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Sunday 04/07: the XCO finals in daunting conditions

Here are the highlights of this 3rd day of competition of the UCI Mercedes-Benz MTB World Cup 2021 in Les Gets.

Loana Lecomte at the top of her game at home

After 1h27 of frantic racing against rain and mud, the young prodigy from Haut-Savoie Loana Lecomte (team Massi) won on home soil and took her 5th consecutive race this season. 

It’s quite exceptional to win here today. And then yesterday on the Downhill with the victory of Thibaut Daprela and Myriam Nicole who was 2nd… It’s a very nice weekend for France and for the public I think“.  

Concentrated from start to finish, Loana delivered an intelligent, precise and constant performance at an average speed of nearly 14km/h. A very promising victory just before the Tokyo Olympics.

In 2nd place, 50 seconds behind, was Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds, the reigning Olympic champion, who fought hard in this physically and technically demanding round. Third place went to England’s Evie Richards, after a hard-fought battle with Australia’s McConnell. Evie gave a lot of energy and power in the last 2 laps and made a great comeback from 7th place. 

Cross-country world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévost, who was at the front of the pack thanks to her good performance in the short-track (XCC) on Friday, finished 4th in the XCO World Cup in Les Gets, followed by Rebecca McConnell. 

In this round of XCO, the women had 6 loops to complete to make the difference, each loop being 3.45km and 140D+. From the start, the women set a strong pace on the first climb. At the end of the first lap, the two French riders Loana Lecomte and Pauline Ferrand-Prévost were in the lead. They were soon joined by the Swedish and English riders who fought hard until the finish!

–> Download the Women Elite results
–> Download the Women U23 results

Mathias Flueckiger wins, Jordan Sarrou on 3rd place

Mathias Flueckiger took the first place in this XCO World Cup round in Les Gets, following his victory in Leogang. Czech rider Ondrej Cink and reigning World Champion Jordan Sarrou completed the podium after a chaotic and heroic race in the mud. 

Right from the start, Mathias Flueckiger broke away in the lead and managed to keep his lead over his competitors, who were neck and neck behind. The Swiss athlete led his race in a masterly way, illustrating once again his talent and experience in these very difficult conditions. 

There were some great duels in the TOP 5, which kept the spectators on their toes throughout the race. At the halfway point, the gaps between the riders are getting smaller and smaller, many of them being wheel to wheel with their opponents. The changes at the top of the provisional classification follow one another and the twists and turns go on. The Czech rider Ondrej Cink launches the offensive and moves up to 2nd place. A fierce duel between Jordan Sarrou and Alan Hatherly for the 3rd step of the podium. On the last lap, the Frenchman put a powerfull accelerator and dropped Alan Hatherly on the last climb. The Specialized rider was in great shape and showed his ease and control throughout the race. This gave him a lot of confidence before the Olympic Games in Tokyo (July 26th). 

It was really nice to see the French public again. In the forest up there, they gave me a lot of energy and pushed me hard. In the last lap, on the last hill, I put everything into it and it paid off ! “Jordan Sarrou was delighted. 

Among the other French riders, Antoine Philipp took 12th place followed by Thomas Griot. Stéphane Tempier and Maxime Marotte are respectively 18th and 20th.

–> Download the Men Elite results
–> Download the Men U23 results

An epic race in daunting conditions

The rain returned mid-morning, which inevitably changed the game in these XCO cross-country finals. The bad weather conditions of the weekend changed the face of the track, forcing the riders to adapt their trajectories and strategies on a terrain that was much more slippery and technical than during Friday’s qualifications. 

For this round of the World Cup in Les Gets, the profile of the cross-country track was significantly modified, with more than 15 new technical features: boulders, overhangs, roots, tree trunks, jumps… A more technical and spectacular track that turned into a real quagmire because of the weekend’s rain.

One thing is for sure, the mud was there at this World Cup in Les Gets! Successive slips and falls, blurred visibility, extra weight that wears down the bodies and damages the mechanics… In some very slippery areas or with scree, the best technique was still to get off the bike and walk around the obstacles. A strategy that paid off to avoid losing precious seconds! 

The course ended with a passage in the impressive 4-cross with a rather committed jump followed by a fast descent and tight turns in the grass. The public who came to Les Gets for these XCO finals were sure to enjoy the show.  

Today’s reacp in video: Let’s GETS Fast – Episode 5