Sarrou podiums again, Zanotti impresses with 11th place in Araxá

BMC | Sarrou podiums, Zanotti 11th place in Araxá

Good feelings prevailed within Team BMC after the second World Cup of the season. The short race in Araxá was sublime, with fantastic first- and second-row starts for all the Swiss team’s athletes. The Olympic discipline resulted in a fifth place for Jordan Sarrou and a great race for Juri Zanotti, who just missed out on the top 10.

Saturday’s short race 

The weekend started well for Team BMC. In the short race on Saturday, all Team BMC riders could claim a first or second-row start for the Olympic discipline the day after, which was special for some of its athletes.

A summary of the XCC results:

  • Steffi, 7th. Her best World Cup XCC result in her career and her first first-row XCO start;
  • Carod, 12th. Starting from the last row and moving up all the way to the front;
  • Zanotti, 11th. Also his best performance in an XCC race ever;
  • Sarrou, 4th. Excellent, as we’ve grown accustomed to, and more than ready to aim for more tomorrow.

Her excellent performance in the Short Race, resulting in that front-row start, gave Häberlin goosebumps ahead of her appearance in the XCO. “First of all, yesterday’s XCC was my first chance ever from the second row, and I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I lost some positions in the beginning, but to my surprise, I started to gain on all my competitors, particularly in the second half of the race. In the last lap, I still felt good. I told myself to leave it all out there, passed a few on the climb, and finished seventh.” 

Häberlin Araxa

Ahead of the XCO race Häberlin continued: “I have never started from the front row, and I am so excited. For today, I just want to enjoy this moment. I did not expect that I could be so strong in Brazil after my tough season’s start (fractured collarbone, right before the first event of the year in Banyoles). I do not know what to expect for today’s race, but I am going to do everything I can to make this trip to Brazil even more special for the team.”

The Swiss Team BMC talent started well but suffered from unclipping competitors on the climbs and roots and rolls, regularly having to run parts of the course herself. Over halfway into the race, she suffered a mechanical in the worst possible moment, throwing her back significantly, and ultimately coming across the line in 41st.

Elite men’s XCO

Plenty of the red-black Team BMC colors in the first two rows at the start of the men’s XCO race and right off the start, they all maintained their positions well. After the first loop, all Team BMC athletes were either in or close to the first, front group. Moreover, Sarrou basically led the race in the first two laps, powering up the uphills, and putting the pressure on his competitors in the descents.

BMC | Zanotti Araxá

With Zanotti and Carod impressively joining the front group up to half the race, things were looking good for Team BMC, until bad luck struck the French national champion. He suffered from a mechanical in the seventh lap, and even though the Team BMC mechanics were standby and ready to react quickly, he did lose significant time.

By that time, Sarrou was chasing a lone leader who, with three companions. Everything came back together in the final lap, with Sarrou giving his all for a podium finish.

BMC | Sarrou MTB World Cup

The French former world champion managed to do so by sticking to the front group an intense, final loop of racing: fifth. Behind him, Zanotti just missed out on the top 10, while Carod came across the line in 25th. 

Sarrou said after the finish that he was really happy with his performances, both in Araxá and the first World Cup of the season, last week in Brazil. “I was consistent, and that I found most important during this trip to Brazil. In terms of qualification for Paris 2024, this was an important two weeks, and I am happy with how I performed.”

BMC | Araxa World Cup podium

Zanotti was also content after his performance: “It was a great weekend for me, with the best result in the short race of my career yesterday, and equalling my best XCO result today. I am proud of the whole team.”

Sarrou concluded: “The Brazilian XC fans were amazing. The whole Team BMC had a fantastic time here.”

The World Cup season continues, after a short break, on European soil. The third World Cup is in Nove Mesto.