Pedalling, Pain and Victory - XCO World Cup 6, Norway

Sep 15, 2013 at 3:06
by Matt Wragg  
While we may spend most of our time here on Pinkbike talking about how good the DH course is in Hafjell, the XC course looks equally good. Sure there were punishing climbs in there, it is XC after all, but on the downs it looked steep, tech and they even threw in a few jumps for good measure. Gone are the days with XC racing as a fireroad slogs, it's proper mountain biking these days.

The Viking spirit is alive and well here in Norge. Gunnrita Fans out in force.
  The Viking spirit is alive and well here in Norge. Gunnrita Fans out in force.

Tanja Zakelj stratching and showing the unwanted souvenir from Pietermaritzburg.
  Tanja Zakelj stretching and showing the unwanted souvenir from Pietermaritzburg.

Let the games begin.
  Let the games begin.

The dust made things horrible for the ladies in the back.
  The dust made things horrible for the ladies in the back.

Julie Bresset in the lead at the beginning of the second lap.
  Julie Bresset in the lead at the beginning of the second lap.

Today s winner Irina Kalentieva. Injuries kept her just out of the top ten in the overall.
  Today's winner Irina Kalentieva. Injuries kept her just out of the top ten in the overall.

Lea Davidson finished the season strong in fourth place.
  Lea Davidson finished the season strong in fourth place.

Unior tools team did pretty good considering that this was their first XCO season.
  A phenomenal outcome for the Unior tools team in their first XCO season.

World Champ Julie Bresset could not hold of the attacks on the course in Hafjell.
  World Champ Julie Bresset could not hold of the attacks on the course in Hafjell.

Julie Bresset did this climb with a flat rear tyre quicker that I would onboard a BH eBike.
  Julie Bresset did this climb with a flat rear tyre quicker that I would onboard an eBike...

The MTB legend Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa made the home crowds proud today.
  The MTB legend Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa made the home crowds proud today.

Embraced by a nation. Tania is Slovenia s first ever World Cup Champion.
Tania Zakelj didn t have the gas for today s win but she had enough in the tank to take the overall.
  Tania Zakelj didn't have the gas for today's win, but she had enough in the tank to take the overall.

Tanja Zakelj s core fans couldn t miss this historic moment.
The Slovenians were out in force to celebrate Tania s victory.
  The Slovenians were out in force to celebrate Tania's victory.

...
  Bloody shins and trophies. The sign of a good day on the bike.

Irena Kalentieva took the win today for Topeak.
  Irena Kalentieva took the win today for Topeak.

Tania Zakelj World Cup overall Champion.
  Tania Zakelj World Cup overall Champion.

...
  Nino Schurter took the holeshot in the mens race.

 nschurter styles for miles
  The jumps on the course here in Hafjell caused some controversy among the riders, but we'd love to see more of this in World Cup XC! Nino Schurter wasn't one of the riders complaining... If you're not sure how impressive this is, just try whipping a XC race bike with a high seatpost.

Kulhavy was relentless on attacking Schurter s wheel.
  Kulhavy was relentless on attacking Schurter's wheel.

Almost on the top of the never ending climb.
The back and forth attacking between Nino and Jaroslav was relentless.
  The back and forth attacking between Nino and Jaroslav was relentless.

Mathias Fluckiger had a strong first part of the race but than he slowly faded out in the second half.
  Mathias Fluckiger was strong in the first part of the race, but than he slowly faded out in the second half.

Tree laps to go
  Three laps to go and nothing to separate Schurter and Kulhavy!

No Thomas Frischknecht isn t doing the math because it has been done already before the final stage here in Norway.
  No, Thomas Frischknecht isn't doing the math, because it has been done already before the final stage here in Norway.

...
  This was one of Marco Fontanas strongest showing all year after what for him has surely been a slightly disappointing season.

Kulhavy riding to a hard fought victory.
  This time Kulhavy just had more in the tank.

An epic rivalry.
  This is what we like to see, you shouldn't underestimate the rivalry between Kuhlavy and Schurter, you have to believe that Kuhlavy out sprinting him for Olympic gold last year hurts, but they still take the time to congratulate each other at the finish line.

New school XCO one-o-one.
  Wheelies and baggy shorts. Just two of the reasons why Marco Fontana is one of our favourite riders on the circuit.

 You see we brought the baggies to the podium
  With Manuel Fumic in third and Fontana in fifth, the Cannondale boys bought those baggies to the podium.

 irideforburry
  A touch of class from Kuhlavy, His South African teammate, Burry Stander, was killed in a training accident earlier this year. #irideforburry

Schurter shelled after it was all said and done. He may not have won the battle but he won the war.
  Schurter exhausted after it was all said and done. He may not have won the battle, but he won the war.

...
  Jaroslav Kulhavy sprays the champagne after a well-deserved win.

Job done
  Nino taking the overall for the World Cup to go with his World win. Total Domination.



