Mitterwallner wins a very tough Andorra XCO World Cup 2023
Austrian Mona Mittellwarner won her first XCO Elite World Cup in Andorra at the age of 21. Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) has been the one who has best managed the rain, mud and cold to take the victory. Switzerland's Alessandra Keller was second and Ferrand-Prevot third.
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Mona Mitterwallner is the best at the epic XCO World Cup Andorra 2023
The Women's XCO World Cup started on a completely different terrain from Friday's Short Track. Rain and bad weather had punished the course and the whole circuit was wet, with puddles, and very slippery in the forest and rocky areas.
It was the Italian Martina Berta (Santa Cruz RockShox) who decided to lead the race from the start, but this time Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (INEOS Grenadier) did not want any surprises and stuck to the Italian's wheel from the beginning.
The difficulty of the terrain was evident from lap 1, and we saw how the leader of the World Cup, the Dutch Puck Pieterse (Alpecin) had a small decisive fall in an area of wet stones. Something that Martina Berta and Pauline Ferrand-Prevor took advantage of to open a first gap.
The World Champion did not wait for anything or anyone and even on lap 1 of 5 launched a very hard change of pace with which she left first alone and 20 seconds ahead of Martina Berta, the first of the pursuers.
We remind that the newly renewed World Champion in 2023 had not yet won any XCO World Cup event and all victories, so far, have been shared between Pieterse, with 3, and Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV), with 1.
The rain started to fall 20 minutes into the race and Pauline, who was racing on Pinarello's new hardtail mountain bike, was seeing how Switzerland's Alessandra Keller (Thomus Maxon) was closing in on her thanks to her better downhill pace.
When many of us thought that this race was going to be another Pauline recital, on lap 3, Alessandra Keller caught the Frenchwoman and continued attacking to leave her behind and take the lead. But the problems for Ferrand Prevot did not end there and Austrian Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) also caught up to her and was able to overtake her on lap 3.
Once again the course conditions marked the race and Alessandra Keller suffered a slip in the rockgaden zone that caused her to put her foot down and allowed Mona Mitterwallner to catch up to her. There were 2 laps to go and the race, and the podium places, were still wide open.
The cold, rain and mud had turned the race into a race of attrition and there Mitterwallner emerged as the most intelligent on the penultimate lap. The Austrian seemed to have managed her effort better than anyone else and with one lap to go she was able to attack Keller and take the lead on her own.
In an agonizing last lap, where Keller's pressure was very high, Mitterwallner was able to hold the position well to reach the finish line first and take her first victory in an Elite XCO World Cup.
Alessandra Keller was second, more than half a minute behind, and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot closed the podium after an intense final fight with her compatriot Loana Lecomte.
Results XCO World Cup Andorra 2023 - Women
- MITTERWALLNER Mona (CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING)1:14:09
- KELLER Alessandra (THÖMUS MAXON) +00:34
- FERRAND PREVOT Pauline (INEOS GRENADIERS) +1:28
- LECOMTE Loana (CANYON CLLCTV) +1:34
- RICHARDS Evie (TREK FACTORY RACING XC)+1:40
- BERTA Martina (SANTA CRUZ ROCKSHOX PRO TEAM) +2:04
- PIETERSE Puck (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) +2:16
- TERPSTRA Anne (GHOST FACTORY RACING) +2:57
- BLUNK Savilia (ROCKRIDER FORD RACING TEAM) +3:31
- COURTNEY Kate (SCOTT-SRAM MTB RACING TEAM) +3:52