NewsRacing 09 September 2017

Northwave triumphs at MTB Worlds: Jolanda Neff the queen in Cairns!

The 24-year-old Swiss dominated the Elite Women race with Extreme XC, claiming her second gold in the event after the Team Relay. Alessandra Keller bronze among Under 23

The legacy of Northwave’s Cross Country Queens continues. Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) brought Northwave back to the top of the World in the most important race of the year, the World Championship in Cairns (Australia) on Saturday September 9th. Jolanda Neff enjoyed her first Elite crown in XCO after three titles in the Under 23 category and the Marathon gold medal in 2016.

That’s obviously also Neff’s first individual World gold with Northwave and Extreme XC: a partnership started in 2017 with enthusiasm and huge expectations, eloquently lived up by Jolanda Neff’s with the victory in World Cup’s final round in Val di Sole and, finally, the Elite World crown she had been chasing for several season, in spite of the injuries that had affected the first half of her season.

Her success in Cairns never looked in doubt: Jolanda and her Extreme XC immediately forced their rhythm, starting an elimination race. The only one capable to hold on with her at the beginning was Brit Annie Last, who eventually surrendered in the second lap, only to successfully defend her prestigious silver medal behind an uncontainable Neff. The 2.23 gap between Jolanda and her closest rival says volumes about the performance provided on the day by the Swiss, who achieved her second gold medal in the event after the Team Relay success with the red-crossed team.

Behind Annie Last’s second place, former World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) rounded out a top-notch podium on the Smithfield Regional Park circuit.

In the same race, two more Northwave bikers, Barbara Benko (Hungary) and Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia), finished ninth and tenth respectively, preceding Helen Grobert (Germany), eleventh, and Anne Terpstra (Netherlands), twelfth.

Jolanda Neff’s gold was not the only medal claimed by Northwave in the last day of the Australian event. Another Swiss athlete, Alessandra Keller, 21, finished third in the U23 Women’s race after a solid performance with her Extreme XC shoes, as Sina Frei (Switzerland) clinched victory ahead of US Kate Courtney.

Good performance for the Northwave team in the Elite Men’s race: four athletes supplied with Extreme XC entered the top-10, Henrique Avancini (Brazil), fourth, Manuel Fumic (Germany), fifth, Maxime Marotte (France), eighth, and Reto Indergand (Switzerland), tenth. Nino Schurter completed the day’s hat-trick of the Swiss National Team, preceding of Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy and fellow Swiss Thomas Litscher.

Jolanda Neff and Alessandra Keller gave Northwave the fifth and the sixth medal in the 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships, started with the success of Neff and Filippo Colombo in the Team Relay and the silver medal of Dane Malene Degn in the same race. In addition, French youngster Loana Lecomte grabbed the silver medal in the Junior Women’s category.

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