Neff podiums at Albstadt World Cup

Second place for Jolanda at the UCI MTB World Cup opener.

The cross country World Cup kicked off in earnest this weekend in Albstadt, Germany. The first stop of the World Cup was a fast affair, with many riders coming into the race at full speed after a pre-season filled racing road, CX, and early season MTB events.

The weekend kicked off on Friday with the short track event. The short track determines the starting position for Sunday’s main event, making a top finish important.

With a short event like short track, a solid warm up becomes extremely important

Emily Batty had a great race, finishing in 14th, securing a solid start position for Sunday

Anton Cooper finishes in sixth place, a great finish and a great start for Sunday

Jolanda finished in second in a close photo finish

After a quick day off, it was onto the main event for Sunday.

Jolanda Neff was fast out of the gate, and kept in contention most of the day

The crowds were in support of Jolanda as she tried to catch the day's leader

It was a good day for Jolanda Neff, who snagged a second place to start off the season!

Second place at the first XCO world cup! I know it‘s not a win but I surprised myself today. I survived the busiest spring of my life and when I think of how much time I’ve spent on my mountain bike so far... then I‘m simply amazed by today‘s result. Just so happy that the world cup racing season is underway now. Thanks to all my friends and family and fans from Switzerland for coming to cheer for me, and of course, thanks to my team for the perfect setup and the fancy bike!

Nice work Jolanda!

The sky opened up in the race and made things extra muddy

Anton finished a disappointing 36th after several flat tires, but is taking away the positives.

The race was a big disappointment for me. After feeling great in the short track I felt like I was capable of so much more in the XCO. My legs didn't show up to the party and while a front flat on lap 2 and 6 didn't help my cause, I still lacked the spark I needed to be up in the top positions. Hopefully a big turnaround for Nove Mesto!

Anton will put his focus into next weekend

Emily coming out of the woods

Emily Batty finished in 28th place, struggling to find the fitness that got her to the second row on Friday.

Another shot next week at World Cup number two in the Czech Republic. Really haven't felt like myself all year so far, and paying for last year's efforts, but sometimes you gotta go down before you go back up. I'll keep working!

Ellen Noble battles in the woods

Ellen Noble would finish a dispiriting 63rd, and is looking to reset before the coming weekend of racing.