After the dust and drama had settled on yesterday’s red hot downhill action it was the turn for the cross-country riders to take centre stage. Racers would have been relieved to discover a bluebird day waiting for them when they drew the curtains, perfect conditions for one and a half hours of flat out toe to toe competition.
The U23 women found a greasy track waiting for them with the sun late to break over the mountains to burn the last of the moisture from the surface. An intriguing battle developed between the leading three in the championship, but when it all shook out they found themselves in reverse order to their current rankings. Initially, Evie Richards and Kate Courtney made a two rider breakaway out front swapping positions but crucially with Sina Frei sitting back and keeping a careful watch on the leading pair before making her move. When the timing beam was broken the gap was more than a minute between Frei and Courtney with Richards a further forty odd seconds back.
The men’s race was in no way less thrilling than its predecessor. Two rather obvious points of conversation were the fall of series leader Petter Fagerhaug who dropped down into a lowly 54th place, and in stark contrast the mighty rise of Simon Andreassen who found his feet after struggling with back problems to smash the ball out the park and clinch a fantastic win. He didn’t have it his own way however with Alan Hatherly pushing him hard to the line as a trio of riders fought over third behind them, a sprint finish seeing Martins Blums taking the spot with Nadir Colledani and Vlad Dascalu in behind - all great performances.