Posted by Editoress on 09/8/19
The 2019 Mountain Bike World Cup season ended on Sunday at Snowshoe, West Virginia, with the seventh and final round. Raphael Auclair (Pivot Cycles-OTE) had the strongest Canadian performance of the day, finishing fifth in the Under-23 men; the best performance of his career. Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro) had the top Elite result, finishing tenth in the women's race and tenth overall in the Series. Peter Disera (Norco Factory), the top ranked Canadian man going into the final race, suffered a flat while with the leaders, finishing 51st and dropping to 20th from 17th in the overall standings. Canada's top-ranked Under-23 man, Sean Fincham (Norco Factory), did not race the final round, finishing sixth in the final overall standings.
"I can't believe finishing fifth; it's amazing," said Auclair. "I had a lucky start and made it up to the lead group, and after that it was just pacing. I wasn't sure if I could hold on, but if you don't try, you never know, so I went for it."
The women's race had two battles underway - for the race win and for the overall title. New world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Factory) won the race, while American Kate Courtney (Scott SRAM) made a dramatic come from behind race before a partisan crowd to finish fifth and win the overall title after Series leader Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) could only manage 11th.
The short, 3.8 kilometre circuit resulted in fast and unrelenting racing. Neff led out the start but soon faded, while a group of seven formed at the front, including Ferrand Prevot, Courtney, Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondrake Rotor), Jenny Rissveds (Team 31), Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory), American national champion Chloe Woodruff and Annie Last (KMC-Ekoi-Orbea). Woodruff, McConnell and Courtney could not manage the pace of the other four, and were left to battle for fifth. Terpstra attacked, with Rissveds and Ferrand Prevot chasing, before Rissveds suffered a flat, eventually finishing seventh. Ferrand Prevot chased Terpstra down on the last lap to take the win, her fifth World Cup victory, with Terpstra holding on for second ahead of Last, and McConnell taking fourth in front of Courtney. Besides Pendrel's tenth, Haley Smith (Norco Factory) suffered a flat and was knocked out of the race, while Emily Batty (Trek Factory) was 27th.
"In the last lap, I was ten seconds behind Terpstra," said Ferrand Prevot, "and I thought I was going for second place. But I never gave up and was able to come back and win the sprint. I was not too good in the first two World Cups, so to finish third [overall] is a good result. I really didn't imagine I could have such a good year, so I am really proud of myself and my team."
"Today was all-in," said Courtney. "I knew that I needed to put in a really good ride, but also put distance between Jolanda and I. So it was do-or-die; and go as hard as I could from the start, and then hang on until the finish, fighting for every spot. This was a huge mental victory. It's been a fight all season, so to win [the title] in the United States was incredible."
"It was a true indication of where my form is," said Pendrel, "I'd like it to be higher, but it was a super solid race; the level is just so good right now. I'm proud of how consistent and hard I fought all race."
Courtney finished the season with 1772 points, 30 ahead of Neff after coming into the final race with a 20 point deficit. Ferrand Prevot took third, ahead of Terpstra, with McConnell finishing fifth. Pendrel was tenth, while Smith dropped to 17th from 13th and Batty finished 22nd.
The 2019 Mountain Bike World Cup concluded on Sunday with the seventh and final round of the cross-country, held at Snowshoe, West Virginia. World champion Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM) had already mathematically won the title, in the absence of second-placed Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), who is preparing for the Road world championships. He finished second on the day to young team mate and countryman Lars Forster.
Leandre Bouchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was the top Canadian, finishing 23rd.
The short, 3.8 kilometre circuit resulted in fast and unrelenting racing. A large group of 15 riders, with all the top contenders formed at the front, with Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) very aggressive and pushing the pace. Avancini's pace split the group, with only Schurter able to go with him. On the sixth lap (of nine), Schurter suffered a flat, but was able to get a quick wheel change and join the chase group. The group then chased down Avancini, led by Forster, with eight still in contention. At the start of the final lap, Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory) attacked, but crashed in a corner, allowing Schurter and Forster to get a gap, which Forster extended with Schurter on his wheel. In the final rock garden, Forster attacked again, to solo in for his first World Cup victory.
"I don't know what to think, I can't believe it," said Forster. "I had the feeling yesterday and this morning that I could do something good. I didn't expect to win, just the podium. I had a shitty World Cup season, so finishing with this win is amazing. In the last lap, Nino made an attack and I was able to go with him. This is reward overload."
For Schurter, it was his seventh World Cup overall title, finishing ahead of van der Poel, with Avancini taking third. Disera finished 20th and Bouchard moved up to 35th from 38th.
"It was a tough race, but it was so cool to see Lars win," said Schurter. " When I got the puncture, I managed to stay cool and get back, but I had to work really hard. When Lars and I [got away], we had to go all out, so he more than deserved the win. I'm just super happy to win the overall; it was an insane season."
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