As we head to Italy, Val De Sole this weekend for what should be a well fought championship battle between Nino Schurter (Swiss) and Julian Absolam (France) in the men’s category and Yolanda Neff (Swiss) and Gunn-rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway).
For years I was on the record as saying an XC event could be won on the decent and I was finally vindicated at the end of 2014 when Julien Absalon had no choice but to switch from a hardtail to a full suspension bike to compete with Nino’s blistering speed both ascending and descending.
Of course who wouldn’t take Nino’s full suspension miracle Scott rig weighing in at just less then 18lbs. For most of us mortals, our full suspension bikes will be in the low to mid 20’s and we still might fancy hardtail.
Yoland Neff still prefers her hardtail, and at Canada, Mont-Sainte-Anne Yoland was taking lines that the men weren’t taking during the race on her hard tail while almost the whole men’s field were on full suspension bikes.
It was super impressive from where I was sitting. Especially after we found out that she had knocked herself out before the race.
So my prediction for the Men’s race will be Nino, who I believe is in slightly better shape than Julien and maybe even a little hungrier now for the win.
For the women’s, Yolanda, she seems to be in the best shape, and definitely oozing with the most skills. It has been great to see a few of the women mixing it up on the podium an Leah Davis (USA), Catherine Pendrel (Canada), Emily Batty (Canada) and Pauline Prevo Ferrand (France).
Watch it live: XCO UCI Worldcup Round 9 Live Italy Val De Sole