Senior Women XCO Report: UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Home » Mountain Bike (MTB)

Irina Kalentieva is the World Champion again - repeating her win in 2007 in Fort William. The diminutive Russian rider who was down in 21st on lap one fought all the way back to take the win in a nailbiting finale, head to head wih Lene Byberg. If you missed the live broadcast we've got the running commentary and race replay.

The race has just started at 1000hrs local time.
Maja Wlosczowska does not start after a crash in the team relay - breaking her jaw.

Katrin Leaumann slips a pedal on the start but comes back to lead, before Blaza Klemencic takes over.

This is more like a road race than a mtb race in these early stages, with very few height changes.

Into the first singletrack and it is Eva Lechner of Italy leading, despite binning it in the rocks. Cecile Rode Ravanel second, Lene Byberg third, Spitz fourth, Klemencic fifth.

Ravanel into the lead as we go into the hammerhead with Lechner dropping to second and Kalentieva third. Byberg and Spitz in sight still as the TV chopper buzzes overhead.

All singletrack even in these early stages. SItting around 10-15 is Marga Fullana looking uncomfortable.

Into the feed for the first time and both Ravanel and Leumann are killing it, totally sprinting out of the saddle. From here there is a clear gap of around ten seconds to the next rider as they approach Blackberry Climb. On this climb both riders are taking turns before coming into a technical climb, but closing in is a chase group of four containing Sabine Spitz, Lene Byberg. They will make the junction before the lap end.

Hopefully you are getting the excellent shots live from Freecaster and the commentary thanks to Martin Whitely. He has transformed the XC coverage this year.

Now the chase group has become the lead group, Spitz bridging to Ravanel and Lechner. Also in the group is Catherine Pendrel, Irina Kalentieva, Blaza Klemencic, Lene Byberg.

End of lap one:
1. Lene Byberg 20.58
2. Cecil Rode Ravanel at 00.00
3. Eva Lechner at 00.00
4. Catherine Pendrel at 00.00
5. Sabine Spitz at 00.00
6. Willow Koerber at 00.00
7. Blaza Klemencic at 00.02
8. Anna Sczafraniec at 00.10
9. Katie Compton at 00.29
10. Marie-Helene Premont at 01.10

Sabine Spitz is at the front leading Lene Byberg, Pendrel, Ravanel and Compton up Cardiac Climb.

Pendrel with a bike problem after a couple of crashes in the big rocks. Koerber sneaks past on her 29er on a little short cut and is looking to catch the duo of Spitz and Byberg, the current leaders.

The power is going down now from Ravanel because she can sense the gaps opening. As thirty minutes come up on the clock, the riders negotiate the bridge Sabine Spitz has a good five seconds of clear air. Chasing is Lene Byberg and behind her the duo of Ravanel and Willow Koerber are at ten seconds.

And it's now clear that Byberg is descending better than Spitz.

We've just got word that Burney is going to be in the booth. Nice - this should be killer commentary and well worth the money in coffee.

Through the feed and Spitz is joined by Byberg, then a pairing of Koerber and Ravanel at 5-10 seconds. At around thirty seconds are Irina Kalentieva and Marga Fullana who is recovering from a bad start.

Byberg makes an attack toward the end of the second lap - she can feel she is faster than Spitz in the downhill and that is clear air that Sabine can ill afford to give out.

End Of Lap Two:
1. Lene Byberg 41.26
2. Sabine Spitz +0.5
3. Willow Koerber + 0.14
4. Cecile Ravanel +0.16
5. Catherine Pendrel +0.42
6. Anna Sczafraniec +0.42
7. Eva Lechner +1.03
8. Katie Compton +1.05
9. Blaza Klemencic +1.05
10. Irina Kalentieva +1.20

Lene Byberg is now in clear air, riding free. Sabine Spitz is chasing hard at five seconds. While Lene is descending well her climbing in the technical department isn't all that hot today. Spitz, Koerber, Ravanel, Pendrel and Sczafraniec all clearing the technical bit of the cardiac climb no problem as Lene slips.

For a moment we have cut further down the field to Marga Fullana. She is really out of her depth on this more technical track, she is walking and really blocking up the track! This is mountain biking.

Into the second, much more open half of the track and this is the halfway point of the race. Byberg we can see has a decent lead now of 20 seconds. Behind Sabine Spitz and Willow Koerber are rolling toghether. If the conditions are extremely windy - as they have been earlier in the week - that could be an advantage.

