Report: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XC R7

Report: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XC R7

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The live coverage may be over, but we've results, reports and full video highlights from the penultimate round of the 2009 cross country UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

Burry Stander has taken his first ever World Cup win in astonishing circumstances, overhauling Julien Absalon. In a race that took no order, Alexis Vuillermoz took an explosive early lead opening up around 20 seconds. At first, the chasing group was a disorganised mess of riders, but it was not long before Absalon took it upon himself to make Vuillermoz work for the head of the race.

Behind only Stander could follow such an attack as Jose Hermida, Christoph Sauser and Florian Vogel were all spat from the back of the lead group and into a chasing pack of ten riders including the Fluckiger brothers, Ralf Naf and Adam Craig.

Almost too quickly it seemed that Absalon was at the front and increasing his lead toward one minute as both Stander and Vuillermoz traded places and made no impact on the Frenchman. With two laps to complete it looked like another monotonous race, where Absalon would restore his reputation as untouchable and the lesser positions would be decided by a lack of misfortune in the singletrack.

But this was a different course, with different parameters as the chase became organised with Naf and the Fluckiger brothers dropping Adam Craig in their search for the podium. Receiving information from the trackside Stander pushed hard on the pedals once more - escaping Vuillermoz as a matter of consequence to stay safe from the chasers for third position.

What Stander didn't realise was that the ferocity of his attack would be enough to close 20 seconds on Absalon on the penultimate lap and as the Frenchman faded for the first time since the opening round in South Africa, Stander overtook the Olympic champion to capture his first ever World Cup win.

The run-in to the finish was far from simple, with the South African ‘kid' shaking in disbelief and making several mistakes on the downhill, but his lead was enough to cover such errors and the celebration of the race win was complete. This, along with the retention of the under-23 leader's jersey and the promotion to second place in the overall World Cup standings.

Only Absalon remains ahead, having sewn up the title earlier in the year with his bulletproof performances, but these last two weeks have been solid signs that now is the time of change in the cross country mountain bike order. Schurter the new World Champion, Stander now a World Cup winner and Absalon showing weakness not previously imagined.

When it came to the Brits, Oli Beckingsale came home 39th after a big crash on the steep bombhole. He took at least a minute to come to his senses before realising it would be a wise move to clear the track, not get run over and preserve life a little while longer. Kudos for carrying on with the race!

Next rider in was under-23 Dave Fletcher. Finishing 80th at a lap down and having a few problems mid-race, this was a solid first-race appearance following the World Championships. The final two Brit finishers were Lee Williams in 98th and John Whittington 127th.


Elizabeth Osl has regained the World Cup leaders' jersey after winning the seventh round of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Champery, Switzerland and will travel home to the final round in Schladming, Austria in seven days as the favourite to take the overall World Cup series.

Coming into today's race in the Swiss Alps Osl had to be one of the fresher riders, opting to sit out the World Championships and the associated travel schedule that almost every other rider in the field had to endure. And while those who excelled in the World Championships had their own struggles, Osl was left to dominate the race with fresh legs.

On a course soaked by an overnight downpour the greasy slopes of Champery took several victims in the downhill stretches - including new World Champion Irina Kalentieva who crashed and sustained a cut to her knee, ending her hopes of completing the double of World and World Cup Champion. Marga Fullana was also finding the race tough, straining to maintain a top ten position in the early stages and dropping back to the teens. It was a better performance than her disastrous trips to Canada for rounds five and six of the World Cup and last weeks World Championships, but far less than expected none-the-less.

Meanwhile out front it was Italian Eva Lechner setting the pace on the start loop, before riders continued on to five laps of the short but demanding course.

With a 15-second lead, Lechner drew the attention of Lisi Osl, who forced her way from the chase group containing Sabine Spitz, Nathalie Schneitter and Anna Szafraniec, to bridge the gap to Lechner.

One lap on and both Osl and Lechner were wheel to wheel, but continuing her ferocious pace, Osl charged past on the steep gravel climb to take the lead. For the third lap Lechner stayed fleetingly in touch but it was clear that when Osl recovered from the deep effort of making that initial attack it would only be a matter of time before a decisive lead would open.

That moment came late in lap three and was underlined as lap four began with a significant gap of one minute had opened. Lechner was struggling and would eventually fade to finish in fourth position, but in contrast Lene Byberg was storming back through the field. Silver-medallist at the World Championships, the Norwegian took time to get into the race but would eventually finish third behind Anna Szafraniec.

After the race Osl commented that she dreamed of wearing the leaders' jersey at her home race and that there would now be no pressure, since the biggest mental challenge was missing the World Championships and placing all the emphasis on the following World Cup races instead.

The best British performance came from Annie Last, in the first ever World Cup appearance for the first year under-23 prospect. She started fast, completing the opening loop in 22nd position, moving up into the top twenty. But a series of crashes on a particularly steep downhill and that fast start - which was essential to get a clear run on the opening laps - took an effect over laps two and three. The final position was a very respectable 29th place and next week Annie starts her second ever World Cup.

Shortly behind was Sue Clarke, finishing in 34th. Sue's race was consistent and a great improvement over the World Championships, where several crashes cost her any kind of result.

Finally, Lily Matthews finished 53rd, one lap down - another standout ride in her first year of Elite racing and her first World Cup appearance.

The World Cup resumes next week in Schladming for the final round and British Cycling will be there to bring you all the action with more live coverage.