Victor Koretzky pulled off a perfect weekend in Les Gets.
The combination of short track and XCO is a double-whammy challenge of mountain bikers’ skills, fitness, and tactical wit. The Friday evening XCC tests pure 20-minute power with a side of tactical prowess. Then the XCO on Sunday requires more endurance for bigger climbs and more technical sections.
Specialized’s Koretzky successfully navigated both of the weekend’s challenges to secure the double win this weekend in front of a home-country crowd in the Haute-Savoie.
How it happened
- Hot, dusty conditions provided an additional challenge for the racers who set off on the hilly course with Nino Schurter taking an early lead. The Scott-SRAM rider was seeded with a fourth-row call up since he missed the XCC due to illness, but Schurter immediately found gaps in the group to slip through as he missiled his way to the front of the race. Schurter was joined near the front by Vlad Dascalu (Trek Factory Racing), Jordan Sarrou (BMC), Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV), and Vital Albin (Thömus maxon)
- Schwarzbauer led the early minutes, while Rockrider’s Joshua Dubau and Koretzky also moved into prime positions in the group. A large group stayed together for the first portion of the race, slowly being whittled down as the climbs and technical sections wore on. Schwarzbauer was one of those losing contact.
- Halfway through the race, Koretzky, Schurter, Dubau, and Sarrou formed an elite group of leaders, but Sarrou quickly succumbed to the pace. Koretzky came to the front and began pressing his advantage during one of the trickest sections of track: an uphill grunt filled with roots, rocks, loose dirt, and switchbacks. As the section tilted downhill, he kept using his handling skills to his advantage and immediately got to work opening more of an advantage on the next climb.
- Schurter and Dubau gave chase behind, but Schurter suffered a rear puncture that required a stop in the tech zone, leaving Dubau to chase solo. It’s the second race in a row that Schurter has punctured a Maxxis tire. He re-joined the race with a chase group including Dascalu, Marcel Guerrini (BiXS), and Giant’s Jens Schuermans.
- Dubau dangled in between Koretzky and the chasers, initially holding the gap steady on both ends, but Schurter caught up to him during a last-lap raid and eventually overtook him, rolling in for second place, 17 seconds behind victorious Koretzky. Dascalu and Guerrini also found last-lap legs, placing third and fourth ahead of Dubau, who must have been wishing for a race that was ten minutes shorter.
- Victor Koretzky (Specialized)
- Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM)
- Vlad Dascalu (Trek Factory)
- Marcel Guerrini (BiXS Performance)
- Joshua Dubau (Rockrider Racing)
- Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory)
- Thomas Griot (Canyon CLLCTV)
- Ondrej Cink (Primaflor-Mondraker)
- Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon)
- Joel Roth (BiXS Performance)
Schurter’s second-place finish, combined with Flückiger never quite getting in contact with the front group, puts the bajillion-time World Champion into the overall World Cup series lead going into the final two rounds in North America. There are only 98 points separating the two, and Schwarzbauer lurks in third just 27 points behind Flückiger, so the final standings are still very much up for grabs as the World Cup heads to Snowshoe, West Virginia on September 28-October 1.
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