:30 // Official XCO Training - Men and Women Elite
• 11:20 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Women Elite, followed by awards
• 14:35 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Men Elite, followed by awards

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the UCI/event organizer.



How to Watch

The first XCO of the year is go

Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the Albstadt coverage throughout the week.

All the Elite races can be streamed live on redbull.tv.

Schedule:
(All times in CEST, replay available immediately following the races)

- Albstadt XCC Women and Men: Friday, May 6 - 5:20pm (8:20am PDT, 11:20am EDT, 4:20pm BST, 03:20am +day NZST)
- Albstadt XCO Women: Sunday, May 8 - 11:00am (2:00am PDT, 5:00am EDT, 10:00am BST, 9:00pm NZST)
- Albstadt XCO Men: Sunday, May 8 - 1:15pm (4:15am PDT, 7:15am EDT, 12:15pm BST, 11:15am +day NZST)

Note: These times are subject to change. Please check with your local provider.





53 Comments

  • 69 1
 What we need to know is when are you going to create a fantasy league?
  • 31 1
 PINKBIKE: We removed the XC category from the fantasy drop down menu in hopes you'd forget, because counting your money from our paywall articles is too time consuming
  • 3 2
 @hi-dr-nick: The thing is, it never had a spot on the „fantasy“-dropdown-menu, not even last season Big Grin It just never got added
  • 9 0
 @lejake: only on the mobile version of the website. it was included in the dropdown on the desktop version.

the actual link still works:

www.pinkbike.com/contest/fantasy/xc
  • 1 0
 @lejake: It never did on the mobile version of the page, but it did for the desktop one. Bizarre how that never got fixed.
  • 3 0
 @captainderp @rarerider thanks for the correction, didn‘t know that Smile
  • 7 0
 I don't even care if there are no prizes, I just want to play.... I'm sure most feel the same way.
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike has no comment on this either.
  • 29 0
 Is it really that difficult to open XCLeagueRiders_2021.xml, spend an afternoon updating it, and upload it again for a 2022 fantasy league? There are like what, 7 XC races left of the season, for each of which you'd then need to enter the results manually to get scoring working - what kind of awkward content management system does this website use if that is such a time consuming task that you can't do it this year?
I doubt the majority of players would care if there are no prizes this year, if the lack of a sponsor is what's holding it back.
  • 27 0
 An update on XC fantasy would be great. Just let us know what is going on please.
  • 11 0
 Yeah, needs an explanation. Looks really bad because lots of folks are probably blaming the Beta take over. Which at this point seems logical. I'm sensing there is PB/Beta staff that want to address the XC Fantasy League radar silence issue but are being withheld from discussing it. Just a simple explanation please! (No prizes needed either.)
  • 24 1
 Thanks for this awsome information, i will now update my XC fantasy league!
  • 12 0
 That's why it's called a "fantasy" league.. it exists only in our fantasies!
  • 11 0
 I know there's no XC fantasy league.
  • 11 0
 would be cool to atleast have an explanation for the fantasy league?
  • 2 0
 I think it might be because the points are now split between short track races and full-format XCO races. It's probably too much of a hassle to implement both into the fantasy league.
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: huh? I don’t see why you couldn’t just ignore the XCC like they always did and just use the same ranking system. This is a trivial issue
  • 1 0
 PB cant even get calendar dates right with XC coverage. Probably not a great deal of hope for a fantasy league.
  • 10 0
 At least, this time PB has removed the XC option from the Fantasy menu
  • 2 0
 still available via direct link www.pinkbike.com/contest/fantasy/xc
  • 2 0
 @ilyamaksimov: bookmarked.
  • 6 0
 Now coming from NZ, I do know that we are a little ahead of the rest of the planet due to the world spinning on it's axis and the English thinking they were the center of the world way back when "time" was invented, but I am pretty sure that no matter where you are in the world May 7th is Saturday this year, not Friday, and May 1st was this past Sunday, not today (it's Thursday here in NZ and Australialand, and a few other areas already).

For the fact that so many of the "articles" these days are a landing page for a YouTube video, what are your proof readers up to? Now if you answered, "running the XC Fantasy League", then one might give you a pass, however....
  • 5 0
 Still no Fantasy XC. Like a month ago I commented on an article that Pinkbike doesn’t care about XC and the writers got all defensive.

