The weather in Albstadt, Germany, made for interesting World Cup racing as the season kicked off this weekend, and racers were forced to contend with rain and snow on Friday for the short track, followed by sunny skies and blistering heat for the cross-country race on Sunday. Friday saw Emily Batty move through the pack in the short track to finish 17th, while Sunday's five-lap race saw Emily in 27th and Laurie Arsenault in 50th position.
While the Canyon MTB Racing Team had done a smaller race the weekend prior, this World Cup was the first big event for the team, and didn't disappoint. The team's setup, from the van to the tent, has been optimized for full race days in any weather, and while warming up wearing layers was critical on Friday, Sunday called for the team to pull ice bags out of the coolers to stay cool during warmup.
The course at Albstadt is all about tough climbs and high-speed descents, on repeat around the entire course, with the exception of the starting stretch of flat tarmac. The four kilometer course includes a whopping 190 meters of elevation, making it one of the most physically demanding World Cup courses on the circuit. Laurie Arsenault was able to make up 35 positions during the race, after an 85th place call-up and being caught in a crash at the start. Even a broken shoe couldn't slow her down in her first World Cup as an elite rider. Early in the race, Emily Batty moved into 15th, but eventually faded back into 27th. (Full results on Pinkbike here.)
"I'm happy of my progression during the race," Arsenault says. "Slowly finding my pace while celebrating small victories and enjoying the process. That’s a mantra that never failed me before. Let’s fight for next weekend!"
After round one of the World Cup, Emily Batty stands in 24th position, the top Canadian in the women's rankings. Laurie Arsenault is in 54th position. (Check out the full list on Pinkbike here.) Missed some of the short track or cross-country racing action? You can watch full replays of all the elite races from the weekend on Red Bull here, or read the race reports from Cycling News here. Coming up next, the team heads to Nové Město in the Czech Republic for the next World Cup racing round—the last of the Olympic qualifying races—and the action starts on Friday with the short track race at 11:50AM EST on Red Bull TV.