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Rebecca McConnell completes perfect weekend with XCO victory in Albstadt

The Australian takes her second World Cup victory of the season, beating Jenny Rissveds and Mona Mitterwallner.

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Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins) completed a perfect weekend with victory in the XCO race at the Albstadt round of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to go with her short track win earlier in the weekend.

The Australian soloed to victory after attacking Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis Cycles) on the opening climb of the penultimate lap. Rissveds, who had been going toe to toe with McConnell for the opening three laps, had no answer and finished some 48 seconds back.

Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) claimed the third spot after attacking from a group of three chasers.

McConnell is only the fifth woman to enjoy a so-called perfect weekend after wrapping up both races in Albstadt. It is her second XCO victory of the season after winning in Petropolis, Brazil last month.

“Jenny and I have different strengths and she can play games a bit more and I need that consistent speed throughout the race. I knew she was playing with me, so I was trying to be patient, and then I thought now I have to give it a shot. When I made my move, I was able to make it stick,” McConnell said at the finish.

“It’s just incredible. This time I had a bit of time to think about what was going on but there are no words for this. The plan was just to enjoy everything today. My spin in the morning with the team, warming up, and the race whether it went really good or really bad.”

Rissveds took an early lead on the tough course, which was dominated by two major climbs, but she was soon overtaken by McConnell. The pair pushed on with McConnell holding a slim advantage over the Swedish rider.

By the end of the first lap, McConnell had a one-second advantage over Rissveds, while a small group of chasers, which contained Mitterwallner, Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (BMC MTB Racing), and Alessandra Keller (Thomas Maxon), was a further 45 seconds back.

At times it felt like the race might come back together as the chasers began to pull back time on the leading group, bringing it down to around 36 seconds. McConnell also looked to fade slightly on the third lap, losing touch with Rissveds on one of the climbs, but the Australian fought back and the gap to the chasers grew again.

Behind, the jostling for the final spot on the podium was relentless. Ferrand-Prevot lost touch with the group when Mitterwallner attacked on the third lap, leaving it down to a three-horse race for third place.

Lecomte caught up with Mitterwallner and tried to overtake her on the technical descent off the first climb but was briefly distanced when she almost came down as her rear wheel slid underneath her. The French champion was back in touch soon and the pair was soon joined by Keller.

Keller tried to distance her companions on the run to the line at the end of the third lap, but she would eventually be reeled back in.

The front of the race would explode when McConnell launched a stinging attack on the first climb of the penultimate lap. She took the inside line on a corner, quickly pulling out a substantial advantage over Rissveds, who would have a lonely ride to the finish.

McConnell didn’t put a foot wrong after that as she hit her lines perfectly en route to the finish line. Rissveds finished some 48 seconds behind her with Mitterwallner, who had attacked her group on a climb, crossed the line a further 12 seconds back.