MTB racing Gallery: A dusty day in Les Gets for the MTB World Cup
The weekend's elite XCO races, as captured by photographer Piper Albrecht.
The world’s best cross-country mountain bikers descended on the French ski town of Les Gets over the weekend for the final European leg of the 2023 MTB World Cup season.
elite women’s XCO race, Austria’s Mona Mitterwallner proved that her debut World Cup win in Andorra a few weeks back was far from a fluke. On a dry and dusty course – in contrast to the wet and muddy conditions in Andorra – Mitterwallner hit the front on the penultimate lap, rode Puck Pieterse off her wheel, then pushed on for her second XCO World Cup win in as many races.
In the elite men’s race, Victor Koretzky had the perfect weekend on home soil, winning the short-track (XCC) event on Friday evening, before backing it up with
victory in the XCO on Sunday. On Sunday, Koretzky came to the fore roughly halfway through the race as part of an elite lead selection, before riding clear in the laps that followed.
Before the MTB World Cup packs up and heads over to North America for meets in Snowshoe and Mont-Sainte-Anne, let’s take a look back at the elite XCO races in Les Gets courtesy of our man on the ground,
Piper Albrecht. American Haley Batten earned a front line start having finished in fourth for the XCC. The usual fast start from Puck Pieterse kept plenty of pressure on others. Despite suffering from stomach issues over the weekend, Mona Mitterwallner was in the mix from the gun. The start of the race was chaos. Thick dust saw a crash come immediately after the start line. Here American Savilia Blunk fights for position in the pack. Blunk would go on to nab fifth place and the final spot of the podium. Puck Pieterse, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and Mona Mitterwallner kept the racing close for the first three laps. Pieterse may have held the lead for the first half of the race, but Mona Mitterwallner took control of the race during the fourth lap and didn’t look back. Dust and dappled light made those short wooded sections tricky. Canada’s Jenn Jackson finished in 29th position. The Les Gets course offered plenty of open grass riding, but the wooded section still offered plenty of challenges. Switzerland’s Linda Indergand finished one position ahead of Liv Factory Racing teammate Jenn Jackson. There were plenty of star names finishing between 10-20th place which proves just how deep the field is. Former world champion Evie Richards finished the day in 14th place. Jenn Jackson negotiates one of the many tight and technical corners on track. Haley Batten on the charge through one of the many purposefully built rock gardens. Not everyone had the best day in the heat. Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff finished the day in 17th. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot missed the XCC on Friday due to illness. The current World Champion held a third-place position for most of the race. Haley Batten had a stellar race that earned her a second fourth-place finish of the weekend. There was no questioning who the strongest of the day was. Mona Mitterwallner is in unbeatable form at the moment. A well earned celebration, and enough of a gap to enjoy it. Ghost Factory riders, Nicole Koller and Anne Terpstra happily finished in 9th and 11th respectively. Some days in the office are tougher than others. With two rounds to go, Puck Pieterse leads the series with 1546 points, wth Mona Mitterwallner tailing behind with a 321 point deficit. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot sits in a not-too-distant third. Much like the women’s race, the men’s start proved to be manic with thick dust and a start crash half-way back in the pack. As we’ve seen at many rounds, Germany’s Luca Schwarzbauer took a powerful lead at the start of the race and remained at the front till the third lap. Shadows and light. Pure style from British national champion Charlie Aldridge. Aldridge had an impressively strong ride, finishing in 15th. A perfect weekend for the in-form Victor Koretzky. New Zealand’s Anton Cooper racing toward a 16th place. The Les Gets course offers plenty of tricky sections to catch out the fatigued. Dappled light everywhere. Koretzky was dressed for the heat with an ultra thin jersey that looked more like a base layer with its lack of a zipper. The woods offered a few tight squeezes and plenty of line choice. Melting in the sun. The TV highlights didn’t show it, but the course offered the riders plenty of entertainment (challenges). While the laps are short at just over 3 km, the Les Gets course proved brutally exposed to the sun which would take its toll on riders as the race progressed. The men raced in the heat of the day, as evident by the flapping jersey of Australian Sam Fox. The Les Gets course provides plenty of opportunity to show off for the crowd. Georg Egger doing just that. A home crowd win has to feel extra special. Koretzky had enough of a lead to enjoy the victory. Jens Schuermans had a stellar day with a sixth place finish. Seeing your friend get the win makes it all the better. Thomas Griot enjoying the home crowd reception. Griot finished the day in seventh. Indeed it was a brutally warm one out there. Nino Schurter leads the series with 1198 points, just 98 more than fellow countryman Mathias Flückiger. Luca Schwarzbauer sits in a near third with 1073 points, and Jordan Sarrou is also still in the mix with 1029 points. What did you think of this story?
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