July 10, 2016 (Lenzerheide, SUI) – Canadian riders had to fight back from mechanical problems at Round 4 of the UCI MTB World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Sunday. Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops, BC, and Emily Batty of Brooklin, ON, finished seventh and eight, respectively, in the Elite women’s race, while Leandre Bouchard of Alma, QC, took home a career-best 18th in Elite Men’s race.
Sandra Walter (Team Canada) finished 28th in the Elite Women’s while reigning U23 Men’s champ, Alexandre Vialle, was 58th in the 28.4km U23 men’s competition. On Saturday (July 9), Finnley Iles of Whistler, BC, won the Junior Men’s Downhill race, and strengthened his grip on the overall leader’s jersey.
Elite Women’s Race
Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds (Scott-Odlo) claimed her first World Cup win in the Elite Women’s field, besting Annika Lagvad of Denmark, the current series leader and newly crowned Elite Women’s champ. Swiss star, Jolanda Neff (Stockli Pro), racing on home turf took third.
Pendrel, ranked second overall in the World Cup going into Lenzerheide, was with Lagvad and Rissveds up front having a great start before crashing on a descent and damaging her saddle, causing her to lose places as she made her way to the Tech Zone.
“Annika [Lagvad] and I had gotten away from Jenny [Rissveds] on the climb and then on the next descents I got my front wheel caught in a hole and went down twisting my saddle to 90 degrees,” explained Pendrel. “I couldn’t fix it, so had to ride it to the tech zone, losing four or so positions, but was still in the game. I was fine after the crash; hurt my right hand a bit but nothing serious. I was riding in fifth with Maja [Wloszczowska, Poland] and Alessandra [Keller, Switzerland] when again another unfocused crash allowed them to get away. Frustrating but the form is there.”
For Batty, the bronze medalist at the world championships a week earlier, it was a frustrating start to the race as she flatted on the first lap, dropping back into the mid-20s, before battling her way back into the top-10.
“The flat happened on the first downhill,” explained Batty. “As I was moving up, I was pushed off my line by another rider and I hit a stump with my rear tire. It cut the sidewall of the tire instantly. I ended up riding it to the Tech Zone but lost a lot of time and energy. It’s unfortunate because I felt even better than at the World Championships.
“I’m also motivated for a strong finish in the World Cup this season. I was focused on every spot I could get after I flatted. It was really bad timing but I was able to work my way close to the podium and collect as many points is I could given the circumstances.”
“I can’t believe it,” she beamed at the finish. “At first I was feeling like I didn’t have the legs but then I felt better and decided to go for it. It’s crazy to race against the world’s best and win. I’m so happy.”
Pendrel remains second overall, but is now 156 points behind Langvad’s 776 points with Rissveds taking over third overall, while Batty drops from fourth to seventh.
Elite Men’s Race
Nino Schurter (SUI) Scott-Odlo delivered a resounding victory in the Elite Men’s 8-lap race for the hometown crowd as he was untouchable despite a challenging start when he came unclipped and lost ground. Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized Racing led the charge with Julien Absalon (Fra) BMC in tow.
Schurter attacked again dropping Kulhavy who flatted and was soon back with Absalon in fourth and fifth – but the duo were gaining on Marotte and Koretzky, as the latter soon faded. Then Absalon pulled away from Kulhavy and ran down Marotte to take over second but the Swiss leader was not easy prey.
Schurter, the recently crowned MTB Worlds champ, took the win raising his bike in victory as Absalon finished second, Marotte 3rd, Kulhavy 4th and David Valero Serrano (Esp) MMR Factory Racing Team was 5th.
Meanwhile Bouchard steadily worked his way up through the field to 13th place on the final lap, before suffering a flat. The career-best result was Bouchard’s third top-20 of the season on the World Cup, and moves him up from 32nd to 28th in the overall standings.
“I started well but the first lap is pretty short and I had no passing opportunities when the race hit the first climb,” said Bouchard. “I was around 25th, in a big group at the start of the climb. Then, I started picking off places, catching [Australian champion] Dan McConnell’s wheel and moving up really well. On the last lap, I flatted while I was still with Dan [who finished 11th]. I lost a few spots, but I’m still really happy about how strong I rode, and it was my best finish position ever in a World Cup!” – full interview with Bouchard here.
With files from Cycling Canada.