Leading up the first World Cup competition in Albstadt, the course was the topic of many discussions due to several changes. The rain the night before the race and during the Men’s race proved that the organizers’ decision to defuse some sections, making them easier to ride in any conditions, was correct.
The first World Cup of the season offered thrilling races up until the finish, giving the spectators the chance to truly value the spectacular skills of the athletes. The entire preparation and training for the race took place on dry terrain, forcing the U23 ladies in particular to come to terms with a difficult challenge. Both Lisa Pasteiner and Marika Tovo were struggling with the conditions and were not able to deliver what they had been hoping for:
“I did get away pretty well at the start, but then I had massive problems with mud on my bike. The ground seemed to turn into concrete – forcing me to stop quite a bit”, said Lisa Pasteiner after her race. Her team mate from Italy didn’t fare much better: “Today just wasn’t my day. The rain and cold temperatures aren’t exactly my favorite conditions, but that’s not an excuse today. My legs just weren’t good, and I really can’t say any more about today’s events”, reported the Italian Champion after the race. They finished in 16th and 18th place.
Over the course of the day on Sunday, after starting with a mud bath of a U23 race, the course did dry off and conditions improved significantly for the Elite women. Cheered on by many GHOST employees and GHOST retailers, the atmosphere in Bullentäle in Albstadt was just one of a kind. Anne Terpstra and Sina Frei got out very well from the second starting line and positioned themselves in the lead group. Barbara Benko invested a lot at the start in order to get ahead of her fourth starting lineup, but ended up having to pay for her early efforts later:
“I did manage to move up at the start, but it cost me a lot of energy. I was not able to recuperate. This shouldn’t happen and my only motivation to battle on through to the finish was the fact that my two teammates were doing well in the race and that there was a chance to do well in the team ranking. That was my biggest highlight for today!”
Sina Frei would still be eligible to compete in the U23 class, but decided to move on up to the Elite class early. She started the race from 10th place and was able to position herself among the top six riders. During the course of the race, however, the U23 European Champion lost some ground, but finished her first Elite race in an excellent 11th place in the end. The Swiss rider wasn’t real happy about it: “I was actually hoping for more, but I realized very quickly that my legs weren’t good enough for more today. In the end, the result certainly is a good opener in the Elite class and the season is long. I am already looking forward to next week!”
The highlight of the day most definitely belongs to Anne Terpstra, whose personal best result was a tenth place finish in a World Cup: Honestly, anything but a TOP10 result would have been slightly disappointing. I knew that I feel good, winter was awesome and I had so much support along the course – that was just unbelievable.”
The Dutch athlete secured a spot in the lead group right from the start, riding aggressively, yet without taking unnecessary risks, and was not going to be pushed out of the TOP5. “For a long time, I didn’t know if I would ever make it onto a World Cup podium. Today, everything was just perfect and I am at a loss for words. There were so many friends, sponsors and fans along the course. I couldn’t imagine a better day for my first World Cup podium finish. I would like to thank everyone who made this step possible for me today. It is just great to be able to experience this!”
In addition, the entire team’s performance was sufficient to score a win in the team ranking – a first in our entire team history. At the next World Cup event in Nove Mesto next week, the athletes will compete wearing yellow numbers to indicate the leading team.