Pauline Ferrand-Prévot became the first rider in history to win the XCC and XCO titles at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships as Nino Schurter won a tenth cross country crown, while Vali Höll and Loïc Bruni took the downhill titles in Les Gets, France.
Having claimed the short track title in dominant fashion, Ferrand-Prévot went into Sunday’s XCO race full of confidence as she attempted to make history and complete a remarkable World Championships.
The French rider got off to the perfect start, leading up the first climb of the course and extending the lead to more than 20 seconds by the end of the first lap.
Fellow Frenchwoman Loana Lecomte attempted to hang on to the runaway leader but soon found herself in a battle for a top-three finish alongside Swiss star Jolanda Neff and American ace Haley Batten.
The trio of riders continued to push but could not get close to Ferrand-Prévot who won the Elite XCO World Championships for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
Neff pushed hard on the final lap to secure second place, while Batten edged out Lecomte to secure bronze.
Ferrand-Prévot, 30, said: “It was a super hard race and I made the choice to start with a hardtail bike because I knew I could go fast on the climb. It was a bit risky but I wanted to go full gas from the start and build a gap. It’s like a dream to win. think it’s going to be a big party tonight.”
In the men’s event, an incredible battle between a host of riders saw the lead change on several occasions, with David Valero Serrano, Nino Schurter and Tom Pidcock all looking as though would claim victory at one point in the race.
It was a truly remarkable ride from Pidcock who moved from 53rd to 16th by the end of the first lap, before moving into the lead as they begun the fourth lap of the race.
The British rider would then crash on a tight corner and had to have his rear wheel changed because of a flat tyre. However, he would find some incredible speed as he attempted to catch the leaders.
With just one lap to go, Schurter made his move and proved to be unstoppable as he secured his tenth World Championship title and defended the crown he won last year in Val di Sole, Italy.
Valero Serrano would finish nine seconds back in second place and Italy’s Luca Braidot claimed the bronze, with Pidcock just unable to make up the deficit as he had to settle for fourth.
On Saturday, Vali Höll became the first Austrian downhill World Champion thanks to a sensational run, while France’s Loïc Bruni won the title for a fifth time as he reigned supreme on home soil in Les Gets.
In the women’s race, Nina Hoffman looked to have done enough to secure victory when she grabbed the lead with just three riders remaining.
Home favourite Myriam Nicole was next out of the gate and was two seconds ahead at the third split. However, she would lose a massive amount of time at the bottom of the course as she moved into second place.
Austria’s Höll then produced a remarkable error-free run as she took the lead by 0.906 seconds to move into first place and guarantee herself a first World Championship medal at Elite level.
The only rider that could deny Höll was Switzerland’s Camille Balanche, but having only just returned from surgery she was unable to threaten and ultimately had to settle for fourth.
Höll, 20, said: “Before the race I thought that if I could get a meal it would be amazing but I never expected to actually win. I don’t even know what happened or why I went so fast.”
In the men’s race, Australia’s Troy Brosnan was in the lead with just five riders remaining but saw his leading time obliterated by Bruni.
France’s Loris Vergier put together a clean run but was still three seconds behind his countryman, while Amaury Pierron was last out of the gate as he looked to make it an all-French podium.
Pierron pushed but could only grab second as Bruni celebrated becoming just the fourth rider to ever win a rainbow jersey on home soil.
Bruni, 28, said: “This season was not the best one, I tried my best to be ready. I enjoyed the run so much; I made the best of it. I’ve never won in France and it’s the UCI World Championships, it’s insane, I’m so happy.”
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Results
Elite Women XCO
1. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot FRA 1:22:08
2. Jolanda Neff SUI +1:35
3. Haley Batten USA +2:13
4. Loana Lecomte FRA +3:27
5. Alessandra Keller SUI +3:46
Elite Men XCO
1. Nino Schurter SUI 1:21:13
2. David Valero Serrano ESP +9
3. Luca Braidot ITA +29
4. Thomas Pidcock GBR +1:29
5. Marcel Guerrini SUI +1:40
Elite Women DH
1. Vali Höll AUS 3:53.857
2. Nina Hoffmann GER +0.906
3. Myriam Nicole FRA +3.447
4. Camille Balanche SUI +4.205
5. Monika Hrastnik SLO +5.713
Elite Men DH
1. Loic Bruni FRA 3:20.478
2. Amaury Pierron FRA +2.581
3. Loris Vergier FRA +3.386
4. Troy Brosnan AUS +3.910
5. Laurie Greenland GBR +4.051
Header image: Pauline Ferrand Prevot performs at UCI XCC World Championships in Les Gets, France.