CYCLING: Van de Poel wins in Val di Sole, challenges Schurter for World Cup lead; Neff takes over women’s lead

Dutch Mountain Bike and road cycling star Mathieu van der Poel (Photo: S. Yuki via Wikimedia Commons)

Switzerland’s Nino Schurter is the four-time defending World Cup champion in Cross Country and the two-time defending World Cup seasonal champion. But he is going to have to work for the 2019 title as Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel scored a double win in the Mountain Bike World Cup in Val di Sole.

Last year’s Mountain Bike Cross Country World Championships bronze medalist, van der Poel is also an outstanding road cyclist, but is concentrating on Mountain Bike for the rest of this season. In the five stops so far, he’s won the Cross Country Short Track race in all four he has entered and finished 2-1-16-1 in his four Cross Country Olympic races. So now he is one of four contenders to fight it out for the season title:

1. 1,390 ~ Nino Schurter (SUI)
2. 1,274 ~ Mathieu van der Pol (NED)
3. 1,165 ~ Henrique Avancini (BRA)
4. 1,143 ~ Mathias Flueckiger (SUI)

Van der Poel won the Short Track race by five seconds over Avancini and then had the fastest finish in the Cross Country Olympic race to expand a one-second lead over Flueckiger and Schurter with a lap to go (4.3 km) to 18 seconds at the finish over Flueckiger and 53 over Schurter.

In the women’s Cross Country Olympic race, France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot led from wire-to-wire, building up a 41-second lead midway through, but then barely surviving a late charge from Swiss Jolanda Neff to win by just 1:21:59-1:22:00 at the finish.

With her win in the Short Track race and runner-up in the XCO, Neff took over the seasonal lead in the World Cup standings, ahead of American Kate Courtney:

1. 1,415 ~ Jolanda Neff (SUI)
2. 1,382 ~ Kate Courtney (USA)
3. 950 ~ Anne Terpstra (NED)

Courtney finished 17th in Val di Sole, her first time out of the top 10 this season. There are two stops left, in Lenzerheide (SUI) next weekend and the finale in Snowshoe, west Virginia (USA) on 7-8 September. Summaries:

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
Val di Sole (ITA) ~ 2-4 August 2019
(Full results here)


Cross Country Short (10.1 km): 1. Mathieu van der Poel (NED), 20:31; 2. Henrique Avancini (BRA), 20:36; 3. Jens Schuermans (BEL), 20:45; 4. Ondrej Cink (CZE), 20:45; 5. Nino Schurter (SUI), 20:45.

Cross Country (28.1 km): 1. Van der Poel (NED), 1:20:47; 2. Mathias Flueckiger (SUI), 1:21:05; 3. Schurter (SUI), 1:21:40; 4. Avancini (BRA), 1:22:33; 5. Luca Braidot (ITA), 1:22:48.

Downhill (2.187 km): 1. Laurie Greenland (GBR), 3:37.819; 2. Loic Bruni (FRA), 3:40.873; 3. Loris Vergier (FRA), 3:42.701; 4. Amaury Pierron (FRA), 3:42.986; 5. Danny Hart (GBR), 3:44.668.


Cross Country Short (9.1 km): 1. Jolanda Neff (SUI), 20:24; 2. Sina Frei (SUI), 20:26; 3. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA), 20:32; 4. Rebecca McConnell (AUS), 20:35; 5. Eva Lechner (ITA), 20:35. Also in the top 10: 7. Chloe Woodruff (USA), 20:41; … 10. Kate Courtney (USA), 20:47.

Cross Country (23.8 km): 1. Ferrand Prevot (FRA), 1:21:59; 2. Neff (SUI), 1:22:00; 3. Jenny Rissveds (SWE), 1:23:00; 4. Yana Belomoina (UKR), 1:23:28; 5. Anne Tauber (GER), 1:23:55. Also in the top 10: 6. Woodruff (USA), 1:24:43.

Downhill (2.187 km): 1. Marine Cabirou (FRA), 4:25.790; 2. Tracey Hannah (AUS), 4:37.566; 3. Camille Balanche (SUI), 4:44.114; 4. Veronika Widmann (ITA), 4:48.312; 5. Emile Siegenthaler (SUI), 4:52.383.