Bec McConnell wins her first UCI World Cup in Brazil

After standing on the World Cup podium five times in 2021 (three of those on the second step), Bec McConnell has kicked the 2022 UCI XCO World Cup seasion off with a bang, and captured that elusive win in Petrópolis, Brazil

After riding to fourth place in the short track the day before, McConnell earned herself a front row start alongside Pauline Ferrand-Prevo, Laura Stigger, Evie Richards and Loana Lecomte.

McConnell took fourth place in the short track, earning her a front-row starting position.
McConnell spent a good portion of the race chasing down Lecomte and Terpstra.

Richards, along with Jolanda Neff, wouldn’t start due to illness. PFP started the race, but quickly fell off the pace and pulled out, also sighting illness.

The race kicked off in a familiar fashion with French National champ Loana Lecomte disappearing off the front, opening up an 8-second gap by the time she’d hit the first climb on lap one.

Race deciding rock garden

By the third lap, Lecomte had extended that gap to 30-seconds. However, a bobble in the janky man-made rock garden saw McConnell and Anne Terpstra claw back 10 seconds while the Frenchwoman got going. By the end of the fourth lap, they’d caught Lecomte, and it was Terpstra’s turn to go off the front. A well-timed attack on the same rock garden gave the Dutch rider a ten-second advantage, with McConnell and Lecomte in pursuit.

Mary Grigson was the last Aussie woman to win a World Cup in 2000 — it also happened to be the season opener in Domaine Chandon in California’s Napa Valley.

A lapped rider and a slippery root would unravel Terpstra’s race, and a well-timed attack would put McConnell in the lead with half a lap to go. However, Terpstra could not match the 14x Australian National Champion’s surge, and at the final split, she’d opened a nine-second gap.

After the ultimate descent into the finish area, Terpstra was nowhere to be seen, and McConnell pinned down her first elusive world cup win.

“I’m pretty lost for words; it’s so special, so crazy. Coming down that hill into the finish, I was thinking, “What the fuck is happening?” says McConnel in a post-race interview for the ages.

Rock gardens would play a vital role in the Petrópolis XC World Cup
XC racing is back! And Bec McConnell came out firing!

“Everybody has sort of been like it’s coming, it’s coming. I’ve been super consistent over the last couple of years, on the podium more often than not — but that never means that the win is coming,” she said.

“Every season, you go away for six months to rebuild, and you just don’t know if you’re going to come back in the same shape or better than you had.

Everything can go well, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen on race day,” McConnell said.

With this win, McConnell puts her at the top of the World Cup standings going into Albstadt, Germany, next month.

Coming off a super successful 2021 season and having just won yet another Aussie National Champs and Oceania Champs, McConnell has now added a World Cup win to the tally.
Terpstra: “Whatever you do, don’t swear in the post-race interview.”

Photos: Fabio Piva / Red Bull Content Pool, Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

It appears you're using an old version of Internet Explorer which is no longer supported, for safer and optimum browsing experience please upgrade your browser.