CYCLING Preview: Schurter and Courtney protecting seasonal leads as the Mountain Bike World Cup heads to France

Swiss Mountain Bike superstar Nino Schurter (Photo: UCI)

We’re at the halfway mark of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, with competition in Cross Country and Downhill this week at Les Gets (FRA). The standings:

Men/Cross Country:
1. 835 Nino Schurter (SUI)
2. 755 Mathias Flueckiger (SUI)
3. 700 Mathieu van der Poel (NED)
4. 655 Henrique Avancini (FRA)
5. 553 Jordan Sarrou (FRA)

1. 765 Loic Bruni (FRA)
2. 700 Troy Brosnan (AUS)
3. 605 Amaury Pierron (FRA)
4. 565 Danny Hart (GBR)
5. 482 Loris Vergier (FRA)

Women/Cross Country:
1. 890 Kate Courtney (USA)
2. 815 Jolanda Neff (SUI)
3. 645 Anne Terpstra (NED)
4. 499 Anne Tauber (NED)
5. 486 Yana Belomoina (UKR)

1. 790 Tracey Hannah (AUS)
2. 730 Rachel Atherson (GBR)
3. 640 Marine Cabirou (FRA)
4. 585 Nina Hoffmann (GER)
5. 407 Veronika Widmann (ITA)

In Cross Country, Schurter has not dominated the circuit as in past seasons, but he has been steady: third overall in Albstadt, second overall in Nove Mesto and the overall winner – second in the Cross Country Short race and winning the Olympic-distance race – in Vallnord last week. Countryman Flueckiger has finished 2-5-3 so far, but has beaten Schurter only once in the six total races in 2019.

Courtney, something of a surprise with her win in the 2018 World Championships, has been stellar in 2019, winning the first two races and finishing third overall in Vallnord. The scoring includes both the Olympic-distance and Cross Country Short races and Courtney has been in the top four in five of the six total events held so far.

In the Downhill, Bruni’s best-ever seasonal finish was second in 2015; Brosnan was second in 2017, so both are trying to stay ahead of defending seasonal champ Pierron. Hannah would really like to improve on the three World Cup seasonal bronze medals she has won the last three years, while Atherton is a six-time World Cup champ.

Les Gets is the only French stop on this year’s World Cup circuit, replacing La Bresse from 2018. There, Schurter and Neff were the Cross Country winners; Martin Maes (BEL) won the men’s Downhill, while Atherton won the women’s.

Look for results here.