Known for it’s steep climbs and tricky descents, Albstadt has caught many riders by surprise after going out too hard in the early laps and then fading.
Four riders finished the first lap together at the front – Absalon, Schurter, Round 1 winner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) and Florian Vogel (Focus XC). A lap later, Kulhavy and Vogel were still there but starting to show the pressure and, by the third lap it was just Absalon and Schurter.
Absalon tried attacking his rival on the climbs in the final laps but could not drop the Swiss champion. Schurter then attacked before the final descent to the finish and got a small gap, only to crash in the final gravel corner after carrying too much speed. Absalon was then able to get by Schurter to record the 30th World Cup victory of his career.
Kulhavy was dropped by Vogel in the middle portion of the race, only to retake the lead in the final lap for third, followed by Vogel and then Mathias Fluckiger (Stoeckli) in fifth.
The men’s standings couldn’t get much tighter, with Absalon tied at 410 points with Kulhavy (Absalon holds the jersey due to the most recent win), followed by Schurter at 400 points.
Jolanda Neff attacked on the first climb and no one could stay with her. Defending Albstadt champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo Liv) led the chase for one lap but then had to pull out of the race due to an injury she has been dealing with. However, at that point Neff was already 56 seconds ahead of her chasers.
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) and world champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) took up the chase, but for the first half of the race could only manage to hold Neff at a minute. In the second half of the race they began to slowly reel the Swiss rider in, but it was ‘too little, too late’, as Neff rolled across the line to take her second win.
Dahle Flesjaa outsprinted Pendrel to take second, with Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) finishing fourth and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross Racing) completing the podium in fifth.
Categories: Mountain Bike Racing