5 Things We Learned from the Mairiporã XC World Cup 2024

Apr 15, 2024 at 16:28
by Sarah Moore  
The XCC Champ himself taking the sprint finish.
Sam Gaze and Luca Schwarzbauer took first and second in the men's XCC.

1. The top XCC riders didn't fare as well as usual in the XCO.

It's not always the case, but often we'll see riders who perform well in XCC also do well in the longer event the next day. We've even seen riders take both the Short Track and Olympic distance back to back at some rounds in previous years. However, at this first round in Mairiporã, we saw XCC racing the day before XCO racing for the first time instead of on Friday evening.

Interestingly, of the six XCC podium finishers in Mairiporã, only one went on to finish in the top five in the XCO. The winner of the Elite Women's XCC race, Evie Richards, went on to finish ninth in the XCO, while second-place finisher in the XCC Rebecca Henderson, went on to finish 19th. Alessandra Keller finished third in XCC and sixth in XCO. On the men's side, XCC winner Sam Gaze took seventh place in the XCO, while second-place finisher Luca Schwarzbauer took 11th. Martin Vidaurre Kossmann took third in the XCC and fifth in the XCO, making him the only rider to finish on both podiums.

His teammate Victor Koretzky fared better in the XCO however after his fourth-place XCC finish, taking second place behind Christopher Blevins. Jenny Rissveds was the only woman who finished top five in both races, with her fourth place in the XCC and win in the XCO.

Koretzky and Rissveds, who both finished fourth in XCC, could dive straight into their cooldowns, dial in nutrition right after the race, and not worry about making the podium or doing interviews. It's never been easy, but it looks like it just got harder to take the double when the races are back to back. At rounds where both XC and DH take place however, the XCC will be back in its usual Friday time slot.

In the U23 category, the race winners did take the double XCC and XCO wins, but without the U23 XCC races being televised it is a bit of a different scenario. Riley Amos in the U23 category did the back to back with XCC Friday and XCO Saturday, while Kira Böhm had extra time to recover between the two races, taking the U23 XCC win on Friday and the U23 Women's XCO win on Sunday.

Your first elite women podium of the 2024 XCO season.
Your top five women, four of which competed the weekend before as a part of the MTB Festival.

2. Racing the MTB Festival event the weekend prior on the same course really paid off for the women.

It looks like arriving in Brazil a week early and getting used to the time zone and acclimatizing to the heat worked out well for Jenny Rissveds, Savilia Blunk, Haley Batten and Chiara Teocchi. While the finishing order was slightly different at the World Cup a week after the MTB Festival race the weekend prior on the same course, the top four women in the first World Cup of the season also took part in the MTB Festival race.

In fact, out of the top ten women, an impressive seven took part in the race. Only Jolanda Neff finished on the podium in fifth without having done the race the weekend prior.

In the men's race, it was a different scenario, with only Filippo Colombo taking second in the MTB Festival race and also finishing on the men's World Cup podium in third.

Christopher Blevins coming across the line for his first win since 2021.
Christopher Blevins helping move the United States up in the nation rankings with his win in hopes that two Americans will get to go to Paris.

3. Team USA had more success than ever before.

When you think of powerhouse mountain bike nations in the cross-country discipline, it's likely Switzerland and France that you're thinking of. These two countires are ranked one and two in the Nation Standings for both men and women thanks to the likes of cycling powerhouses like Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Jolanda Neff, Loana Lecomte, Alessandra Keller, Nino Schurter, Mathias Flückiger, Victor Koretzky, and Jordan Sarrou. At the last Olympics, Switzerland secured four of the six medals available in cross-country mountain biking.

When Kate Courtney won the overall title in 2019, she was the first American to win that title in 17 years. When she won the World Championships in 2018, it was the first time an American had won the title since Alison Dunlap won 17 years before in 2001. Courtney herself may not have stood on the podium herself recently, but just the fact that she took those titles five and six years ago seems to have lifted an entire generation of riders who now have the confidence to believe that they too can win. There also seems to be more national-level racing in the United States, with several new American race series popping up this year (check out the 2024 Guide to US Racing).