49 Comments

  • + 112
 Awesome! SO good to see XC given some light on pinkbike, any chance we could get some bike checks up? I'd love to see more of the bikes.
  • + 19
 Same, loving these articles!
  • + 10
 Zakelj's bike looks so jazzy. That and all the tan walls kicking about. Much approval.
  • + 56
 That whip.
  • + 11
 with classy tan wall tyres.
  • + 10
 The tan-wall tires are Dugast hand-made tubular 650Bs.
  • + 6
 and those baggies!
  • + 1
 gotta take xc into the winter! be sick to see some proto 650b Dugast Diavolos
  • + 33
 Awesome XC article Pinkbike! Fantastic photos!
  • + 16
 Nino you pure bred beast! Thumbs up for Dan too! Great to see more XC on Pinkbike :p
  • + 14
 Do those baggie shorts meet UCI regulations?
  • + 10
 nice article pics! i hope one of these days a bike check would be featured here in pinkbike for one of these WC machines.

where's emily batty, btw?
  • + 8
 Ninoooo...what a race, man! I mean I'm happy for Kulhavy, but Nino's showing was really more impressive...the way he opened up the gaps on the long switchback uphill section (bar the last lap, eh), the way he barged down on the BMX section (oh yeah - literally jumping ahead of Jaro on the 7th lap...had me laughing like mad).
Helluva nice track... that is what mountain biking is supposed to be, really - an interplay of *mountain* bike technique *and* physical prowess.
BTW and IMHO it also showed that there is no clearcut winner between 29 and 650b wheels. It's all in your heart, legs and riding skills.
Full stop.
  • + 5
 I think there never will be a clear winner in wheel sizes unless you take body proportions of the riders into account. Nino is short so with 29" he wouldn't be so nimble. On the other hand, for Kulhavy, with his 2 meters, 29" are the only choice Wink
  • + 8
 That's a great post boys... killer XC material! Never thought I'd say that
  • + 8
 wheres steve smith
  • + 17
 He got lapped.
  • + 4
 Great photo's. The men's race was brutal. Congrats to Nino on an unbelievable year.
  • + 3
 Shame the photos don't show some of the more gnarlier parts of the course, good photos none the less. Keep up the good work PB Smile
  • + 5
 Thanks for XC coverage.
  • + 3
 How do they ride these trails on hard-tails? I complain when I move of my DH bike onto my 7" freeride rig!
  • + 1
 Top 2 was FS-bike riders if I'm not mistaken.
  • + 2
 There are still tons of guys shredding on HT
  • - 1
 I have avoided xc for years as said it was mainly fire road slogs and simple descents that the riders still made look hard but I've seen a few racers on redbull this year and the courses and riders have all improved considerably over the years but is lycra really needed??
  • + 6
 Christ, not again..... so you're saying that all xc/cx/road/ not too long ago dh cyclists have all been wrong in wearing lycra clothes? Fontana never missed an oportunity to declare how important fashion is for him , so the baggies are a choice by taste . I bet those shorts have a second lycra layer , anyway.
  • + 1
 I don't mind and do sometimes wear lycra base layers but its just my personal preference in hating lycra. I did a lot of downhill in the late 90's when everyone was in skin suits and just couldn't didnt think its a good look for a man.
  • + 9
 I don't like Lycra but I did a wet 30k XC race a month ago in baggies and I had no skin left on my knees at the end. I wish I'd worn Lycra.
  • + 9
 Lycra helps a lot with allowing you to move the bike around beneath you. When you are racing with the seat up high and no dropper, the Lycra stays out of the way and doesn't get caught on your seat like the crotch of most shorts. Also, it really helps you keep cool. At the levels of power output these guys are doing, it allows for efficient heat transfer away from your body. You don't have to like the style to recognize the real benefits of that type of uniform. I, for one, have never been into it. I though people looked ridiculous. But, when you are racing, every little advantage it worth considering.
  • + 3
 It's not about the look. If you spend the kind of time in the saddle that these guys do, you learn to appreciate a high end pair of bib shorts. Even the DH guys wear it when they're training on the road and xc trails in the offseason.
  • + 1
 Good article about the new and modern XC racing, so we want to see more XC articles and new bikes and specs from the XC world Big Grin
  • + 1
 it s great to see xc on PB and great to see the courses getting more tech. its not just about who the fittest any more, tech ability is now required.
  • + 2
 more pics from the women's XC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 3
 Horny Bastard
  • + 0
 the only place where lycra look good! on a female body
  • + 2
 Lovin the photos. great post guys.
  • + 2
 baggy shorts! love marco and mr.fumic!
  • + 1
 Why were they complaining about jumps? What's the issue?
  • + 8
 Having to clear jumps to keep up momentum becomes a major challenge when your on the limit. It might have been considered dangerous for more fatigued riders.
  • + 3
 Yep. Try going absolute redline for an hour sometime and then hit a jump on a high post hardtail--it won't end pretty.
  • + 1
 More pics of the jumps!
  • + 1
 Good stuff
  • + 0
 Dear god, the girls podium
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