Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CCLCTV) and Laura Stigger (Specialized Factory Racing) won cross-country short track races in Val di Sole on Friday. The XCO races opened the fourth round of the 2023 MTB World Cup, with XCC later on the weekend.
Dry and fast conditions prevailed for the 38-rider women’s field as the short track event saw lead change upon lead change throughout the seven-lap race.
Austria’s Stigger surged ahead of Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) for the victory.
Six seconds behind the duelling duo, Alessandra Keller (Thömus Maxon) was overtaken in the final sprint by World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Ineos Grenadiers).
Ferrand-Prevot holds the women’s lead in the short track standings, with Stigger moving to second and Pieterse in third.
Once the men hit the 1.1km track, the field of 40 riders battled each other and the rain. Each lap saw a bottleneck form at the rock garden feature, then the wide meadow area allowed for attacks and passes. By the last lap, 15 riders remained together at the front
Schwarzbauer had room to spare as the German crossed the line ahead of Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) for his second victory in four outings. Joshua Dubau (RockRider Ford Racing) outsprinted Pierre de Froidmont (Orbea Factory Team) for third place.
Schwarzbauer has a solid 200-point lead in the men’s XCC standings, with Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC) in second and Dubau in third.
The next round of World Cup cross-country races will be on August 25 in Pal Arinsal, Andorra.
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