World's best against young riders

Noah Neff während des Rennens in Obergessertshausen

Noah was able to work very hard over the winter and thus establish himself well in the U23 category.

The first race is something special every year. You can still roughly estimate where you stand, but the much more exciting question is how the opponents developed. In order to find this out, a big test was scheduled for the weekend in Obergessertshausen as part of the international MTB XCO Bundesliga with two events. On Saturday a short city course with many attacks, and on Sunday a classic cross country race on a course with technically demanding passages.

It was already clear in advance that the race would be extremely well staffed, including the reigning elite world champion Jordan Sarrou.

"Even if you don't stand a chance against such opponents in a direct comparison, it's always an amazing feeling to compete with the best in the sport," Noah said in the pre-race talk.

The short track event on Saturday was divided due to about 90 registrations so that each racer had to compete in a qualifying heat with 30 competitors each. To get into the final, the requirement was to finish in the top ten. Noah was able to implement the planned tactic of biting right at the beginning of the first group well and was sixth and thus had a place in the final. In the final, Noah was able to secure 20th place after a hard fight for position. To achieve a top 20 result in such a starting field is definitely a success!

On Sunday the starting field for the XCO race grew to 130 starters. With 1 degree and snowfall, the conditions were anything but optimal, but that is also part of mountain biking. Noah had to start from 116th place, but was able to break into the top 50 in the first ten minutes of the race. He coped well with the adverse conditions and made up places lap after lap. "My big advantage was that my bike worked perfectly and I didn't have any crashes or technical problems. This led to the fact that I could ride my rhythm and thus go to my limit," Noah said in the debriefing. After about 90 minutes and five big laps, Noah secured 35th place, so he can be very happy with that!

"Noah has done a lot over the winter and it's nice to see that he can implement what he has worked for," said his coach Dr. Hannes Nepper.

So the first race weekend of the season together is done. Even though the conditions were tough, each rider could see the joy of finally competing again. The cohesion and the passion for racing - that's what unites this team.

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