The second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland was a game of patience.
In contrast to the last round in Nové Město, the Swiss course featured longer climbs that took riders up pavement and double track. Challenging technical sections were intermixed throughout, but the non-technical passages caused the lead group to stay together for the majority of the race, with riders dropping off the back one-by-one.
Ultimately it was Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV) who shed Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Ineos Grenadiers) and Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory Racing) on the final lap to take her second consecutive win in Lenzerheide.
Earlier in the afternoon, Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing) led out the start lap followed by Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Martina Berta (Santa Cruz Rockshox), Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing), Lecomte and Jenny Rissveds (31 Ibis Cycles Continental), the latter two of which pushed the pace early on in the race.
As time wore on, Rissveds – the winner of Friday’s XCC event – struggled to stay in the front group, as did Richards.
Up ahead, the lead group of five began to solidify their lead heading into the halfway point. Lecomte and Ferrand-Prevot appeared to be the strongest, but Terpstra and Alessandra Keller (Thömas Maxon) maintained their contact with the two Frenchwomen.
When Lecomte debuted on the elite World Cup scene in 2021, we got to know her favoured tactic of hitting the front early on and oftentimes opening up big gaps to win solo. The European champion is a strong climber, spinning high cadence in metronomic fashion.
This time, Lecomte chose to bide her time, hurting her rivals a little bit more until the final lap.
It wasn’t an obvious attack, but Lecomte dropped Ferrand-Prevot and Terpstra on the last time up the big pavement climb and mastered her way through the final tricky technical sections, crossing the line with 18 seconds on Terpstra to soak in the stadium-like atmosphere of cheering fans.
Swisswoman Keller showed perhaps the most grit and gave the home fans someone to root for. Initially in fourth during the final lap, she caught Ferrand-Prevot off-guard just moments before the finish to ride in for a celebrated third place.
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