Loana Lecomte and Victor Koretzky won in their respective categories in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race in Albstadt, Germany on Sunday (9th May), in the opening round of the new season and the first of two crucial Olympic qualification events.
Lecomte claimed a stunning win over several established names in the women's race.
A sprint finish was needed to separate the men, with Koretzky doing enough to claim the win.
Lecomte claims second elite race win after impressing at u23 level
Lecomte stretched out a huge early lead in the first lap of five in the women's race.
By the third lap, the gap was 46s between Lecomte and her France teammate, six-time world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot.
Lecomte cruised to victory to put herself in a great position for Olympic qualification in her first race as a full elite racer.
It was her second elite race win though, as she won this same event back in 2020 as u23 rider.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was second 53 seconds later, USA’s Haley Batten came in third, with fellow American Kate Courtney taking fourth place.
Koretzky edges sprint finish in Albstadt
The men’s race was a much tighter affair with the lead changing hands on multiple occasions.
Heading into the sixth and final lap, Swiss rider Mathias Flueckiger led a small group who all stood a good chance of taking the overall win.
In the end France’s Victor Koretzky crossed the line in first place after an exciting sprint finish duel with Olympic champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland.
“I can’t believe it. It’s amazing. During the warmup, I wasn’t feeling my shape… it’s not my favourite track here,” Koretzky said.
Flueckiger came in third after suffering a technical problem at a crucial moment. Ondrej Cink of Czech Republic came in fourth with highly rated British youngster Thomas Pidcock in fifth.
Mathieu Van Der Poel of the Netherlands had a disappointing ride by his standards to finish in seventh place.
The second and final opportunity to secure qualification for the Olympics is next weekend (15 and 16 May) Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic.