Rebecca McConnell ends perfect weekend with XCO win at Albstadt

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Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins) had a perfect weekend with victory in the XCO race at the Albstadt round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to go along with her short track win earlier in the weekend -end.

The Australian took the solo victory after attacking Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis Cycles) on the opening climb of the penultimate lap. Rissveds, who had been neck and neck with McConnell for the first three laps, had no response and finished around 48 seconds behind.

Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) took third place after attacking a group of three pursuers.

McConnell is only the fifth woman to enjoy a supposedly perfect weekend after finishing both races at Albstadt. This is his second XCO win of the season after winning in Petropolis, Brazil last month.

“Jenny and I have different strengths and she can play a bit more and I need that consistent speed throughout the race. I knew she was playing with me so I was trying to be patient and then I thought now I have to give it a try. When I did my move I managed to get it to stick,” McConnell said at the finish.

“It’s just amazing. This time I had some time to think about what was going on, but there are no words for it. The plan was just to enjoy everything today. My morning spin with the team, the warm-up and the race, whether it’s going really well or really badly.

Rissveds quickly took the lead on the tough course, dominated by two major climbs, but she was quickly passed by McConnell. The pair continued with McConnell holding a slim advantage over the Swedish driver.

At the end of the first lap, McConnell was a second ahead of Rissveds, while a small group of chasers, which included Mitterwallner, Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (BMC MTB Racing) and Alessandra Keller ( Thomas Maxon), was still 45 seconds behind.

At times it looked like the race might pick up as the chasers began to push the lead group’s time back down to around 36 seconds. McConnell also appeared to fade slightly on lap three, losing contact with Rissveds on one of the climbs, but the Aussie fought back and the gap to the pursuers increased again.

Behind, the scramble for the last place on the podium was fierce. Ferrand-Prevot lost contact with the pack when Mitterwallner attacked on lap three, leaving him a three-horse race for third place.

Lecomte caught up with Mitterwallner and tried to pass her on the technical descent of the first climb, but was briefly left behind when she nearly fell as her rear wheel slipped under her. The French champion quickly reconnected and the pair were soon joined by Keller.

Keller tried to outrun her fellow runaways to the line at the end of lap three, but she ended up being brought back.

The front of the race would explode when McConnell launched a blistering attack on the first climb of the penultimate lap. She took the inside line on a turn, quickly pulling a substantial advantage over Rissveds, who would have a lonely ride to the finish.

McConnell made no mistake after that as she landed her lines perfectly en route to the finish line. Rissveds finished about 48 seconds behind her. Mitterwallner, who had attacked his group on a climb, crossed the line 12 seconds later.

About Pia Miller

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