The World Cup in Mairiporã saw the strongest finishes by Americans in over two decades. In the Elite Men's Race, Christopher Blevins had incredible power on the last lap, coming from over a 30 second deficit earlier in the race. In the Elite Women's race, we saw four women in the top ten with Savilia Blunk (2nd), Haley Batten (3rd), Kelsey Urban (8th), and Kate Courtney (10th). Gwendalyn Gibson crashed out of the race, but finished 15th in XCC and was fighting through the field at the time and its anyone's guess as to where she would have finished. In the U23 races, Riley Amos won both XCC and XCO, with Bjorn Riley finishing close behind with a fourth in XCC and second in XCO. Madigan Munro took second in Short Track and fourth in XCO while Sofia Waite took third in the XCC and 10th in the longer distance.

Alessandra Keller absolutely empty.
Alessandra Keller will be keen to qualify for Switzerland after missing out on the action in Tokyo.

4. The battle for two Olympic spots is on.

A big change from the last time the Olympics took place in Tokyo will be that there are a maximum of two Olympic spots per country. You can read all about the qualifying process here, but the most important thing to know is that National Olympic Committees ranked one to eight will qualify two athletes, with those ranked nine to 19 qualifying one athlete.

Currently, the countries highest in the MTB Olympic Qualification Women's Ranking that will be able to send two racers in the women's field are Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Denmark and Great Britain. In the MTB Olympic Qualification Men's Ranking, it's Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States that are currently ranked one through eight and would receive two spots each.

The US is sitting in the coveted 8th place in the men's rankings, having just moved up two spots after the incredible racing this past weekend from Christopher Blevins, Riley Amos and Bjorn Riley, but the qualification period goes until after Nove Mesto takes place at the end of May, and so every UCI point counts until then for the USA to be able to send two riders to the Olympics. In fact, at the US Cup earlier this year, Blevins and Amos worked together to secure maximum points at the race, with Amos even taking part in both the U23 and Elite races to get as many points as possible. With 250 points for an Elite win and 125 for a U23 win, there's still lots of room for movement in the standings.

Chiara Teocchi leading out one of the earlier laps. She would keep the pedal floored for her first elite podium.
Chiara Teocchi keeping her Olympic dream alive with her first-ever World Cup podium at round one.

5. For some countries, the battle to earn an Olympic spot is much harder.

Usually, the World Cup overall and the World Championships are the most important races in a cross-country athletes' calendar. This year however, everything is different. Athletes that have no yet qualified for the Olympics will need to peak for these first three World Cup races to try and secure their spot, before trying to peak again in late July for the mountain bike race in Paris.

For athletes that have already qualified, such as Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Puck Pieterse, training plans can already be built around Paris 2024. If the first World Cup round had been in Europe, we would likely have seen Ferrand Prevot in contention since she's been racing domestically and racked up six wins already this season, but with the extra travel to Brazil, she opted to skip the first two rounds. It's understandable when your goal is singular, especially since Ferrand Prevot got sick last time the season kicked off in Brazil.

While the fight to move your country up in the standings might be a team effort, at the end of the day, there are only two spots as a maximum per nation and so it's also an individual battle against your compatriots to secure one of those two spots. You can tell that some racers have doubled down on their efforts ahead of the 2024 season with that in mind. In the men's race, four French riders in the top four with Victor Koretzky (2nd), Jordan Sarrou (4th), Thomas Griot (9th) and Joshua Dubau (12th) makes that a very tight race for two spots. The Swiss men are also going to have to work hard for the two Olympics spots. Before the race this weekend, I would have said that Nino Schurter and Mathias Flückiger were definitely the top two Swiss riders, but Filippo Colombo (2nd with number plate 34) and Lars Forster (18th) were actually the top two male Swiss riders in Sunday's XCO race.

