Schurter and Terpstra battle to Vallnord XCO wins at high altitude

Nino Schurter and Anne Terpstra dug deep to record brave UCI MTB World Cup XCO wins at the exhausting high altitude stop of Vallnord.

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Henrique Avancini.


The men's race saw some of the leading contenders struggle early on with Czech rider Ondrej Cink eventually battling to the front with Brazilian Avancini.


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Nino Schurter follows Mathias Flueckiger.


Cink soon fell back with a heart problem, leaving reigning champion Schurter and Swiss compatriot Mathias Flueckiger to move up alongside Avancini.


Flueckiger looked on track for victory, however the Olympic and world champion summoned a great last-gasp sprint to seal his first 2019 XCO World Cup win.


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Mathias Flueckiger.


Avancini was 12 seconds behind for his best result with Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Frenchman Jordan Sarrou rounding out the men's podium.


Schurter, 33, said: "It was super tough. It is the hardest to race at high altitude. You are always suffering. The sprint worked out pretty well."


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Nino Schurter.


Avancini, 30, explained: "I am stepping up and a positive outcome for the weekend. I was not far from the win. I just missed the move towards the end."


In the women, Terpstra became the first ever Dutch women's XCO winner on the World Cup circuit with a gutsy victory over reigning champion Jolanda Neff.


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Jolanda Neff.


Terpstra had the lead for the majority of the race with Swiss star Neff unable to bridge the gap as Ukrainian Yana Belomoina hit back superbly for third place.


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Yana Belomoina.


Terpstra, 28, said: "I knew I prepared very good for the altitude because normally it is a weakness for me. I also wanted to take a risk. I did my own race, my own pace."


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Anne Terpstra.


Sweden's Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds produced a brilliant ride for fifth as she struggled to contain her emotion following her 2019 return from depression.


Rissveds revealed: "I can't stop crying. I did not believe that I could come back and be up here. From Nové Město until now, I really started to work on my mind game again. It is incredible what your head can do if you believe in yourself. It is just amazing."


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Jenny Rissveds.