With a Swiss 1-2-3 on the medals podium, the Swiss XC racers clearly enjoyed dominating the damp and slippery Izu MTB Course.
Jolanda Neff wins gold whilst her fellow Swiss teammates Sina Frei and Linda Indergar complete the podium spots. A historic result that reminds us once again that when it comes to top-level XC racing, Switzerland is the nation of domination.
Great Britain’s Evie Richards put in an impressive performance – she was up in 2nd place at on point – and rolled in across the finish line in 7th (+3:23).
Olympic mountain biking women’s results
- Jolanda Neff: 1:15:46
- Sina Frei: +1:11
- Linda Indergand: +1:19
- Kata Blanka Vas: +2:09
- Anna Terpstra: +2:35
At the start of the racce and the opening mini pre-lap, things wer elooking like they were going the way they were supposed to: hot favourite Loana Leconte leading the way and her French teammate Pauline Ferrand Prevot not far away.
Once into the first lap proper (of five laps in total), things changed. Leconte seems to loose momentum and Prevot had an awkward spill on an uphill section that her slide out on some slippery rocks and take quite a while to regain herself and get back in the saddle. The overnight rain had made the course slippery in places but it has to be said that conditions weren’t too bad. Yesterday’s Men’s race was pretty much a blown-out dustbowl so there was plenty of rain being soaked up by the course without problem. The course had seen a couple of weather-induced changes from yesterday’s Men’s race: the ‘Van Der Poel ramp‘ was back in place and a section of boulders had be re-routed elsewhere due to the damp weather and presumably fears of it becoming overly treacherous once dozens of muddy tyres had passed over it.
Certainly the conditions nowhere near as bad as they typically get on World Cup XC races. Sure, there were slippy off-camber routes and a lot of back tyres visibly wheel-spinning on steeper climbs but these racers are well used to such things.
In no way was this result a mud-induced lottery. The best rider on the day won. And how.
Jolanda Neff took no mercy after Prevot’s spill and Leconte capitulation and she basically took charge from there on in. Never once being seriously threatened by another else. Neff crossed the finish line more than a minute ahead of the next racer.
Neff, like almost all the women’s field, was using a dropper seatpost to help deal with the technical sections and, from what we could see, appeared to be running noticeably low tyre pressures. Tyre pressure is something that the Swiss National tech team are somewhat obsessed about (Nino Schurter was rocking a visibly squidgy rear tyre yesterday).
A quick word about 4th place rider, Hungary’s Kata Blanka Vas. Only 19 years old. Started waaay back on the grid. Finished 4th. Amazing result and something of a warning shot about who is going to be the future of Women’s XC.
Jolanda Neff is the Olympic Women’s XC winner.