After a stunning start to her 2021 season, Loana Lecomte will not be on the start line this week in Val di Sole. The 2020 under-23 world champion withdrew from racing before Wednesday’s cross country team relay due to a lingering stomach bug.
Mathieu van der Poel was forced to withdraw from racing in Italy earlier this week, due to lingering effects of his crash in Tokyo. Olympic gold medallist Tom Pidcock is also missing the event.
Lecomte, who is the current World Cup leader, was set to defend her 2020 title in the under-23 women’s cross country event. Having won nearly every elite women’s World Cup this season, the French rider was a strong favourite to win Saturday’s race., but not unchallenged. Hungary’s Kata Blanka Vas finished fourth in the women’s Olympic cross country race in Tokyo, ahead of Lecomte. Austria’s Mona Mitterwallner, winner of all four u23 women’s World Cup rounds, is also a likely challenger for the title.
The French relay team dealt with Lecomte’s late withdrawal quite well. They edged out Germany and the U.S.A. to win their seventh XCTR world championship title.
Lecomte is aiming to return to racing on time for next week’s Lenzerheide World Cup. There, she’ll be back in the elite ranks to defend her World Cup leader’s jersey.
“I’ve been sick for 4 days (gastro), without energy and unable to ride. Unfortunately I will not be able to defend my U23 title this year.
A good little rest, time to take care of myself and I will be ready for the Lenzerheide World Cup with the Massi Bikes Family.
I wanted to thank all the French Cycling Federation staff, my team and Philippe Chanteau who were able to listen to me, support me and help me make this difficult decision, And also apologize to the whole relay team I was involved in and especially “M ****” for today!“