Fluckiger said that he has had a rocky preparation with sickness leading up to these races and Nino said before the race that he was battling an eye infection. There's no doubt that the pressure is higher for riders from these nations than for the likes of Vlad Dascalu (Romania), Martin Vidaurre (Chile), Alan Hatherly (South Africa), Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) or Rebecca Henderson (Australia) who are the top-ranked riders from their nation and also the only riders that are competitive from those countries.

For the women, Jolanda Neff and Alessandra Keller took 5th and 6th and are currently leading the Swiss standings, but the Olympic dream is far from over for Sina Frei and Steffi Haberlin who took 11th and 12th. Haberlin was ranked 37th coming into the race but was ahead of Neff for several laps. Likewise for the Americans, it's exciting to see a best-ever result from Kelsey Urban in 8th with a ranking before the race of 44th, but disappointing to know that she's currently the third-fastest American behind Savilia Blunk and Haley Batten and so an Olympic spot is no guarantee. The fight for who will be joining Puck Pieterse from the Netherlands between Anne Tauber and Anne Terpstra will also be a hotly contested battle.

Another surprise was Martina Berta, the top-ranked Italian last year after finishing 6th in the World Cup standings, was actually the third Italian rider in the race behind Chiara Teocchi (4th with number plate 27) and Greta Seiwald (13th with number plate 31). While it was a big surprise to see lackluster results from Loana Lecomte with a 21st in the XCO, she was still the top French in the Elite Women's race.

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that there's a lot of fine print involved with which athletes get selected for each National Olympic Committee to keep things fair, but also give each nation the best chance of medalling at the Games. To give you an idea of how detailed the selection process is, you can find the USA Cycling Athlete Selection Procedures for the 2024 Olympic Games here

What a day for the Specialized boys.

Other facts:
- Reigning Olympic champion Tom Pidcock missed out on the opening round of the World Cup but won the Amstel Gold road race, a hotly contested Spring Classics road race, in a sprint finish after 5:58:17 of racing over 253.6km.
- Gwendalyn Gibson debuted her Monster partnership at this race. Unfortunately she crashed out of the race and broke her collarbone. She's had surgery in Brazil and is hoping to be back in time for the third round of the World Cup in the Czech Republic.
- Despite tensions running high immediately after the men's XCC between Martin Vidaurre Kossman and Victor Koretzky after some close bar-to-bar racing, Specialized dominated the team standings with Christopher Blevins, Victor Koretzky, Haley Batten, and Martin Vidaurre Kossman all finishing on the podium at least once.
- Mona Mitterwallner did not attend the first World Cup due to illness. She wrote on her Instagram page that "a few days before the [Cape] Epic I felt getting a flu and hoped the energy would come back in time. Unfortunately the virus got worse each day and honestly only my head brought me through this race. My body overreacted in different ways and so Brasil just came to soon for me this year."

Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,400 articles

  • 38 1
 Great article!
  • 6 0
 Quality stats and insights. Thank you @sarahmoore!!
  • 12 0
 Glad you liked it! It's an Olympic year - what better time to go full XC nerd!
  • 9 0
 Why, in spite of paying more than ever to see these races, in both the men’s and the women’s race did we get no video coverage of the decisive winning break away sprints? Do we not deserve better than to completely fail to cover the most important part of both races? What’s up with that?
  • 1 0
 frustrating in places. but I think the video is done by a third party. was the same in the redbull days, commentators are just talking over the same video feed we see. that said, I prefered GCN last year.
  • 13 1
 Don’t forget Sofia Waite with 3rd place in the U23 XCC
  • 11 0
 Good shout! I’ve added that in.
  • 21 0
 “SOFIA WAIT” is what the people in 2nd and 3rd say behind her
  • 7 0
 Damn, if it wasn't already hard enough to race the olympics, riders looking to qualify will have to perform in the first World cup races, then try to perform at the olympics. It's really hard to peak two times during the season and makes it unfair with those already qualified.
  • 1 1
 Its not unfair, those already qualified put the work in last year - an option that was open to everyone
  • 1 0
 Not unfair. In terms of what riders are chasing performances, that's down to national federations and what they set their own criteria as.

