The Dutchman breaks Schurter’s egemony in the Bike Land, doubling his Short Track success. Pauline Ferrand Prevot outsprinted Jolanda Neff in a stellar duel between multi-discipline champions. More than 25.000 entries in Daolasa over a unique World Cup weekend
Those who know the MTB World Cup events in Val di Sole could easily expect a spectacular and fascinating weekend, but the edition run from August 2 to 4, 2019 exceeded every expectation from several points of view – sports, technical and attendance.
In the only weekend in the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup featuring four disciplines – Four Cross World Champs, Downhill and Cross Country World Cup, and the new Electric Snake eMTB event - Daolasa di Commezzadura, heart of Val di Sole Bike Land, recorded over 25.000 entries, marking new attendance records and guaranteeing a special atmosphere in each discipline’s event.
On Sunday August 4th, the Olympic discipline of MTB, Cross Country sealed the program. As cycling is leaning more and more toward multi-disciplinarity, Val di Sole just confermed such trend: taking two exciting and intense Elite events were Mathieu Van der Poel and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, two phenoms who only know how to win – no matter the discipline. The French rider already won the rainbow jersey in Cyclocross, Road and MTB, the Dutchman looks on the right track to equal her at some point. He already has the Cyclocross rainbow, he will target the Road one in Yorkshire in 50 days. And about Mountain Bike, who knows: maybe it will be in 2021, when the MTB World Championships (Downhill, Cross Country and Four Cross) will return to Val di Sole and Trentino for the third time.
VAN DER POEL BREAKS SCHURTER’S STREAK IN VAL DI SOLE
After four years of domination in the Bike Land, Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) had to abdicate ahead of the new wonderkid of two weeks. Just graduated European Champion in Brno seven days ago, Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) dominated the Cross-Country program in style, winning both Friday’s short track and sealing the weekend with the Cross Country XCO race on Sunday August 4th, taking his second career World Cup XCO win.
In spite of his young age, Adrie Van der Poel’s son and Raymond Poulidor’s grandson controlled the race as a veteran, until he tore the race open in the last lap. Behind him, Mathias Flückiger (Thömus RN) and Nino Schurter were second and third respectively, and looked impotent when the Dutchman decided to accelerate, giving a clear impression of superiority.
“Today’s race was really hard, the course wasn’t the most suited to my characteristics, with so hard and steep stretches, but a natural circuit like this is so good, and I really liked the descents,” told Van der Poel. “I had a great day, and so I could hold on with Schurter and Flückiger even on the hardest climbs. No regrets for choosing the Road Worlds over MTB: it was a hard decision, I wish I could do both but I can’t. I think I will target the MTB rainbow next year in Albstadt. And in 2021, maybe, I will have another go to the Worlds in Val di Sole – but I don’t know what I will do after the Olympics yet.”
Brazilian Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) was fourth, preceding the top ranked Italian, Luca Braidot(CS Carabinieri), fifth, with his twin brother Daniele Braidot in seventh.
Runner-up last year, Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus) was ninth after a puncture in the third lap affected his chances when he was racing in the top positions.
Schurter held his GC lead with 1390 points, ahead of Van der Poel (1274) and Avancini (1165).
STELLAR DUEL AMAZES VAL DI SOLE: FERRAND-PREVOT OUTSPRINTS NEFF
With one of the most beautiful duels in recent cross-country history, Val di Sole enjoyed a memorable piece of racing in the Women Elite World Cup event.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Jolanda Neff were the undisputed stars in Val di Sole. Two amazing Champion of cycling in multiple disciplines – MTB, cyclo-cross and road. The French rider won the sprint and the race, the Swiss proved once again to be the face of a constantly growing movement, and now back to the leading spot of the overall standings with two races to go. Olympic Champion Jenny Rissveds claimed a remarkable third place, back to the positions she belongs after two tough years, and in the name of her new mission of Team 31. Italy also claimed a top-10 spot with Eva Lechner, 10th on the finish line.
Right from the go, Ferrand-Prévot forced the pace, eventually distancing the rivals. It seemed like the French could cruise to victory, but instead it was Jolanda Neff who started cutting down on her gap, and eventually the European champion was back in the wake of Ferrand-Prevot at the beginning of the final lap.
That was the start of a memorable clash: the Swiss tried to attack several times, but the French was wise in preceding her rival on the descents, where the European Champion would have had the opportunity to make a difference. Ferrand-Prevot got onto the final straight in first position, and made the most of her sprint, winning ahead of an extasic crowd, in awe of two amazing champions.
“Val di Sole is always a special race of the season – told the Swiss National champion – but today was something more. We gave life to an emotional race: I hoped for a top-3 placement, so I couldn’t be happier. Winning a duel versus Jolanda was really something: she’s such an inspiration for the whole movement, clashing with her is always exciting.”
XCO U23 MEN: DASCALU LIVES UP TO PREDICTIONS
Vlad Dascalu’s magic moment continues: in Val di Sole, the European Champion claimed his fourth World Cup win in a row, after triumphing in the Continental Championships last week.
The Team Brujula Bike Romanian preceded Swiss Filippo Colombo (BMC Mountain Bike) after an intense duel, whilst Spain’s Jofre Cullel Estape (Megamo Factory Team) completed the day’s top-3. Dane Simon Andreassen (Specialized Racing) had to stand with seventh, whilst Gioele De Cosmo (10th) was the best Italian rider on the finish line.
Dascalu strengthened his overall lead with 430 points ahead of Colombo (340).
XCO U23 WOMEN: RONJA EIBL WEARS ALL OUT ALL RIVALS
The final day of Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Val di Sole (Trentino, Northern Italy) started with the Cross Country’s U23 Women race, on Sunday August 4th.
In view of the Men’s Elite race, with Mathieu Van der Poel featuring among the favourites, Team Corendon-Circus’ day started in the best way thanks to Ronja Eibl’s success in the U23 category. The 20-year-old German claimed her third seasonal World Cup win, preceding Brit Evie Richards (Trek Factory) and Austrian Laura Stigger.
Eibl and Richards outdistanced the rivals in the launch lap, showing their superiority. The leaders cooperated until the last lap: at this point, Ronja Eibl unleashed the decisive attack, outdistancing Richards. Three Italian riders entered the day’s top-10, Martina Berta (6th), Greta Seiwald (7th) and Giorgia Marchet (10th).
Eibl confirmed her leadership in the World Cup overall standings with 410 points, ahead of Stigger (310) and Nicole Koller (235).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Val di Sole Tourist Board Director Fabio Sacco voiced his satisfaction for the event’s outcome. “I wish to thank all the sponsors, partners, staff, volunteers, and the whole team that enabled this event to take another step forward. In spite of the rain on Friday, we were blessed by a great attendance, with big crowds of fans enjoying the show from the spot, and many others doing so live on the screens thanks to Red Bull TV. This success gives us a boost toward next year and the 2021 World Championships: we want it to be a huge festival of this sport".
Daolasa di Commezzadura (Italy), August 4th, 2019