The first race of World Cup cross country season is done and dusted, and it was a wild ride.

American Kate Courtney looked immediately comfortable in the rainbow stripes of her world champion jersey, winning the first Short Track XCC of the season in Albstadt, Germany

The Scott-SRAM racer rode a tactical race against former world champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), with both hiding in the top-5 for much of the eight lap race.

On the last half of the final short lap, Courtney moved to the front. While Neff made several attempts to pass, the American held off Neff by half a bike length to win the first Short Track XCC of the season. Switzerland’s Kathrin Stirnemann (Thomus RN Racing) finished close behind in third.

Canada qualifies three

Canada had five riders on the 40 rider start list in Albstadt. Only 40 riders are eligible to participate from the full start list for Sunday’s full-length XCO. Three of these five finished inside the all-important top-24 places. Last year, the top 16 riders qualified for the front two rows. This year, that has been extended to 24 riders and the first three rows of the start grid, making a bad result in XCC more consequential. Those 24 riders are given positions in the front three rows for Sunday’s XCO.

Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) was the top Canadian in 14th, with Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team) and Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team) squeezing into the final spots in 15th and 16th. Sandra Walter (Liv Racing / Team Canada) nabbed one of the final spots, finishing 23rd.

RELATED: Results: van der Poel wins thrilling Men’s Short Track XCC in Albstadt

Cindy Montambault (Trek) finished in 37th. Both will still start Sunday’s XCO, but will be seeded on the start grid according to their UCI ranking entering the weekend.

It was a good day for North American cross country. In addition to Courtney winning and three Canadians qualifying, Chloe Woodruff added a second American top-10 finish, placing 7th in Albstadt, while Lea Davison finished 22nd.

Courtney earns 125 points toward the overall, taking the early lead over the rest of the field as well as the UCI leaders jersey for Sunday’s XCO final.

Results: Women’s World Cup XCC – Albstadt, Germany
1.
COURTNEY Kate (SCOTT – SRAM MTB RACING)
21:05
2.
NEFF Jolanda (TREK FACTORY RACING XC)
21:05
3.
STIRNEMANN Kathrin (THÖMUS RN SWISS BIKE TEAM)
21:07
+2
4.
INDERGAND Linda (SUPERIOR XC TEAM)
21:07
+2
5.
LANGVAD Annika (SPECIALIZED RACING)
21:09
+4
6.
FORCHINI Ramona (JB BRUNEX FELT FACTORY TEAM)
21:14
+9
7.
WOODRUFF Chloe
21:17
+12
8.
BRANDAU Elisabeth
21:18
+13
9.
TAUBER Anne (CST SANDD BAFANG MTB RACING TEAM)
21:18
+13
10.
FREI Sina (GHOST FACTORY RACING)
21:33
+28
11.
LAST Annie (KMC – EKOI – ORBEA)
21:37
+32
12.
RIEDER Nadine
21:38
+33
13.
TERPSTRA Anne (GHOST FACTORY RACING)
21:38
+33
14.
BATTY Emily (TREK FACTORY RACING XC)
21:39
+34
15.
SMITH Haley (NORCO FACTORY TEAM)
21:40
+35
16.
PENDREL Catharine
21:41
+36
17.
CABELICKA Jitka (GAPP SYSTEM – CABTECH MTB RACING TEAM)
21:42
+37
18.
LILL Candice
21:43
+38
19.
FERRAND PREVOT Pauline (CANYON FACTORY DOWNHILL TEAM)
21:43
+38
20.
LOIV Janika
21:45
+40
21.
DEGN Malene (KMC – EKOI – ORBEA)
21:45
+40
22.
DAVISON Lea
21:46
+41
23.
WALTER Sandra
21:46
+41
24.
CAMPUZANO CHAVEZ PEON Daniela
21:47
+42
25.
MCCONNELL Rebecca Ellen (PRIMAFLOR MONDRAKER ROTOR)
21:48
+43
26.
STRAUSS Mariske
21:57
+52
27.
LECHNER Eva
22:00
+55
28.
BELOMOINA Yana (CST SANDD BAFANG MTB RACING TEAM)
22:01
+56
29.
MICHIELS Githa (PRIMAFLOR MONDRAKER ROTOR)
22:02
+57
30.
BENKO Barbara (GHOST FACTORY RACING)
22:05
+1:00
31.
STEPANOVA Karla (SUPERIOR XC TEAM)
22:11
+1:06
32.
REDECKER Cherie
22:17
+1:12
33.
ZAKELJ Tanja (UNIOR / DEVINCI FACTORY RACING)
22:18
+1:13
34.
KESEG STEVKOVA Janka
22:21
+1:16
35.
KALENTYEVA Irina (MOEBEL MAERKI MTB PRO TEAM)
22:25
+1:20
36.
ENAUX Sabrina
22:28
+1:23
37.
MONTAMBAULT Cindy
23:13
+2:08
38.
URRUTY Lucie (SCOTT CREUSE OXYGENE GUERET)
23:23
+2:18
39.
POPOVA Iryna (+1 Lap)
20:34
+2:00

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