Challenging race conditions in Andorra turned out excellent Canadian results in Sunday’s XCO World Cup. Gunnar Holmgren landed his first elite XCO top-20 finish in the men’s race while Emilly Johnston scored another top-10 result in the under-23 women’s race.
Holmgren hauls through mud at high-altitude World Cup XCO
Hot off a 12th-place finish in Friday’s elite short track cross country (XCC) race, Gunnar Holmgren started Sunday’s XCO further forward usual. Since XCC results determine start order for the first rows of the longer XCO race, the Pivot Cycles-OTE racer sat way up in the second row waiting for the race to start.
Holmgren successfully converted that start-grid advantage into his best-ever elite XCO World Cup finish. After a few top-30 finishes in 2022, the Orillia, Ont. rider earned his first top-20 on Sunday, finishing 20th in wet, muddy conditions in Andorra.
Up front, Mathias Flükiger (Thoms Maxon) earned his first win since his provisional suspension fiasco last summer. The Swiss racer beat France’s Thomas Girot (Canyon Cllctv), Olympic and world champion Tom Pidcock (INEOS), Jordan Sarrou (BMC) and Friday’s XCC winner Luca Schwarzbauer to claim victory in Andorra.
Sean Fincham (Berria Vittoria) was the next Canadian across the line after Holmgren, finishing 45th and the last Canuck on the lead lap. Tyler Orschel was 68th, Victor Verreault 74th, Raphael Auclair 76th, Peter Disera 77th, Quinton Disera 96th and Léandre Bouchard 103rd.
Jackson leads Canadian women in Andorra
Jenn Jackson (Liv Factory) finished a season-high 26th place in the elite women’s XCO on Sunday to lead the Canadian elite women’s results. Laurie Arseneault (Pittstop) followed in 48th, Sandra Walter (Liv Canada) finished one lap down in 55th.
XC Marathon world champion Moana Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) earns the elite women’s World Cup win in Andorra, her first XCO victory. The Austrian finished ahead of Alessandra Keller (Thomus Maxon), XCO world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (INEOS), Loana Lecomte (Canyon Cllctv) and Evie…