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Loss of consciousness and slippery conditions in UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO

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Loss of consciousness and slippery conditions in UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO
Jolanda Neff (SUI) and Nino Schurter (SUI) take the victory in the Mont-Sainte Anne XCO race. While Neff celebrates her third win of the season, it’s the first time Schurter climbs the top spot on the podium.
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In the women’s race, Jolanda Neff showed the rest of the field that she was here to dominate the Canadian round. The Swiss rider shot from the start and powered her way up the technical climbs. Taking the tight and steep inside line on the ‘La Béatrice’ rock descent, a line that none of the other women attempted, allowed her a sizeable time advantage.

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Before the first lap was even over, Neff had secured a 34 second lead on the rest of the pack, and as the race progressed her lead only increased. With the chance of closing the gap to the leader looking very slim, the battle was now on for second and third place.

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Gunn-Rita Dahle was holding second position for the first few laps, however, Canadian defending world champion Catharine Pendrel began attacking on the climb and tore through the chasing pack.

With three laps to go, Neff had already placed herself a 1m 25s ahead of Pendrel. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Emily Batty both passed Dahle, placing themselves into third and fourth positions, respectively.

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Neff’s domination on this course was nothing short of impressive, especially when it transpired that she had fainted and lost consciousness on the morning of the race!

The early part of the men’s race in Canada was very much nip and tuck with a lead group of Nino Schurter, Andrea Tiberi, Mathias Flückiger, Florian Vogel, Andrej Cink and Ralph Naef setting the pace on lap one.

Julien Absalon is not known for his fast starts and it wasn’t until lap two that the Frenchman finally caught up with the lead group. The speed at the front was relentless and soon enough only Cink and Flückiger could keep up with Absalon and Schurter as the race entered lap three. Through that lap, Cink fell away and it seemed that it would now be a race between Flückiger, Schurter and Absalon to the finish.

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An injection of pace from Schurter and Absalon on the zig zag climb on lap four, affectionately coined the “Alpe d’Huez of mountain biking”, finally managed to break the spirit of Flückiger and we were all set for a familiar battle between the two cross-country heavyweights.

With a sprint finish looming on slippery sections, it was Schurter that made the decisive move on the last lap, making a break on the very first climb to finally break Absalon’s resolve. He opened up a gap that eventually saw him win the race by 14 seconds from the Frenchman. Vogel came in third, followed by Naef and Tempier. Bad luck befell Flückiger on lap five when he suffered a flat to leave his chance of a podium finish in tatters.

It turned out to be a bad day in the office for World Cup series leader Jaroslav Kulhavý, the Czech rider struggling throughout. A puncture on lap five further hampered his chances, eventually rolling across the finish line in 13th.

For Nino Schurter, he breaks his duck for 2015, securing a 15th career World Cup win and third win at the Canadian circuit.

​source: Red Bull Content Pool​
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