After a thrilling downhill race on Saturday, Snowshoe continued to deliver in a dramatic end to the World Cup cross country season.
While Nino Schurter had locked up the men’s overall title on Friday with his first ever short track XC win, the women’s series title switched hands in the final race of the year. Jolanda Neff and Kate Courtney came into the weekend locked in a season long battle. Courtney had won several rounds, but Neff’s consistency, and one short track win, had kept her just ahead of her American rival. Friday’s racing, where Neff faltered to finish 16th, only brought them closer together in the standings.
Women’s XCO finals – Snowshoe, West Virginia.
While the battle for the World Cup title was playing out, all eyes were on the rainbow jersey of Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon Factory Racing). One week after winning world championships in Canada, the French woman was back at the front of the race in the U.S.A. Racing with a small group for much of the race, Ferrand-Prevot and Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory Racing) created a small gap with two laps to go.
On the final lap, Ferrand-Prevot put in a big attack, holding off Terpstra to take the World Cup win in Snowshoe. Terpstra finished second, with KMC-Ekoi-SR Suntour’s Annie Last crossing the line third.
Ferrand-Prevot’s win pushed her into third in the World Cup standings. The race for the win, however, was playing out behind her.
In a repeat of Friday’s short track at Snowshoe, Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) started with the front group, then quickly fell off the pace. Neff chased hard to bring herself back up to 11th by the end of Sunday’s race but, with the points so close, the series depended on where Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) placed.
Racing for the American home crowd, Courtney couldn’t add to her World Cup win tally in West Virginia. The 2018 world champion was fifth. With Neff 11th, it was enough, though. By a razor thin 30 point margin, Kate Courtney jumped ahead of Neff to win the 2019 World Cup series title. 1772 points for the American, to 1742 for her Swiss rival.
Canadians in Snowshoe – Pendrel top-10
One spot ahead of Neff, Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team) ended her 2019 season with a 10th place finish at Snowshoe. Pendrel was the top-placed Canadian in the women’s elite race. The result puts Pendrel 10th in the World Cup overall as well.
A week after finishing ninth at world championships, Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) was back to 27th in West Virginia. Sandra Walter (Liv Cycling) was 32nd. Elyse Nieuwold (Pendrel Racing) finished 48th. Haley Smith (Norco Factory Racing) ended her race with a unfortunately timed flat tire, in 51st.
In the men’s race, it was Leandre Bouchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) finishing first for Canada. Bouchard was 23rd in West Virginia. Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team) was next across the line in 51st. Also the victim of a flat tire, Disera had been riding in the top-15 for the first five of ten laps.
Raphael Gagne finished 62nd in Snowshoe, Felix Belhumeur (Pivot Cycles-OTE) 66th, Alexandre Vialle 67th, Andrew L’Esperance (Norco Factory Racing) 70th, and Marc-Andre Fortier (Pivot Cycles-OTE) 71st.
Men’s XCO finals – Snowshoe, West Virginia
Having locked up his seventh World Cup series title on Friday in the short track XC race, Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) was free to race for the win on Sunday in Snowshoe, with no concern for preserving series points.
Instead, it was Schurter’s Scott-SRAM teammate Lars Forster on the front at the end of a fast, closely fought race.
At the finish line, the top 5 were within 10 seconds of Forster’s winning time. Schurter was second, but with a pair of Cannondale Factory Racing riders hot on his heels. Maxime Marrotte was one second behind Schurter, and Henrique Avancini another second arrears. Stephane Tempier of the Bianchi Countervail team that is folding at the season, landed the final podium spot in fifth.
Schurter wins the World Cup overall. While absent the final round, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) had enough points before the West Virginia race to take second overall, with Henrique Avancini third.
Results: Women’s XCO World Cup – Snowshoe, West Virginia
Results: Men’s XCO World Cup – Snowshoe, West Virginia
Standings – Elite Men’s XCO World Cup overall
Standings – Elite Women’s XCO World Cup overall