The final UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO race of the season brought the muddiest and most technical track of the year in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV) brought the best combination of technical riding skills and fitness to ride away from Jenny Rissveds (Team 31) and Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
- Santa Cruz RockShox’s Martina Berta fared the best through the slick start loop, leading Pieterse, Rissveds, and Sina Frei (Specialized).
- Pieterse – who locked up the World Cup overall title last weekend – took over the lead on the first long climb. The slick conditions then set off a chain of lead changes, with every rider forced to dismount and remount numerous times throughout the race.
- The Alpecin rider at one point gained nine seconds, but clearly struggled with the conditions, particularly on the descents. Lecomte and Rissveds were within striking distance.
- Lecomte suffered a rear flat that forced her from second to 11th place.
- At the end of the second lap, Rissveds caught up to Pieterse while a chasing Lecomte put the leaders within eyesight. Lecomte caught the duo as the race headed into lap three.
- Lecomte and Rissveds overtook Pieterse by taking a more direct and technical line through a rocky downhill. Both riders then crashed but maintained their advantage over Pieterse.
- Lecomte and Rissveds gained 17 seconds on the penultimate lap and Lecomte extended that gap to more than 30s as she soloed to the finish during the last lap.
- Jolanda Neff (Trek) rode a strong race to secure fourth, and Berta rode to a fifth-place finish.
Loana Lecomte showed the most technical proficiency both on the uphills and downhills. While the Canyon rider still had to dismount and run sections, she took the most masterful and daring lines throughout the nightmarishly slick rock slabs and roots. The win is a boon for the Frenchwoman heading into the off-season as she prepares for a home Olympic Games in Paris next year (after she also won the Paris 2024 test event last month).
Experience played a role when looking at the top-five results. Rissveds and Neff – Olympic gold medalists in ‘16 and ‘21, respectively – have not always been at the front of races this season, but both women used their knowledge of racing in varying conditions to make it through the melee and onto the podium.
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