World champion Kate Courtney claimed her first ever mountain bike World Cup wins when she took both the elite cross country and short track events at the opening round of the 2019 series.

The 23 year old Californian won ahead of Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff in both events at Albstadt, Germany at the weekend. While the short track win Friday saw Courtney take victory with a sprint from a group of five, she took an early solo lead in Sunday’s longer event and claimed the win by a 49 second margin.

“This win was incredibly special for me,” said the Scott-Sram rider. “Last season, I finished the year with a win at the World Championships and the first glimpse that it might be possible for me to ride at the front of the elite women’s field – but this weekend I really surprised myself.”

Two other Swiss riders, plus short track maestro Annika Langvad, were in at the kill of Friday’s race. But Courtney, having saved herself to challenge late in the race, led through the final corner and held off Neff to the line.

Confidence bolstered, Courtney then went clear with Neff on the opening lap of the XCO event. Having shaken off Neff on the climb, Courtney’s lead was consolidated when her pursuer crashed on the descent. Despite herself falling mid-race, Courtney continued to pull away for victory.

“I have worked harder than ever this off-season and have an incredible team around me putting so much energy into my development,” said Courtney. “Celebrating my first World Cup victory is a very special moment, but it also gives me great motivation for the future.”

Courtney now leads the UCI World Cup ranking ahead of defending champion Neff and Dutchwoman Anne Tauber. Round two takes place this coming weekend at Nové Město in the Czech Republic.

Top-5 results XCC

1. Kate Courtney (USA), 0:21:05
2. Jolanda Neff (SUI), 0:21:06
3. Kathrin Stirnemann (SUI), 0:21:07
4. Linda Indergand (SUI), 0:21:08
5. Annika Langvad (Den), 0:21:09

Top-5 results XCO

1. Kate Courtney (USA), 1:26:03
2. Jolanda Neff (Sui), 1:26:52
3. Yana Belomoina (Ukr), 1:27:34
4. Anne Tauber (Ned), 1:27:52
5. Anne Terpstra (Ned), 1:28:23