The final race in a series often presents races within the race. Not only is it a final chance to land on the podium, but riders are vying for every position in the overall standings as well. This year, that battle was at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, where the people speak French and the mountain bike tracks are legendary.
Martina Berta led the first lap in the last-chance saloon of MSA and was closely matched by Trek Factory Racing teammates Evie Richards and Gwendalyn Gibson. Rebecca Henderson took over the pacemaking the next lap followed by Alessandra Keller and Puck Pieterse, while Berta and Loana Lecomte also moved into the top five.
Haley Batten also spent time at the front as a group of 10 contenders stayed together before the fireworks started with two laps to go. Batten was the first to make the race-defining move and gained a few seconds with Henderson and Lecomte in tow. Batten stalled after rubbing wheels and dropped back to the chase group as the lead duo continued on, eventually joined by a bridging Laura Stigger.
Stigger then attacked to solo to take her third World Cup XCC victory of the season followed by Lecomte, Henderson, and Richards. Pieterse finished fifth to secure the XCC overall victory over Keller in addition to the XCO overall title she locked up last weekend.
Vlad Dascalu led out the men’s race with Luca Schwarzbauer, Jordan Sarrou, Nino Schurter, and Charlie Aldridge in tow. As the racers settled in, Victor Koretzky, Joshua Dubau, and Luca Braidot also came to the front. A large group stayed together and it looked like it could come down to a bunch sprint. Christopher Blevins joined the lead group on lap five, while Tom Pidcock made his way up to the front during the penultimate lap.
Koretzky made his final attack on the long climb to start the final lap and his Specialized teammate Blevins and BMC’s Sarrou were the only ones who made the selection. Koretzky, who’s been on great form since the World Championships in early August, stayed away to take his third XCC win in a row with Sarrou finishing second ahead of Blevins, Pidcock, and Schurter.
A seventh place for Schwarzbauer secured the XCC overall title for the fast German, as Sarrou’s second place left him 110 points back in the series standings. Today’s XCC points also apply to the XCO overall title chase, setting up a battle royale for Sunday’s race, where Sarrou trails Schurter by just 62 points in the season standings.
Mont-Sainte-Anne Women’s XCC Results
- Laura Stigger (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV)
- Rebecca Henderson (Primaflor Mondraker)
- Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing)
- Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
- Martina Berta (Santa Cruz-Rock Shox)
- Gwendalyn Gibson (Trek Factory Racing)
- Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Jenny Rissveds (Team 31)
Mont-Sainte-Anne Men’s XCC Results
- Victor Koretzky (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC)
- Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
- Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM)
- Martin Vidaurre (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV)
- Charlie Aldridge (Cannondale Factory Racing)
- Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory Off-Road)
- Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon)
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