MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2023
Carter Woods turned in a double podium performance at round six of the 2023 UCI MTB World Cup series, finishing third in both the XCO and XCC races in the Under-23 men's class. The Canadian led a strong overall showing by the Giant Factory Off-Road Team in Les Gets, France.
Belgian Jens Schuermans also had a great performance in Les Gets, finishing fourth in the elite men’s XCC race and sixth in the XCO. Both Woods and Schuermans are in peak form as the World Cup series moves toward its final two events in North America over the next month.
“I spent the week prior to the World Cup in Les Gets training in the mountains and putting in some long hours on the bike,” said Woods, who now sits third overall in the U23 men’s XCO World Cup rankings and second overall in XCC. “Coming into the race weekend, I was feeling back to myself after a tough time at the Andorra World Cup the week before.”
Following wet, rainy weather at Andorra last week, racers had opposite track conditions in Les Gets.
“The short track was dusty and dry, with loose, fast corners,” said Woods, who raced on his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 team bike along with a Giant Rev Pro helmet and Charge Pro shoes. “I went with 2.4-inch Maxxis Aspen tires front and rear, along with a 36-tooth chainring for the climb. I rode a smart race to secure P3, putting me second overall in the XCC rankings.”
The 21-year-old Canadian national XC champion had another strong showing in the XCO race. He stayed near the front of the field in pursuit of eventual winner Adrien Boichis of France, and then put in in a final lap surge to move up and grab third place, close to second-place finisher American Riley Amos.
“I was feeling confident with my riding but was still not 100 percent sure how the body would handle the long climbs,” Woods said. “I rode another tactically smart race to secure some valuable points with another P3. Now all my focus goes into those last two World Cups back home in North America.”
Schuermans Moves Up
Five-time Belgian national champion Jens Schuermans had his best overall World Cup weekend so far this year, scoring a second consecutive top-five finish in the elite men’s XCC race and just missing the XCO podium with a sixth-place finish.
“I felt confident and had a good pace going,” said Schuermans, who also raced with his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 bike along with the Rev Pro helmet and Charge Pro shoes. “In the XCO race, I got into a group of four that was racing for third place, and that’s a position I haven’t been in before. The last lap was all out. I ended up sixth, just outside the podium, but it’s a result I’m very proud of. I felt great physically, mentally and tactically, and I know that a podium in an elite XCO World Cup is coming sooner or later with this team around me.”
Schuermans’ teammate Antoine Philipp also had a solid showing in Les Gets, finishing 21st in the elite men’s race. The 26-year-old French rider has been improving each round after being derailed with an injury in the early part of the season.
The team's XC squad now turns its attention toward the final two World Cups.
“After six of eight rounds I’m sitting fourth overall in XCC and just outside the top ten in XCO,” Schuermans said. “We’re going to do everything we can to improve on this over the next two rounds. I’m happy to be in the mix and showing consistency throughout the year.”