UCI MTB World Cup Fi­nale

Pen­drel and Iles Cap­ture World Cup Over­all Ti­tles

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by San­dra Wal­ter

The 2016 UCI MTB World Cup se­ries wrapped up in the thin Pyre­nean moun­tain air of An­dorra for cross-coun­try rac­ers and down­hillers alike. Catharine Pen­drel (CAN, LUNA Pro Team) earned the nec­es­sary points in the fi­nal round to cap­ture the Elite women's over­all XCO se­ries tro­phy, while Emily Batty (CAN, Trek Fac­tory Racing) con­tin­ued a con­sis­tent sea­son to take third in the se­ries. Cana­dian ju­nior down­hill sen­sa­tion Finn­ley Iles (CAN, Spe­cial­ized Grav­ity p/b SRAM) sewed up his over­all vic­tory on the super-steep and gnarly track.

XC #6 - Vall­nord, An­dorra – Sept. 4

With the Rio Olympics in the his­tory books, cross-coun­try ath­letes had to rally their fo­cus and their legs for one more ma­jor event of the sea­son – the World Cup fi­nale atop the Vall­nord ski sta­tion. Venue of the 2015 UCI MTB World Cham­pi­onships, rid­ers were fa­mil­iar with the chal­lenges of­fered by the de­mand­ing course at a lung-bust­ing 2,000 me­tres above sea level.

De­nied an Olympic medal, Jolanda Neff (SUI, Stöckli Pro Team) was back to her hard-charg­ing ways in An­dorra and snagged the win over sec­ond-place Gunn-Rita Dahle Fles­jaa (NOR, Mul­ti­van Merida) by 36 sec­onds, while Pen­drel pulled off a third place just ahead of newly crowned Olympic cham­pion Jenny Rissveds (SWE, Odlo-Scott). Batty fin­ished 12th. World cham­pion An­nika Lang­vad (DEN, Spe­cial­ized), who had been lead­ing the se­ries all sea­son long, had a tough day, crash­ing mul­ti­ple times to fin­ish 13th – not good enough to re­tain the over­all.

Like Neff, Julien Ab­sa­lon (FRA, BMC) was also shut out of the medals in Rio, but he earned a bit of re­demp­tion him­self, grab­bing the Elite men's vic­tory in An­dorra, his 33rd World Cup win and sev­enth se­ries ti­tle. On­drej Cink

(CZE, Mul­ti­van Merida) fin­ished sec­ond af­ter lead­ing out the start. Olympic cham­pion Nino Schurter (SUI, Odlo-Scott) flat­ted while in sec­ond spot and fell back to even­tu­ally fin­ish 13th.

Andrew L'Esper­ance (CAN, Norco Fac­tory Team) was the only Canuck in the mix. He fin­ished 57th, with an ab­sent Léandre Bouchard (CAN, Cy­clone d'Alma) fin­ish­ing as the top Cana­dian in the se­ries in 31st.

Sina Frei (SUI, JB Brunex Felt Team) con­tin­ued her dom­i­na­tion of the U23 women's cat­e­gory to se­cure the race win as well as the se­ries over­all. Cather­ine Fleury (CAN, Cy­clone d'Alma) was the lone Cana­dian, fin­ish­ing 16th on the day and eighth in the se­ries.

It was a tight battle in the U23 men's com­pe­ti­tion, as Mar­cel Guer­rini (SUI, Fo­cus XC Team) eked out the vic­tory by only 10 sec­onds ahead of Si­mon An­dreassen (DEN, Spe­cial­ized). Over­all se­ries cham­pion Ti­touan Carod (FRA, Scott Creuse Oxy­gene Gueret) fin­ished third, while Canada's sole en­trant, Marc-An­dré Fortier (CAN), earned 19th place and 44th in the fi­nal se­ries stand­ings. Peter Dis­era (CAN, Norco Fac­tory Team) was the top Cana­dian in the over­all se­ries in 34th.

DH #7 - Vall­nord, An­dorra – Sept. 3

Down­hillers were treated to a parched track that de­te­ri­o­rated quickly in prac­tice, de­vel­op­ing holes and ruts, turn­ing things treach­er­ous. Rachel Ather­ton (GBR, Trek Fac­tory Racing) made his­tory by win­ning seven of seven rounds in the Elite women's se­ries. Tracey Han­nah (AUS, Poly­gon UR) was her clos­est ri­val in the fi­nal, fin­ish­ing sec­ond at more than six sec­onds back. Han­nah took home third place over­all in the se­ries, be­hind Manon Car­pen­ter (GBR, Madi­son Sara­cen Fac­tory Team) in sec­ond. Canada's Mi­randa Miller fin­ished eighth in Vall­nord, which moved her up to 10th in the over­all. Fel­low Canuck Ge­or­gia As­tle (CAN) fin­ished a strong 10th on the day and 17th over­all.

Things got re­ally hairy part­way through the Elite men's fi­nal as the skies opened up. Danny Hart (GBR, MS Mon­draker Team) was al­ready se­curely in­stalled in the hot seat at the bot­tom be­fore the rain be­gan, and his time was un­touch­able once the mois­ture hit. Se­ries leader Aaron Gwin (USA, The YT Mob) cut his losses and chose to keep his ti­tle safe by tak­ing it easy and just fin­ish­ing his run to land 55th.

He was happy with an­other World Cup ti­tle: “I was re­ally hop­ing to end my World Cup sea­son with a win, but un­for­tu­nately the weather just wasn't on my side today. Af­ter drop­ping into my race run and feel­ing out the con­di­tions, it was ob­vi­ous to me that the risk re­quired to ride fast just wasn't worth it.”

Mark Wal­lace (CAN, Devinci Global Racing) was the fastest Cana­dian in 33rd, while Cana­dian cham­pion Kirk McDowall (CAN, Dun­bar Cy­cles) rolled into 50th. Wal­lace was also the top Canuck in the se­ries in 22nd.

Ju­nior men's world cham­pion Iles clocked the fastest run in qual­i­fy­ing, but the young Cana­dian would wind up sec­ond to Gae­tan Vige (FRA, Com­men­cal/Vall­nord). Iles re­tained the se­ries lead to take home ti­tle. With an­other year left in the ju­nior ranks, all eyes will be on this B.C. rider in 2017.

Buoyed by re­cent suc­cess, the rest of the Cana­dian ju­niors had strong runs. Mag­nus Man­son (CAN, Devinci) was just off the podium in fourth, while Henry Fitzger­ald (CAN, Steve Peat Syn­di­cate/Uber­bike Global) was eighth. Man­son closed the sea­son in ninth over­all and Fitzger­ald was 13th.

(clock­wise from top left) Finn­ley Iles cap­tured the Ju­nior men's over­all ti­tle for a his­toric Cana­dian vic­tory.

Canada's Catharine Pen­drel took

home her third ca­reer Elite women’s

cross-coun­try ti­tle. Cana­dian Emily Batty claim third over­all in the Elite women’s cross-coun­try se­ries.

The United Kingdom’s Rachel Ather­ton

made his­tory by win­ning seven of seven

rounds in the Elite women’s DH se­ries.

Canada’s Cather­ine Fleury fin­ished 8th over­all in the U23 women's cross-coun­try se­ries. (fac­ing) France’s Julien Ab­sa­lon earned his 33rd World Cup win and sev­enth ti­tle in the Elite men’s cross-coun­try se­ries.

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