In a second thrilling Friday evening race, Mathieu van der Poel stormed through the field in a late-race surge to win the first Short Tack XCC of the season in Albstadt, Germany.

Shortly after the conclusion of the equally-exciting Women’s XCC, won by reigning world champion Kate Courtney, it was the men’s turn to take on the short, 20-minute race format.

Nino Schurter jumped out to the front of the race, along with pre-race favourite Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing). Missing from the lead group was Dutch multi-discipline superstar Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus), stuck near the back of the field after Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus) was slow to react to the new start protocol.

The pace remained high for the first half of the nine-lap race, frustrating van der Poel’s efforts to move up the field. Starting Lap 4, Schurter took a long look back as the group moved down the start straight and, not seeing his Dutch rival, launched a searing attack that stretched out the field. Avancini was the first to respond, followed by Trek Factory Racing’s Anton Cooper.

Two short laps later, the group started to come back together. Schurter’s effort appeared to have had the opposite effect to his intention, as van der Poel had made his way up into the leading group of 15.

Starting the seventh of nine laps, van der Poel seemed to materialize from the back of the group, launching his own attack of the front. Schurter and Avancini responded, making for the odd scenario where the highly decorated Swiss rider was the only one of the leading trio without a win to his name. Both van der Poel and Avancini earned XCC wins in 2018.

Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM) disrupted the trio on the final lap, setting off on his own attack off the front. With little ground remaining in the short course, van der Poel somehow found space to pass Forster in the dying metres of the race. Forster attempted to respond, but the powerful Dutch racer was already mid-sprint.

Mathieu van der Poel wins the first World Cup XCC of the season, with Lars Forster second. Nino Schurter finished third, and will have to wait until Nove Mesto next weekend for his chance to finally win an XCC event. Before then, Schurter will look to begin his defense his World Cup XCO overall title on Sunday. Schurter has not yet lost to van der Poel, who is still hunting for his first XCO win.

Peter Disera was the top Canadian finisher on Friday, placing 14th. This gives the Norco Factory Team rider a second row start position on Sunday. Raphaël Gagné finished 37th, meaning he will be seeded according to his UCI ranking for the XCO event in Germany.

Added to the World Cup weekend in 2018, XCC is used to determine crucial start grid positions for Sunday’s longer-format XCO. For 2019, UCI has changed the rules so the top 24 riders earn positions on the front three rows of the start grid, up from 16 last year. While it makes it easier to qualify on Friday, it also makes a mistake more costly, potentially pushing top-ranked riders back to a fourth row start.

Results: Men’s World Cup XCC – Albstadt, Germany
1.
VAN DER POEL Mathieu (CORENDON – CIRCUS)
20:28
2.
FORSTER Lars (SCOTT – SRAM MTB RACING)
20:28
3.
SCHURTER Nino (SCOTT – SRAM MTB RACING)
20:30
+2
4.
MAROTTE Maxime (CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING)
20:30
+2
5.
AVANCINI Henrique (CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING)
20:30
+2
6.
COOPER Anton (TREK FACTORY RACING XC)
20:31
+3
7.
BRAIDOT Luca (CS CARABINIERI – CICLI OLYMPIA – VITTORIA)
20:33
+5
8.
FLUECKIGER Mathias (THÖMUS RN SWISS BIKE TEAM)
20:34
+6
9.
KORETZKY Victor (KMC – EKOI – ORBEA)
20:35
+7
10.
TEMPIER Stephane (BIANCHI COUNTERVAIL)
20:36
+8
11.
CINK Ondrej (KROSS RACING TEAM)
20:38
+10
12.
HATHERLY Alan (SPECIALIZED RACING)
20:43
+15
13.
CAROD Titouan (BMC MOUNTAINBIKE RACING TEAM)
20:48
+20
14.
DISERA Peter (NORCO FACTORY TEAM)
20:49
+21
15.
SARROU Jordan (ABSOLUTE-ABSALON)
20:49
+21
16.
COLLEDANI Nadir (BIANCHI COUNTERVAIL)
20:51
+23
17.
SCHUERMANS Jens (SCOTT CREUSE OXYGENE GUERET)
20:52
+24
18.
FUMIC Manuel (CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING)
20:53
+25
19.
STIRNEMANN Matthias (MOEBEL MAERKI MTB PRO TEAM)
20:53
+25
20.
INDERGAND Reto (BMC MOUNTAINBIKE RACING TEAM)
20:54
+26
21.
VALERO SERRANO David (MMR FACTORY RACING TEAM)
20:55
+27
22.
WAWAK Bartlomiej (VOLKSWAGEN SAMOCHODY UZYTKOWE MTB TEAM)
20:57
+29
23.
SWENSON Keegan
21:00
+32
24.
SINTSOV Anton (PRIMAFLOR MONDRAKER ROTOR)
21:10
+42
25.
MANTECON GUTIERREZ Sergio (KROSS RACING TEAM)
21:13
+45
26.
RAGGL Gregor (MOEBEL MAERKI MTB PRO TEAM)
21:14
+46
27.
FRISCHKNECHT Andri (SCOTT – SRAM MTB RACING)
21:14
+46
28.
MARKT Karl (MOEBEL MAERKI MTB PRO TEAM)
21:16
+48
29.
LITSCHER Thomas (KMC – EKOI – ORBEA)
21:20
+52
30.
VOGEL Florian (KMC – EKOI – ORBEA)
21:23
+55
31.
BRAIDOT Daniele (CS CARABINIERI – CICLI OLYMPIA – VITTORIA)
21:38
+1:10
32.
SKARNITZL Jan (MITAS MERCEDES – BENZ PRAHA TREK)
21:40
+1:12
33.
IVANOV Timofei
21:41
+1:13
34.
KERSCHBAUMER Gerhard (TORPADO URSUS)
21:45
+1:17
35.
DRECHOU Hugo (MASSI)
21:48
+1:20
36.
LOO Martin (ELIOS CODE FACTORY RACING)
21:48
+1:20
37.
GAGNE Raphael
21:54
+1:26
DNF
DUBAU Joshua (SUNN FACTORY RACING)
19:55
+1:34
DNF
EGGER Georg
14:59
+34
DNF
PANHUYZEN Kevin
3:38
+1:16

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