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Pendrel and Absalon Win UCI World Cup XCO Titles – Batty 3rd Overall

by pedalmag.com
Pendrel with overall women's trophy  ©  Michal Cerveny
September 04, 2016 (Vallnord, Andorra) – Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) of Kamloops, BC, capped off a season that already includes an Olympic bronze medal with the overall 2016 UCI World Cup title in the Elite women’s cross-country.

It was her third career title after finishing third in the sixth and final round of the series on Sunday, in Andorra. Fellow Canuck Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) of Brooklin, Ontario, finished 12th on the stage to claim third overall.

Emily Batty kept her cool after a tough start  ©  Michal Cerveny

France’s Julien Absalon (BMC) took the win in the Elite Men’s race, his 33rd World Cup victory, to capture his 7th overall title. For Absalon it was a form of redemption after a disappointing Rio Olympics.

Pendrel on the move  ©  Michal Cerveny
Women's start - Pendrel at the front  ©  Michal Cerveny
Pendrel had a strong start to the race, leading in the opening lap before crashing and falling back to third, to finish one minute and 21 seconds behind Jolanda Neff of Switzerland and 45 seconds behind second placed Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa of Norway. Batty, who had crashed in training, raced with bruised ribs but moved up from 19th on the first lap to finish 12th on the day.

Neff wins final round  ©  Michal Cerveny

Pendrel won the overall title, her third, with 1,030 points, in a season that included one World Cup victory, a second place and two third places. Annika Langvad of Denmark suffered two crashes finishing second overall with 1,006 points, while Batty was third with 710 points.

Women's overall podium (l-r) Rissveds, Langvad, Pendrel, Batty, Dahle  ©  Michal Cerveny

“World Cup Champion feels so good after the suffer fest out there today,” said Pendrel. “This is an incredibly hard race. My start was amazing and I felt really good, but I definitely ran out of oxygen on the second lap.

Luna takes Team trophy  ©  Michal Cerveny

“I had trouble staying up on the second descent, was kind of all over the place. I had to really regroup to get my breath. Then it was just about damage control; going as slow as I could just to stay upright on the descents and then hammer on the climbs. It wasn’t the prettiest race but it got the job done.”

Pendrel on winning the Women’s Overall

Men's start  ©  Michal Cerveny

In the men’s 7-lap race Ondrej Cink (Cze) Multivan Merida took an early lead, with Olympic champion Nino Schurter (Sui) Scott Odlo in pursuit as Absalon moved up on to Schurter’s wheel. Cink was caught at just over the 1/2 way mark on Lap 4 and then Absalon took over as his Swiss rival suffered a flat.

Absalon  ©  Michal Cerveny

Cink could not contain Absalon who soon had 20 seconds that ballooned to 40+ seconds at the finish for his 33rd World Cup victory and 7th overall title.

Absalon with overall men's trophy  ©  Michal Cerveny
Behind the real battle was for third as Pablo Rodriguez (Esp) MMR Factory emerged as the bronze medalist of the day. The lone Canuck on the start line as Andrew L’Esperance (Norco Factory) who crossed the line in 57th.

“I’m really happy because the first goal was to win the overall World Cup title,” said Absalon. “Of course I was disappointed with my performance at the Olympics and it was also good to win the last race of the season – I was really motivated to have a good race. My plan was to stay with Nino through the race and then attack at the end. At this altitude you have to make sure you don’t go over you limit and it worked out for me.”

Absalon on winning the Men’s Title

Hermida  ©  Michal Cerveny
Schurter congratulates Hermida  ©  Michal Cerveny
Hermida celebrates  ©  Michal Cerveny

Celebrating a stellar career at the finish was Jose Hermida (Esp) Multivan Merida who is retiring. The popular Spanish rider claimed Olympic silver in 2004 at Athens and the MTB Worlds title at MSA in 2010.

Hermida  ©  Michal Cerveny


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