Frenchman Jordan Sarrou and Swede Jenny Rissveds claimed top UCI points in the under-23 men and women’s cross-country races of the UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, in Pietermaritzburg today.
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing team rider Rissveds produced a near flawless performance as she claimed victory by 36 seconds – her first ever World Cup cross-country triumph. “It feels amazing to have won,” said the 19-year-old.
“It was a tough race because it was really hot and I’m very relieved we started at 9 o’clock in the morning,” said Rissveds. “I made a big mistake in the rock garden on the last lap. I didn’t crash but I had to get off my bike and run down the whole rock garden. Other than that I had a great race and didn’t make a mistake.”
The redesigned Cascades MTB Park XCO course has been well received by the vast majority of riders and Rissveds echoed this sentiment having spent many hours out on course in training beforehand.
Jovana Crnogorac (Salcano Alanya) crashed twice during her opening lap, ending her charge for the win. Fourth place finisher Helen Grobert (Focus XC Team) made a costly error in the “Tree House” rock garden on the second to last lap, losing valuable seconds and allowing a charging Perrine Clauzel (BH-Suntour-KMC) to leapfrog both Grobert and third place finisher Lisa Rabensteiner (Focus XC Italy) to claim second place. South Africa's Candice Neethling (Time Freight VELOlife Women’s Cycling Team) finished ninth.
Shortly after the conclusion of their female counterparts it was the turn of the under-23 men and as the mercury continued to rise there was no respite for the young men.
Cannondale Factory Racing’s Anton Cooper was the quickest off the start line but it was soon the BH-Suntour-KMC’s duo of Sarrou and Victor Koretzky who surged to the front, setting a blistering pace.
Koretzky chain broke early in the second lap, ending his hopes for a victory. Teammate Sarrou had a better race. “I’m very happy to win the first World Cup of the year and to take the leader’s jersey,” said Sarrou. “I went into the lead right in the beginning and I didn’t let it go for the rest of the race. The course is even better than it was for the World Champs last year. It was very technical.”
Giant Pro XC’s Michiel van der Heijden recovered from a poor start to finish in second place while betch.nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team’s Grant Ferguson claimed his maiden World Cup podium as he claimed third.
The host nation’s flag also billowed proudly in the dusty breeze after Trek Racing South Africa’s James Reid got the better of Cooper in the final few hundred meters to finish fourth, equaling his 2012 PMB World Cup result.
“It’s nice to be up where I was two years ago,” said Reid. “I’m going well at the moment but I took a bit of a knock when I went to the States recently and had my eyes opened to just how fast I actually needed to be so I came and really put my head down and worked hard in the build up to the World Cup. I’m stoked to get the World Cup season off to a good start, and to be in the top five.”
The UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, takes place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 11-13 April 2014. More information can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za
Summary of results – 2014 UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg, presented by Shimano
- Jordan Sarrou (BHB-Suntour-KMC) 1:22.58
- Michiel van der Heijden (Giant Pro XC) 1:23.56
- Grant Ferguson (betch.nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team) 1:24.20
- James Reid (Trek Factory SA) 1:24.58
- Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing) 1:25.25
- Victor Koretzky (BH-Suntour-KMC) 1:25.50
- Pablo Rodriguez Guede (MMR Bikes Pro Team) 1:26.21
- Julian Schelb (Multivan Merida Biking Team) 1:27.24
- Julien Trarieux (Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team) 1:28.35
- Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) 1:29.10
- Jenny Rissveds (SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team) 1:21.30
- Perrine Clauzel (BH-Suntour-KMC) 1:22.06
- Lisa Rabensteiner (Focus XC Italy) 1:22.10
- Helen Grobert (Focus XC Team) 1:22.55
- Lisa Mittenbauer (Feenstra Felt PB Kenda Bike Team) 1:24.27
Source: 2014 UCI World Cup Pietermaritzburg press release
Photo: Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media