Kate Courtney etched her name in mountain biking’s history books again.
Courtney (Scott-SRAM) secured the World Cup cross-country overall title on Sunday by finishing fifth place at the final round of the series, held in Snowshoe, West Virginia. The fifth-place finish was good enough to push Courtney past Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), who came into the World Cup round leading the standings.
“Wow, I think it’ll sink in over time,” Courtney said about the World Cup title. “It’s a battle for this every race. You can’t make a big mistake. You can’t give up. You have to fight for every spot in every race and it’s not over until it’s over.”
Courtney surged to an early lead in the World Cup standings by winning the three opening rounds, held in Albstadt, Germany, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, and then Les Gets, France. Courtney endured a mid-season swoon, and lost the World Cup lead to Neff after the World Cup round in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Courtney came into the final World Cup round trailing Neff by 73 points in the overall.
The duo battled each other early in the Snowshoe race after Courtney surged to the front of the pack. But Neff began to fade after the opening lap and lost touch with the front group. Courtney also lost touch with the leaders at the race’s midpoint, but she fought through the back half of the race to maintain her spot inside the top 5.
“I went out really hard knowing I wanted to make a statement, if I wanted to put some distance between me and Jolanda and that took its toll,” Courtney said. “The middle of the race was about collecting myself and finding the will to fight for ever single spot and every single point.”
Courtney finished 1:37 behind winner Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Canyon-SRAM), who capped off an amazing second half of the 2019 season just one week after she won the UCI world title.
Ferrand-Prévot won a last-lap battle with Dutch rider Anne Terpstra, who was second, with Brit Annie Last and Australian Rebecca McConnell rounding out the podium. The race saw a top ride by American Chloe Woodruff (Stans-Pivot), who finished in sixth place.
Courtney became the first American rider to win the World Cup cross-country overall since 2002, when Alison Dunlap won the overall. Courtney is just the fifth American women to win the title: Sara Ballantyne (1991), Ruthie Matthes (1992), Julie Furtado (1993, 1994, 1995) and Dunlap (2002).
World Cup XC, Snowshoe, West Virginia
- Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Canyon-SRAM, 1:17:51
- Anne Terpstra, Ghost Factory, at 0:04
- Annie Last, KMC-EKOI-Orbea, at 0:27
- Rebecca McConnell, Primaflor-Rotor, at 0:57
- Kate Courtney, Scott-SRAM, at 1:37
Final World Cup Standings
- Kate Courtney, Scott-SRAM, 1772 points
- Jolanda Neff, Trek Factory Racing, 1742
- Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Canyon-SRAM, 1575
- Anne Terpstra, Ghost Factory, 1480
- Rebecca McConnell, Primaflor-Rotor, 1217