Posted by Editoress on 06/10/22
For the first time this season, World Cup leader Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker Genuins) looked vulnerable at Round 4 of the Short Track World Cup in Leogang, Austria, finishing fifth. Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV), the defending World Cup champion and winner of this event last year, took her first win of the season. McConnell still leads the overall standings, with a 200 point buffer over Alessandra Keller (Thomus Maxon).
Three Canadians took part, with Emily Batty (Canyon MTB) the top finisher in 23rd place; the result comes one week after she won the opening round of the Canada Cup series, and is her best result of the season. She will get a third row start for the XCO on Sunday. National champion Sandra Walter (Liv Collective) was 35th and Jenn Jackson (Canyon MTB) was 36th.
Jackson commented after, "[It was a] bit of a mini XCO! Real taste for the effort Sunday. This was the first full-gas-ask I've had since the last World Cup so the system is shocked and hopefully up and running for the main show."
Rain over the past few days drenched the course and, although it was sunny for race day, the course was muddy and slick in many sections. The one kilometre circuit is dominated by a long steep climb, and many riders crack after going out too hard in the early laps.
McConnell went to the front on the first lap, with only Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis), Keller and Haley Batten (Specialized Factory) able to follow. Batten was the first to get dropped, but she was replaced by Lecomte, one of the best climbers on the World Cup circuit.
Lecomte then upped the pace on the climb on fifth lap and McConnell couldn't respond, starting to fall back as her earlier efforts began to catch up with her. Keller also began to fade in the last lap and a half, with both Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory) and Caroline Bohé (Ghost Factory) passing to take the remaining podium spots. Lecomte won on a flattening rear tire.
"I felt good today," said Lecomte. "I had a flat tire for the last two laps, so I tried to go slowly in the downhill so that I could finish the race. It's a very good start for the weekend, I can't wait for Sunday's [XCO] race."
While McConnell still leads the overall standings, former second place Pauline Ferrand Prevot (BMC MTB) drops to seventh after skipping the event. Keller moves up to second from fourth and Lecomte jumps to third from 10th. Jackson remains the top Canadian in the standings, but drops to 24th from 21st, while Walter improves to 35th from 38th. Batty enters the rankings at 48th.
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