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Les Gets XCO preview: The final test before Tokyo

The last time the World Cup visisted Les Gets was in 2019
The last time the World Cup visisted Les Gets was in 2019 (Image credit: Red Bull Content Pool)

The cycling world's attention is all on France, and that will be even more the case this weekend. As the roadies of the Tour de France roll on, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will visit Les Gets, a ski-resort town near the border with Switzerland. 

From the season opener in Germany to the most recent round in Austria, we've been tracking the race to the Tokyo Olympic Games, and Sunday will be the final XCO World Cup before heading to Japan. It will be a true battle, as riders test their legs just weeks away from the Olympics. Certainly, they'll be looking to play mind games with the competition, too. 

In both the men's and women's fields, high-profile riders are coming back from injuries. Kate Courtney broke her arm in a crash at Nove Mesto, but she just took victory at a Swiss Bike Cup race. Tom Pidcock broke his collarbone, and Les Gets will be one of his first times back on his mountain bike since surgery. 

Here's a round-up of who we'll be watching during the short track on Friday and XCO race on Sunday in France. 

Laura Stigger races in Les Gets in 2019

Laura Stigger races in Les Gets in 2019 (Image credit: Red Bull Content Pool)

Women 

Loana Lecomte 

Lecomte has been dominating the women's field since the first race in Albstadt. Her composed riding style makes her race performances almost look easy as she powers away from the front of the race. Will she keep her form this weekend in France? 

Kate Courtney 

The American won in Les Gets in 2019, but Courtney has had a disappointing season in 2021. She just won a regional race in Switzerland, which is a good sign that she is recovering well from her broken arm, but what will she be able to do against a World Cup-caliber field? 

Laura Stigger 

This season we've seen a number of young riders making their mark on the sport, and one of those riders is Laura Stigger. The Austrian rode well in Leogang, taking third place in the XCO, which will be a confidence boost for the 20-year-old. 

Jenny Rissveds 

In the same breath, you can never count out the experience of more experienced riders. Rissveds is the 2016 Olympic champion, so she knows how to build form ahead of the big race. That form is apparent as she took second in Leogang. 

Rebecca McConnell 

McConnell just won a regional race in Italy and has been riding consistently throughout the season. She was second in the Leogang short track but slipped back in the XCO. Building form could lead her to the podium, but she's never won a World Cup before. 

Ondrej Cink races in Les Gets in 2019

Ondrej Cink races in Les Gets in 2019 (Image credit: Red Bull Content Pool)

Men

Mathias Flückiger

The winner of both the short track and XCO in Leogang, Flückiger is clearly on flying form. He'll bring that form to France combined with the confidence of successfully being at the front of the race. 

Tom Pidcock 

Pidcock is a big question mark this weekend. He's been training on the road bike, but how will his collarbone handle the bone-rattling mountain bike terrain? We know that he's full steam ahead for Tokyo, and it'll be a good show. 

Ondrej Cink 

Cink has been riding incredibly consistently this season. He stayed with Flückiger throughout the race in Leogang, but it does seem that he struggles a bit on technical descents. If he can hold it all together he's a clear threat to take a career-first World Cup win. 

Anton Cooper 

The Kiwi was third-best in Leogang, matching the speed of Flückiger and Cink before being dropped. If his form has developed in the weeks since, he could once again find himself in the lead group. 

Victor Koretzky

Koretzky proved that he has race-winning legs in Albstadt, and he just took a win at a regional race in France. There's no counting out the home race advantage the Frenchman will enjoy in Les Gets. 

The races can be streamed on Red Bull TV, with the action kicking off at 5:20 CEST Friday for the short track race and the XCO is on Sunday. Les Gets will also host the downhill World Cup on Saturday

Ryan Simonovich

Ryan Simonovich has been riding and racing for nearly a decade. He got his start as a cross-country mountain bike racer in California, where he cultivated his love for riding all types of bikes. Ryan eventually gravitated toward enduro and downhill racing but has also been found in the occasional road and cyclo-cross events. Today, he regularly rides the trails of Durango, Colorado, and is aiming to make a career out of chronicling the sport of cycling. 


Rides: Santa Cruz Hightower, Specialized Tarmac SL4