The 2022 Mountain Bike World Cup XCO series opened on Sunday with a new location, in the rainforests of Petropolis, Brazil, and a new winner.
Australian champion Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker Genuins) took her first-ever elite women’s World Cup XCO victory, the first by an Australian woman in more than 20 years. Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory) was second and defending World Cup champion Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV) third. McConnell also dons the World Cup leader’s jersey with her win in the opening round.
Heavy rain overnight drenched the technical course and, while much of it dried quickly, there were still sections of the clay track deep in the forest that were wet and slippery.
The race began missing two of the favourites, Trek Factory team mates Jolanda Neff, the Olympic champion, and reigning world champion Evie Richards. Both are suffering from gastrointestinal problems, and World Cup short track leader Pauline Ferrand Prevot (BMC MTB Racing) also pulled out halfway through the race with similar issues.
Loana Lecomte began the race in a similar fashion to last season, when she won the first four rounds by riding the rest of the field off her wheel. The young French rider opened a gap of over 30 seconds on Terpstra and McConnell in the first half of the six lap race, who were the only two riders to stay within a minute of the race leader.
It looked like the battle for first was over, but then Lecomte bobbled on a rock garden on the fourth lap, losing ten seconds, and then the two chasers began reeling her in as the race leader started to struggle, catching her before the end of the lap. Terpstra attacked on the next lap, with Lecomte immediately dropped and eventually finishing 38 seconds down. McConnell was initially gapped by nine seconds, but she continued to chase back up to the Dutch rider.
On the last lap it was the turn of Terpstra to make a mistake, and McConnell rejoined her in the lead, with the Australian attacking on a climb and getting a small gap. Initially only five seconds, McConnell kept pushing, increasing it to ten seconds and then finally 17 seconds at the finish.
Afterwards, McConnell seemed almost dazed, finally achieving the World Cup win she has been chasing for so long.
“I can’t believe, I really can’t believe this is happening. Everyone has been, like, ‘it’s coming, it’s coming’, and I’ve been super consistent over the last couple of years, on the podium more often then not. But that never means that the win is coming.”
“Every season you go away for six months to rebuild, and you just don’t know if you are going to come back in the same shape, and if everything will go well. But it doesn’t mean it is going to happen on race day, so to get a win is just unbelievable. It’s so good to be here, and I’m super grateful for everybody who has been supporting me. I’m really happy to share this with everyone. I’m just going to enjoy this and not even think about the next [race].”
|pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Rebecca McConnell (Aus)||1:29:41|
|3||Loana Lecomte (Fra)||0:00:38|
|4||Laura Stigger (Aut)||0:01:44|
|5||Mona Mitterwallner (Aut)||0:01:53|
|6||Caroline Bohé (Den)||0:02:34|
|7||Linda Indergand (Swi)||0:03:39|
|8||Alessandra Keller (Swi)||0:04:16|
|9||Kate Courtney (USA)||0:04:20|
|11||Yana Belomoina (Ukr)||0:04:34|
|12||Martina Berta (Ita)||0:05:44|
|13||Gwendalyn Gibson (USA)||0:06:00|
|14||Nadine Rieder (Ger)||0:06:06|
|15||Malene Degn (Den)||0:06:12|
|17||Sina Frei (Swi)||0:07:02|
|18||Lena Gerault (Fra)||0:07:19|
|19||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:07:43|
|20||Janika Lõiv (East)||0:07:55|
|21||Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mex)||0:08:09|
|22||Sophie Von BerswordtNed||0:08:15|
|23||Steffi Häberlin (Swiss)||0:08:41|
|24||Nicole Koller (Swiss)||0:09:18|
|25||Isla Short (GBr)||0:09:47|
|26||Annie Last (GBr)||0:10:24|
|27||Jennifer Jackson (Can)||0:10:30|
|28||Haley Batten (USA)||0:10:41|
|29||Agustina Maria Apaza (Arg)||0:11:02|
|30||Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa)||0:11:14|
|31||Raiza Goulao Henrique (Bra)||0:11:15|
|32||Greta Seiwald (Ita)||0:13:33|
|33||Laurie Arseneault (Can)||0:14:23|
|34||Jana Czeczinkarova (Cze)||0:14:53|
|35||Tereza Tvarůžkova (Cze)|
|36||Emeline Detilleux (Bel)|
|37||Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spa)|
|38||Cindy Montambault (Can)|
|39||Maghalie Rochette (Can)|
|40||Leticia Jaqueline Soares Candido (Bra)|
|41||Maria Castro González (Chi)|
|42||Hercilia Najara Ferreira De Souza (Bra)|
|43||Maria Moreno Camus (Chi)|
|44||Monica Vega Torres (Mex)|
|45||Luma Diniz Guimaraes De Carvalho (Bra)|
|46||Aline Simões De Almeida (Bra)|
|47||Josefina Casadey (Arg)|
|48||Paula Regina Novais Gallan (Bra)|
|49||Stefanye Lindolfo Da Silva (Bra)|
|50||Giorgia Marchet (Ita)|
|51||Isabella Moreira Lacerda (Bra)|
|52||Katherine Lindo Pesola (Fri)|
|DNF||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra)|
|DNS||Evie Richards (GBr)|
|DNS||Jolanda Neff (Swi)|
|DNS||Luana Da Silva Patzlaff (Bra)|