XC is the most watched World Cup discipline and thousands played in the league. And PB can’t be bothered to even put in the minimal effort to reboot it for 2022.
  • 3 0
 I wish them best of luck should it rain on sunday. The unique surface geology of the Alb, when wet, produces a sticky mud that is as slippery as ice. Not an exaggeration, "hero dirt" doesn't exist here. That, paired with the jagged rocks that loom under the extremely thin top layer of soil can make for absolutely treacherous track conditions. An XC tires' worst nightmare.
  • 1 0
 I'm taking Jolo, followed by any Swiss. Mona as the dark horse - she was dominant last weekend in an hc race
  • 9 4
 No XC fantasy this year because Nobody wanted to pay for the prizing or the dev time to make it happen.
  • 9 0
 Sorry I should have added that This is the answer I was given by a PB employee. Cheers for the down votes though lol
  • 6 0
 That's too bad.

Most of us knew we had no chance at prizes and played anyway. I think very few people would stop playing just because of a lack of prizes. Fantasy sports, whether it's football, basketball, or bike racing, just help to generate higher engagement in the sport. I'm hooked now and will continue watching, but certainly the fantasy XC league played a part in getting me to bring up redbull tv on sunday mornings and watch the races.

I also feel like a lot of the development work should be transferrable from the downhill fantasy league? Seems like all you'd need to do is come up with a different money table for the XC roster and plug it in.

Oh well, maybe next year. Sucks especially how they touted that the outside takeover would give them more resources. I guess these extra resources are not to be allotted to existing programs.
  • 3 0
 They already have the engine built - just needed to do a new data integration for this season. It doesn't make money so it doesn't make sense I suppose. Now they must work to enrich their new stakeholders. I hope all the PB employees got fat bonuses and Levy got a turbo Delica or whatever he's fiending after these days.
  • 2 0
 @brianb11: No kidding, people still would have played if the prize was a helmet. It's fun. They didnt need a massive prize for people to want to play.
  • 5 0
 Nobody cares about the prizes. The dev work is like half an intern’s time. Super disappointed in Pinkbike.
  • 3 0
 Good to know by reading the comments that nobody seems to have wanted an XC fantasy league again. PB listening to their readers.
  • 4 0
 Definitively doesn't look like a fantasy
  • 3 0
 Thanks Ed, really well done!
  • 4 0
 Keep it up Jenn! tup
  • 2 0
 Wow, you have to go all the way to 2017 to see Ninos name at the top.
  • 1 0
 2018
  • 1 0
 Anyone going to be watching live? Happen to be in the area and want to check out the action.
  • 1 0
 And by live I mean in person.
  • 1 1
 I'm so out of the XC loop...would have loved to see a little more breakdown on hardtail vs full squish for the riders...
  • 5 0
 Nearly everyone will be on FS, but we won't know for sure until they line up for the short track.
  • 2 4
 Why?
  • 7 0
 @Mike-Jay: The riders have decided that fullies are faster for modern XC races.
  • 3 0
 @preach: LOL. Yes you are. But that's OK- this is still Pinkbike, right? They now use disc brakes and droppers, too, BTW.
  • 1 0
 @Mike-Jay: Need the information to make a considered choice of riders for XC Fantasy League, of course! Smile
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: And stems have shrunk by 100mm.
  • 2 0
 @mobiller: 20mm stems? In XC? Steady on, pal Razz
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez : Albstadt isn‘t a modern XC race. There probably will be quite a few riders on hardtails.
  • 2 0
 @Fortuneteller:
On instagram, and on their website, Trek have hinted they maybe using the Hardtail Procaliber.....
  • 5 0
 @Starch-Anton: indeed:
ou’ll likely see it in action this weekend, as well as at every other XC World Cup race this year. But in Albstadt, we may see a few riders opt for the Procaliber, a purebred hardtail that will be well-suited for a track that is relatively smooth and a lot climbier compared to the rest of the racing slate.

That extra pedaling efficiency will come in handy on a course that features roughly 900 feet of climbing on each 2.5-mile lap. The race will be defined by two major climbs that hit gradients as high as 22 percent. The corresponding downhills are fast and windy, potentially rewarding supreme bike handlers like Neff.

Weather will be the X factor. If the course stays dry, expect a fast race that favors the snappiest climbers. If the course becomes muddy — and Albstadt is no stranger to rain — riders with pure power and downhill proficiency will benefit, widening the field of contenders. The forecast currently shows moist conditions for Sunday, setting up a potential free-for-all.
  • 2 0
 @handynzl: Older still. Like the days of 1 1/8" quill, 25.4mm bar clamp, 160mm long.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: yeah, I was replying to @preach. As in, what's it matter what they're riding, unless you're going to ride the same course on the same day?
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