And now Jolanda Neff has expanded again. In the first split, she is more than a minute ahead of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. And Sina Frei and Linda Indergand harass the French woman again. Here it looks like a veritable shower of medals for the Swiss women.
Three more laps and Jolanda Neff drives confidently in front. They are almost 50 seconds ahead. However, the Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has taken up the chase and has reduced its backlog after the initial problems. She is now on the silver rank, currently, the two Swiss women Sina Frei and Linda Indergand are fighting against each other for bronze.
However, the French have recovered from their starting low and are attacking again. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot catches up with the two Swiss women. Meanwhile, Jolanda Neff is lonely at the top.
Sina Frei attacks
… and as soon as I write that, Sina Frei has overtaken the Briton and is now in second place. Big performance by the Olympic debutante.
How strong is Jolanda Neff, if you please ?! She is now 28 seconds ahead of the British Evie Richards. In general, the Swiss women are extremely strong: Sina Frei is third, Linda Indergand fourth. The French favorites are in reserve.
The lead grows
Jolanda Neff’s lead is 19 seconds after the first lap, which so far has not shown itself to be naked and leaves a very strong impression.
Neff in the lead
Spectacular start to this race. The riders express enormous difficulties with the sodden route, there are falls and traffic jams on the climbs. But Jolanda Neff is holding up well and moves in with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. And then the French woman falls. Neff drives alone at the top. After the start loop.
After the start loop, Loana Lecomte and Laura Stigger lead by some distance. Immediately behind them are Linda Indergand and Jolanda Neff as third and fourth. Sina Frei is seventh. Strong start for the Swiss trio! Now it’s the first round.
Neff Starting shot
The race is on! After the start loop, the race distance is five laps. Here we go!
A strong start from Jolanda Neff. It attaches itself to the rear wheel of favorite Loana Lecomte.
It starts in a few moments! Jolanda Neff and Sina Frei start the race from the front row. Linda Indergand has starting position 19.
The 2021 season for female mountain bikers has so far been firmly in French hands. Loana Lecomte won five of the eight World Cup races. Your compatriot Pauline Ferrand-Prévot won twice. As a result, the two of them clearly lead the overall ranking. There have been three Swiss podium places so far this season – one each from Linda Indergand (in Albstadt), Jolanda Neff (Leongang) and Sina Frei (Le Gets).
Neff nevertheless sees a chance to break through the French dominance – in the most important race of the season, of all things: “The two are strong, but are not technically outstanding. However, technology is crucial on this route. “
The 3.85 km long circuit with around 180 meters of altitude is considered technically demanding and is peppered with short, steep climbs. The series was designed by the same designers as those in London and Rio. Sina Frei says of her: «A difficult course. The ground is slippery and sandy. At first, I had a hard time assessing the corners correctly. ” Jolanda Neff even says: “It is the most demanding route there is.”
Not too high temperatures
The temperature on the route is currently around 27 degrees, but it should be a little cooler in the next two hours. It’s warm – but not as hot as was feared. The weather change in the Tokyo area also affected the Izu Peninsula.
Nevertheless, Linda Indergand warns before the race: “We are well-advised not to start too quickly in this weather. We have to make sure that we don’t overheat. ” There is a risk of dehydration.
Confident Jolanda Neff
Jolanda Neff has the best prospects in today’s race from a Swiss point of view. However, the eastern Swiss woman has only just recovered from a broken left hand, six weeks before the Olympic Games she was unable to get on her bike. The training sessions in Izu were her first trips since the injury. But Neff is confident: “I am fully operational.” She won the only World Cup event on this route to date in 21019. “One hundred percent win rate here,” she says with a laugh.
After the failed games in 2016, the 28-year-old still has an open account with the Olympics. In Rio, the two-time World Cup winner and current world number 1, started the race as the favorite, after some problems on the track she had to be content with 6th place. A few days before that, she had also taken part in the street race, where she finished eighth.
Cross Country is a Swiss domain. Not only did Mathias Flückiger win the silver medal yesterday, Monday, the Swiss Olympic regularly wins in this discipline. Since the mountain bike was included in the 1996 Olympic program, Switzerland has won seven medals – at every summer game except 2004, there was at least one precious metal.
The previous medal winners are Thomas Frischknecht (1996, silver), Barbara Blatter (2000, silver), Christoph Sauser (2000, bronze), Nino Schurter (2008 bronze, 2012 silver, 2016 gold), and Flückiger (2021, silver).
The fourth day of the competition of the Olympic Games is in full swing, and the Swiss delegation is watching Izu today. The women’s mountain bike race is on the peninsula southwest of Tokyo. With Jolanda Neff, Linda Indergand and Sina Frei there are three Swiss women who are capable of winning a medal. Let’s look forward to around 90 exciting minutes!