Kate Courtney’s dream season continues.
Courtney (Scott-SRAM), the defending UCI mountain-bike cross-country world champion, went two-for-two at this weekend’s UCI mountain bike World Cup in Les Gets, France.
The American phenom won the short-track cross-country race in Friday afternoon before dominating the cross-country race on Sunday. In both races Courtney battled the hot conditions on the dry and dusty course high in the French Alps.
“It was a big weekend for me but I’m new to this and learning to focus on one race at a time, race within myself and not let the pressure get to me,” Courtney said after Sunday’s cross-country win.
Courtney won both races in dominating fashion. In the short track Courtney rode at the front of the women’s field for the opening six laps before attacking at the beginning of the penultimate lap.
Her move shattered the bunch, forcing Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM), Elizabeth Brandau, and Jolanda Neff (Trek-Segafredo) to chase. Courtney held off a late charge by Ferrand-Prevot to cross the line by herself.
“In these races you have to respond to what’s happening and we’ve had so many people at the front so that it’s unpredictable,” Courtney said. “My plan today was to just embrace the moment and let go of perfection. You have to be willing to risk it big to win big.”
During Sunday’s cross-country Courtney got her gap on the first lap, less than 10 minutes into the race. After an early surge by Brandau, Courtney dropped the German rider on a long, swooping downhill, and then grew her gap on the ensuing section of climbs. It was all Courtney needed, and she tapped out a steady rhythm on the hilly course on her hard tail mountain bike.
Courtney maintained her gap on the field, eventually crossing the line 33 seconds ahead of Neff.
“There’s no such thing as perfection,” Courtney said after the win. “But today I let go of that and just rode my own race and focused on my own objectives and I’m happy it worked out.”
Sunday’s victory marks Courtney’s third cross-country win of the year, and boosts her lead in the series overall. Earlier this year Courtney swept both races at the World Cup opener in Albstadt, Germany, before taking the cross-country victory at the following World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
She now leads Neff in the UCI World Cup standings, 1,265 points to Neff’s 1,090.