It’s an ideal start. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot kicked off her World Cup season with a victory on the Albstadt short track, a victory full of tactical mastery and a show of power when it came to making the decision. “Everything went perfectly, I was able to manage my efforts as I wanted until the last lap and when I accelerated, the legs responded”, confided the world champion who, like many pilots , had chosen to ride a semi-rigid. Regularly placed in short-track races, PFP signs his second victory in the discipline after Lenzerheide in 2019, his first on a BMC.
Satisfaction was also in order for Loana Lecomte, fifth, who also won the right to start in the front row on Sunday for the XCO. “The pace wasn’t very high until the last lap and it wasn’t easy to beat yourself up when it picked up. The body is wondering what is going on. But it’s mission accomplished, ”explained the world champion hopes at the finish line.
Indeed, as is often the case with short-tracks, the race scenario resembled a war of positions with elimination from behind. A reckless, in this case Linda Indergand, nevertheless led a good offensive, managing to isolate herself for a long time in the lead. But alone in front, her chances of resisting were slim and indeed, in the last lap, the Swiss saw the chase group come back on her. However, she was rewarded for her efforts with a fine second place, the podium being completed by the returning Annie Last, the Englishwoman, who returned to the bosom of the British Fed after her stint at KMC Orbea. The performance is a little less flashy, but we also note the tenth place of Jenny Rissveds, who we had not yet seen racing at the start of the season and who therefore seems in very interesting condition.
Twenty-one months. It took almost two years to see Mathieu Van der Poel on a mountain bike in competition and this comeback, VDP signed it with a thunderous victory this Friday in Albstadt. The Dutchman did not race at all last year in mountain-bike and at other times, he would not have had the necessary points to be among the best 40 in the world invited to be at the start of the short-track, but the Covid has been there and the ranking freeze last year therefore allows VDP to come back on the scene as if nothing had happened.
If we can discuss the merits of this UCI decision, so it is, and Mathieu Van der Poel has not failed to reap maximum benefits in a year where he excels. Consider that since 2018, out of ten short-tracks, the Dutchman has won eight. That is to say his stranglehold on the XCC, which therefore continued in Albstadt.
It all came down to the last lap as no one managed to get out of a top group that was riding at a breakneck pace and gradually losing units over the laps. In a final like this, VDP, who picked the Canyon Lux this weekend, is pretty much impregnable. However, two men finished very close to the Dutchman: Victor Koretzky, 2nd, and Nino Schurter, 3rd, and who seems to be regaining his best feelings at the start of the season.
The Frenchman, who had preferred to ride a semi-rigid (the Orbea Alma) rather than those who were with him on the podium, was very active throughout the race. His fall in Nalles a month ago, which had left him with back pain, is nothing but a bad memory and the Orbea driver seems to be in excellent condition as the Olympic qualification will be played in the next two weeks. -end.
Besides Victor Koretzky, another Frenchman will start in the front row on Sunday: sixth in the short-race, world champion Jordan Sarrou also showed himself a lot during the race. The other French drivers weighed less: Titouan Carod finished 13th, Maxime Marotte 19th, Thomas Griot 21st, and Stéphane Tempier 28th. But Sunday is the big day with episode 1 of qualifying for Tokyo. Thrilling!
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