Riding is Life


Tour de What? Stigger and Schwarzbauer back on top to kick off Val di Sole World Cup

After missing out two weeks ago in Leogang, the king and queen of the short track format in 2023 get back on top.

Stigger gets it with a bike throw, despite that textbook extension by Pieterse. Photo © Piper Albrecht

Ryan Simonovich
by Ryan Simonovich 30.06.2023 Photography by
Piper Albrecht
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While road cycling’s attention turns toward France this weekend, the mountain bikers are having their own fun down in Val di Sole, Italy for the fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. As usual, the weekend kicks off with the Friday evening short track. Here’s how the racing went down. 

The women toed the line first, and Evie Richards took the holeshot through the tricky uphill rock garden in what appeared to be a strong bid to open her win account this season. She was followed by Linda Indergand, Laura Stigger, and Puck Pieterse, among others. 

Recently crowned European XCO Champion Pieterse attacked on the second lap, while Richards dabbed in the rock garden, losing a few places. The rock garden would cause trouble for Richards on the subsequent lap as well. 

The uphill rock garden just after the start created havoc for several fields, including the U23 men. Photo © Piper Albrecht

As the 20-minute race wore on, Allessandra Keller, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and Jolanda Neff also rode themselves into position near the front of the pack. At one point, Rissveds rubbed wheels with Ferrand-Prévot, causing the Swede to put a foot down and a small gap to open. However Rissveds rode back to the leaders, along with Rebecca Henderson, by the final lap. 

Pieterse was first through the rocks on the final lap but Stigger edged her out to get to the downhill first. Pieterse then retook the lead to open the sprint, but Stigger won the fast-twitch muscle contest in a photo finish, taking her second XCC win in four races. 

It began to rain in between the women’s race and men’s race, adding some traction to the dirt in some places while making other spots slicker. That didn’t stop Luca Schwarzbauer from taking the holeshot though – an occurrence that’s almost a cliche at this point. 

Joshua Dubau took over the lead on the second lap and Nino Schurter also showed himself at the front but Schwarzbauer showed throughout the race that he prefers to be first wheel. Pierre de Froidmont, Sam Gaze, and Christopher Blevins were also among the lead group. 

Schurter hit the front with two to go but then started to fade. Schwarzbauer was first through the rocks on the final lap, trailed by Dubau, and the German kicked his sprint engines on before the final corner and had time to post up ahead of the line to celebrate his third XCC win this year. 

Elite Women XCC Results 

  1. Laura Stigger (Specialized Factory Racing) 
  2. Puck Pieterse (Alpecin–Deceuninck)
  3. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Ineos Grenadiers) 
  4. Alessandra Keller (Thömus maxon) 
  5. Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis Cycles Continental) 
  6. Rebecca Henderson (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins Racing Team) 
  7. Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing XC) 
  8. Ramona Forchini (JB Brunex Superior Factory Racing) 
  9. Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing) 
  10. Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team) 

Elite Men XCC Results 

  1. Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV) 
  2. Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) 
  3. Joshua Dubau (Rockrider Ford Racing Team) 
  4. Pierre de Froidmont (Orbea Factory Team)
  5. Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory Off-Road Team XC) 
  6. Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) 
  7. Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC) 
  8. Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon) 
  9. Samuel Gaze (Alpecin–Deceuninck)
  10. Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team) 
Schwarzbauer is getting pretty good at this podium thing. Photo © Piper Albrecht

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