Evie Richards dynamites to win the 2021 XCO World Cup in Lenzerheide
After the intense Short Track on Friday, won by Sweden's Rissveds, it was time for the Lenzerheide 2021 XCO World Cup. A race in which British rider Evie Richards won her World Champion's jersey for the first time and she did it in an impeccable way.
Evie Richards wins the 2021 Lenzerheide XCO World Cup
The Swiss public never fails and we can say that it was the first protagonist of the day cheering the race even before the lights turned green. But the race began and the riders faced a first start loop of 2.8 km that started with a long climb that did not manage to lengthen the group and all the favourites rode in block.
It was the first downhill that broke up the lead of the race and allowed the Frenchwoman Loana Lecomte to take the first position followed by Jenny Rissveds. World champion Evie Richards followed closely behind.
Young Loana Lecomte tried from the opening loop to implement the strategy that has worked so well for her on other occasions this season, and imposed a high pace with which she managed to open up advantages with almost all the riders except Jenny Rissveds.
The Swede was the last to win here in 2019, she managed to win Friday's Short Track and also, following the withdrawal of Pauline Ferrand Prevot, she could now go on to win the overall World Cup if she performed well here and at SnowShoe.
On lap 1, Rissveds handed over the lead to Lecomte and took the opportunity to increase the pace even further, which left the Frenchwoman a little shaken. Switzerland's Sina Frei read the move well and managed to overtake Loana Lecomte to take second place.
But before the end of lap 1 the pace at the front slowed and allowed more riders to enter the group. Bec McConnell, Sina Frei, Jenny Rissveds, Loana Lecomte, Anne Tauber and Evie Richards were now riding together.
During lap 2 of 5, Sina Frei was very firm leading the first group while other riders, such as Loana Lecomte seemed to show signs of not having her day. But the truth is that the same 6 riders started lap 3 in the lead.
Great Britain's Evie Richards, wearing her world champion's jersey for the first time in competition, had been very quiet until lap 3 when she attacked and took the lead of the race. As the pace picked up, Anne Tauber was eventually dropped and Jenny Rissveds was a few seconds behind the quartet that started lap 4 in the lead; McConnel, Sina Frei, Evie Richards and Loana Lecomte.
But Evie Richards again attacked uphill on lap 4 and this time it was much harder. She started uphill and in a very short space of time she was 10 seconds ahead of McConnell and Sina Frei, first and second, and 20 seconds ahead of Rissveds and Lecomte, third and fourth.
Evie Richards' attack was proving to be devastating, but there was still a lap and a half to go and it remained to be seen whether she would be able to maintain her lead to the finish.
The last lap bell rang with Evie Richards in the lead, but Australian Bec McConnell of Primaflor Mondraker was second in pursuit mode and already just 6 seconds behind the Brit. Behind, Sina Frei was third and Jenny Rissveds was fighting to keep fourth place after a crash. Loana Lecomte was fifth.
On the last lap Evie Richards far from showing signs of weakness continued to be very strong and everything pointed to her winning her first XCO World Cup. McConnell was still trying to make contact with her but it was not an easy mission. The Swiss Sina Frei lost third place due to a flat tyre and was overtaken by Rissveds and Loana Lecomte.
Evie Richards finished first to win her first World Cup and on the day she was wearing her rainbow jersey for the first time. Second was Bec McConnell, third Jenny Rissveds, fourth Loana Lecomte and fifth Sina Frei.
XCO Results Elite Women World Cup in Lenzerheide