Fast and tactical racing in the XC short track set the tone for the cross-country, as Evie Richards and Victor Koretzky turned second and third places on Friday into victories on Sunday's races for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Short track XC race wrap-up

Women's Elite

Short track winner Jenny Rissveds was quick off the line and led the start lap with newly-crowned World Champion Evie Richards. Like Rissveds, Loana Lecomte made a return to racing after illness saw her sit out the World Championships - unbeaten in the first four rounds, the series leader was straight back into the thick of the action alongside Anne Terpstra, Anne Tauber, Sina Frei, and Haley Batten. Loana Lecomte looked untouchable early in the season and her illness and absence gave the rest of the field the opportunity to race and gain confidence.

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Evie Richards dropped a few places in the first full lap as Rissveds and Lecomte pulled clear at the front while Frei moved up into third - but, by the end of lap one, they were back together and joined by Rebecca MacConnell and Tauber to form an exciting lead group of six. Evie showed great composure by not panicking and letting her body settle into the race.

Tauber was the first to crack as Frei put the pressure on in lap two, but the rest of the group continued a relentless, aggressive pace; Rissveds was hanging just off the back in fifth, riding her characteristic calm and constant rhythm as she stamped on the pedals calmly.

At lap four Richards split the group with an attack on the road climb, which was enough to pull clear at the front and drop Lecomte and Rissveds - she checked back over her shoulder, saw the damage, and kept her foot on the gas to cross the line with one lap to go holding a few seconds over MacConnell, with Frei close behind in third and buoyed by the roaring Swiss crowd.

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There was an incredible misfortune for Frei, who had a rear-wheel flat tire and was passed in the pits by Lecomte and Rissveds. Out in front, Richards was under pressure from MacConnell, but keeping things smooth and strong calling on her newfound confidence from her World Championship win last week. - she rode the rainbow stripes to her first World Cup win, crossing the line 19 seconds ahead of MacConnell.

Rissveds managed to distance Lecomte to take third and Frei hung onto fifth. It's wonderful to see Lecomte back but it seems she is still on the path to recovering her early-season health and form.

Women's results
1. Evie Richards
2. Rebecca MacConnell +19
3. Jenny Rissveds +58
4. Loana Lecomte +1:12
5. Sina Frei +1:20

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Men's Elite

Starting as he left off in the men's XCC, Henrique Avancini led the start lap with a blistering pace that remained the whole race - the big Brazilian was keen to control the pack, and the pack seemed content to sit on. With a muscular build ideal for the sprint race of short track, the long cross country course is a bit more of a challenge for Avancini.

Lap one saw Avancini together in a lead group with Koretzky, Nino Schurter, Alan Hatherly, and Mathias Flückiger, who had moved up from 15th in the start lap; hovering around the five-second mark was a persistent chase, led by Ondrej Cink and including Jordan Sarrou, Thomas Griot and Titouan Carod.

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Koretzky took his turn on the front as lap two rolled around, but as the riders began to test each other it was Avancini who once again asserted authority with a move back to the head of the race. Behind, Cink had managed to bridge across to the leaders whilst Bartlomiej Wawak, Maximilian Brandl, and Carod remained a few seconds adrift.

It was Koretzky's attack on the first climb of lap four that decisively whittled down the lead group; Schurter and Flückiger were quick to close it down, Hatherly lost a couple of bike lengths and Avancini and Cink were dropped. Through the tech zone, Schurter, having won his ninth World title in Val di Sole, put the hammer down and kept the pressure up.

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With two laps to go, Flückiger played his cards and made a big attack, once again on the road climb - he managed to create a gap, but Schurter reeled him back and it looked like we might have a rematch of the World Championship battle. Koretzky and Hatherly were persistent in their chase though, and, having made it back to the leaders, it was the Frenchman who unleashed fireworks in the final lap.

An initial dig attack through the tech zone was backed up with another attack on the final punchy climb of the lap and was enough to put Koretzky a few precarious seconds ahead of the Swiss duo; Koretzky was fully committed and came up over the bridge and onto the finish with a gap big enough to avoid a sprint but small enough to keep him hard on the pedals until the final 50 meters.

Behind him, Schurter pulled another sneaky inside line on Flückiger to go into second, at which point Flückiger cracked and settled for third. Hatherly held onto for fourth at eighteen seconds, while Carod was able to pull clear of Avancini to take the final spot on the podium.

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Men's results
1. Victor Koretzky
2. Nino Schurter +2
3. Mathias Flückiger +9
4. Alan Hatherly +18
5. Titouan Carod +31

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