Lecomte triumphs through rain and mud to win MTB gold at European Championships

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Loana Lecomte (France) added to her sparkling track record by winning her first women’s elite cross-country mountain bike title at the European Championships in Munich on Saturday.

Thriving in wet and muddy conditions, Lecomte took victory ahead of compatriot Pauline Ferrand-Prévot by 37 seconds and Anne Terpstra (Netherlands) by 3:08 in Munich.

“I’m very happy for today’s race because I like all the conditions, but when it’s rainy and a lot of mud, I know a lot of riders don’t like those conditions. It is always a pleasure to ride in the mud. because it’s fun and I like it,” Lecomte said.

The women ran 30 km on a 4.27 km course at Olympiapark for seven laps. The first laps of the race were hampered by bad weather. From the start, the two Frenchmen Ferrand-Prévot and Lecomte remained comfortably in the lead.

Ferrand-Prévot, defending champion, attacks alone, however in the second round she encounters a mechanical problem and is overtaken by Lecomte, and cannot regain the ground lost on her compatriot.

“Loana passed me. I had a minute gap (behind Lecomte), so I tried to close the gap, but I think it was impossible,” Ferrand-Prévot said of the mechanic.

Lecomte acknowledged that mechanics of this nature are part of mountain biking and nonetheless she was thrilled that she and Ferrand-Prévot made it to the podium in first and second place.

“We had a good start with Pauline, but she had a mechanical problem. When she had this problem, she was a bit behind me, so I overtook her and so it’s a mountain bike race, and every race is different,” said Lecomte.

Lecomte rode a technically smooth race and had no other opponents in his path to victory, as Ferrand-Prévot crossed the line in second and Terpstra in third.

Lecomte adds to her list of achievements which includes two elite national championship titles, winning the 2021 World Cup after winning four legs in Albstadt, Nové Mesto, Leogang and Les Gets. This season she won World Cup rounds in Leogang and Lenzerheide.

“A major competition like a World Championship or a European Championship is always different because there is a shirt at stake and you can wear it all next season,” she said.

The next edition of the Elite MTB European Championships will take place on June 25, 2023 in Krakov-Małopolska, Poland.

After winning two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup this season, in addition to a second consecutive national title, Lecomte will be one of the favorites for next week’s UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, unless one hour from his hometown Annecy. , in France.

“I hope I can ride for the medals again. I did the job, I prepared well, so we’ll see,” she said.

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