Those riders who have "already qualified" haven'r actually qualified officially. Rather, they have met their own federations criteria to take a spot, assuming the nation gets one. Those federations don't officially have spots to fill as yet (the qualifying period ends after Nove Mesto World Cup).... but they are ones whose ranking means they cab fairly safely assume they'll have spots
  • 8 0
 Grande Vidaurre! viva Chile CTM!!!
  • 1 0
 el mejor pais de chile
  • 8 1
 One thing I learned that there’s still no good, affordable way to watch World Cup races anymore.
  • 3 0
 You have to piece together all of the insta clips and the race highlights until you have a complete race, well worth saving the money
  • 8 0
 Tiz cycling
  • 18 0
 @Grady-Harris: "Rissveds is attacking Batten on this climb at the half way point of the final lap, can she make it stick?"
*Camera cuts to Teocchi, comfortably in 4th*
"I guess we'll have to wait and see to find out"

Even Ric was pissed off with the footage
  • 3 0
 We need Lantern Rouge
  • 1 0
 @ROOTminus1: There was a section of track that was too narrow and jungle lined for cameras unfortunately. Cant have it all I guess unless they slash and burn a bit more rainforest.
  • 6 0
 What I learned is that Ric is still announcing the World Cups.
  • 1 0
 Josh showed up on Paris Roubaix coverage.
  • 6 0
 @gcrider: Bryceland or Bender?
  • 3 0
 The Ambient sound option is the most missed feature from GCN+
  • 1 0
 @vinay: lol. Carlson. To be fair he was quite good( esp when he is not mr shoutey. )
  • 1 0
 @gcrider: Bummer. Bryceland would have made for a beautiful commentator alongside Rob Warner.
  • 5 0
 Tensions running high?
  • 3 0
 I had the same response. Don't leave us hanging here when there is drama to stir us up!
  • 5 1
 Martin Vidaurre Kossman appeared to be upset at Victor Korezky at the finish line about the Frenchman's last lap attempt to pass him.
  • 4 0
 @sarahmoore: it was the other way around. Korezky got upset because Vidaurre passed him on the last lap taking an inside line. Let him cry.... Martin Vidaurre is there to win, no matter if its his team mate or another team rider, he will pass and thats the winning mentality. What was he expecting "your majesty, can I please pass you?" this is not a road race. You should learn to accept a loss and congratulate your teammate

Bien Martin weon que la chupen estos culiaos que se creen, toma lo que es tuyo con actitud nomás como lo haces
  • 2 1
 @maxnomas: Your answer is clearly biased as you are chilean but one thing you don't mention is both riders are teammates and you usually don't expect the same level of aggressivity / risk taking between teammate, especially if the race is a minor qualifier and not the bigger main event. You don't want to break your collarbone in a silly way to gain one place in an XCC race when most of the points are earned in the XCO race one day later.
  • 2 0
 Yes you have a point, but still, I think everybody would take the inside line if theres a chance to earn a spot in the worlds top level racing. Nobody fell, nobody crashed, I think the emotions took a big part in Krezkys reaction. Imagine the youngest guy in the team beats you..
  • 1 0
 @maxnomas: I'll have to go rewatch the end of the men's race it sounds like!
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: he passed him just before the last corner taking the inside line and K took the outside
  • 2 0
 @opignonlibre: watch this from 5:33 forward. www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4qWXQGSlE8

You can clearly see him pass at 5:40ish .... absolutely not a dangerous move, K lost the race by taking the outside line instead of the inside line like the top 3 riders took
  • 2 0
 I just learned a lot, thank you!
  • 3 0
 And Kelsey Urban in 8th
  • 2 0
 USA up to 6th in the rankings after this weekend.
  • 1 0
 Amazing, I guess the standings hadn't yet been updated when I wrote this.
  • 1 0
 Wait, Mona got 2nd in the Cape Epic while having a stomach virus? I am confused and impressed.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Copyright © 2000 - 2024. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.036963
Mobile Version of Website