Words by Flow | Images by Flow

It was a non-stop XCO derby here in Cairns today. No sooner had the Under 23 Women rolled through the finish arch and the Elite Women’s race was lining up to launch into it. From the gun, the race was in Jolanda Neff’s hands, and she held it tight. The Swiss superstar just rode all comers off her wheel on the climbs, and kept it clean on the descents too, bagging the second Swiss gold medal for the day.

Australia’s squad of six elite women was headed up by Bec Henderson, along with Peta Mullens, Eliza Kwan, Kath Mcinerney, Anna Beck and Tori Thomas. Get into the dust below, with our huge photo gallery and grab the full results here.


The UCI has taken to scanning every bike with what looks like a Gameboy to check for hidden motors in the XCO. Peta Mullens snuck her’s through somehow.

Eliza Kwan limbers up.

All Aussie eyes were on Bec to see what she could pull out of the bag. 20th place was a great result.

Bang.

The Swiss instantly took control of the race, with Jolanda Neff setting the pace the whole way.

Andy Blair, on the sidelines this time.

Kath Mcinerney and Anna Beck come out of the feed zone side by side.

Eliza Kwan tries to cool it down.

Pete Dowse had the important job of keeping Bec fed and hydrated.

Yana Belomoina pulled the pin early, retiring after just a lap or two.

Eliza Kwan hand plants her way through a tricky, tight switchback.

Bec Henderson.

Great Britain’s Annie Last rode amazingly well, fighting through the Swiss into second.

Anna Beck, using the dropper post to full effect to hammer down Crocslide.

Jolanda Neff just out climbed the entire field.

Third place for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

Anna Beck.

Karla Stepanova.

This course is brutal. Bleeding noses, broken bikes. The Swiss support crew swing into action.

Peta Mullens through the feed zone.

Dean Clark hands a bottle to Kath Mcinerney.

Neff rolls into rainbow stripes.

The battle isn’t over till you’ve crossed that line. Henderson on the final straight.

Tah dah!

Plenty of emotion back in the team tent.


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