A quick Brit update - Sue Clarke is down in 46th - maybe she had a crash or mechanical on lap one?

End Of Lap 3:

1. Lene Byberg 1.02.08
2. Willow Koerber +0.00.20
3. Sabine Spitz +0.00.21
4. Cecile Ravanel +0.00.43
5. Irina Kalentieva +0.00.52
6. Catherine Pendrel +0.00.52
7. Anna Sczafraniec +0.01.04
8. Katie Compton +0.01.57
9. Eva Lechner +0.01.57
10. Heather Irmiger +0.02.15

The penultimate lap of the World Champs. Lene Byberg still has the lead but Sabine Spitz and Willow Koerber are still well within contention. All it takes is a crash or a mistake and that's it, game over. But watching Sabine on the latter section of the climb it is clear she is now feeling that burn in a big way, wobbling across the track and losing control.

An interesting point - of the top three women Lene is on a full suspension (Specialized Epic), Sabine is on a fully - a big shock since she really loves to ride hardtail (some sort of Ghost carbon, not sure if it is a one off or commercially available?) and Willow Koerber is on her Gary Fisher 29er. A real mix of non-conventional bikes in there!

Even on the penultimate lap Lene is still smashing it in the big dog up the firetrack climb! That is pure power right there - but you'd expect nothing less from the countrywoman of the great champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesja. She's out of competition this year because she has become a mother for the first time, but Norway is sure being represented admirably by the natural successor to Gunn-Rita.

Fresh from Maja Wlosczowska on the Freecaster forum:

"Hello everybody! Thank you freecaster for great show and many interesting information :). I regret very much I can't ride today, rocks on hammer had were stronger than me. I hoped for a great fight to get the rainbow jersey but that's life... I look forward to Mont Saint Anne next year. Greetings! Maja!"

Get well soon Maja!

Back on the racetrack and Willow Koerber is putting an attack down to try and get back to the Rainbow jersey position. Sabine is dropping back a little now as Irina Kalentieva moves into third position. If only Irina hadn't had that bum first lap who knows what the result could have been.

End of lap four:
1. Lene Byberg 1.22.50
2. Willow Koerber +0.00.19
3. Irina Kalentieva +0.00.29
4. Sabine Spitz +0.00.32
5. Anna Sczafraniec +0.00.58
6. Catherine Pendrel +0.01.13
7. Cecile Ravanel +0.01.43

This is what it has all come down to! the final lap of the Worlds and there are four women well in the race! Kalentieva is on a charge, she wants this so bad and is a good technical rider. Lene knows she is a born winner though, having taken the previous Canadian World Cup. Is that psychological edge enough for her though?

This is getting too close. Spitz is out the back Kalentieva only gets stronger. She is such a lightweight rider that her custom Rotwild bike is thinner than normal carbon! To compare it to the other bikes mentioned earlier it is totally conventional. A 100mm carbon hardtail.

And on the decsent they are together. Kalentieva from 21st to touching distance of the lead! Can she recapture her title?

Out of the descent now and into the feedzone and this is a battle of the body and mind. All on that descent it looked like Irina wanted to do a Guido Tschugg and bust out the body armour but she kept it together for those few moments!

Kalentieva playing no games in the feed, but Byberg takes no feed. Could that be the difference? Both riders in the big ring again. Kalentieva does not want to go to the front... she is half wheeling at the Worlds!

Lene tries to attack but Irina looks to be just riding tempo. Boom Kalentieva attacks into the downhill. It is shit or bust now!

Kalentieva getting the gap but Byberg fighting all the way now. I can promise you that both riders will be dribbling to the max now, there is no better adrenaline rush than knowing you can win.

That's it - Irina Kalentieva is the World Champion again - repeating her win in 2007 in Fort William. The diminutive Russian rider who was down in 21st on lap one fought all the way back to take the win in a nailbiting finale, head to head wih Lene Byberg.

Final Result:
1. Irina Kalentieva (Russia) 1.43.20
2. Lene Byberg (Norway) +0.00.13
3. Willow Koerber (USA) +0.00.52
4. Sabine Spitz (Germany) +0.01.30
5. Anna Szafraniec (Poland) +0.01.37
6. Catherine Pendrel (USA) +0.2.36
7. Cecile Rode Ravanel (France) +0.03.07
8. Ether Suss (Switzerland) +0.03.40
9. Eva Lechner (Italy) +0.03.58
10. Heather Irmiger (USA) +0.04.12