Young riders secure emphatic wins in Nové Město na Moravě.
France’s Loana Lecomte continued her perfect start to the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO season with a dominant victory in the Elite Women’s race in Nové Město on Sunday, whilst the Elite Men’s race was won in confident fashion by British rider Tom Pidcock. Here is your race recap.
Following a week of wet weather and extremely tough conditions for the Short Track race, Sunday saw the rain finally halt for the Olympic discipline as riders tackled a course that was more saturated and slippery than ever before.
WOMEN’s RACE | 101 riders from 31 nations lined up for the weekend’s XCO event. America’s Haley Batten, winner of the Short Track, made a strong start, as did her compatriot Kate Courtney. However, a nasty crash for Courtney left her in pain and in the pits with a major mechanical issue. World champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot had spent the evening in hospital after a crash in the Short Track race, but bounced back in impressive style and was 10 seconds off the lead after the start loop. However, the French rider could not sustain her challenge and it was Lecomte who began to move away from the rest of the field, expertly mastering the relentless roots and technical rock features to secure a 29 second lead by the end of the first lap. The battle for the podium was much closer with Batten eventually powering away to secure second, while Australia’s Rebecca McConnell took third ahead of Ferrand-Prévot. But none of the riders could compete with Lecomte and the Under 23 World Champion finishing more than 90 seconds clear of her rivals to make it two XCO wins from two rounds and in doing so kept a firm grip on the leader’s jersey. South African Mariske Strauss took advantage of her second row start to place 31st and Candice Lill ended the day in 47th.
1.Loana Lecomte, FRA 1hr25m13s
2.Haley Batten, USA +1.39s
3.Rebecca McConnell, AUS + 1.51s
4.Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, FRA + 2.10s
5.Evie Richards, GBR +2.27s
MEN’S RACE | 145 riders from 37 nations lined up for Sunday’s race. The track had dried somewhat for the Elite Men’s race, but the riders still had to put their mud and running skills to good use as they battled the treacherous track. On Friday, Pidcock narrowly missed out on the win in a tight sprint with Mathieu van der Poel in the Short Track race and these two riders were once again battling for the win on Sunday. Van der Poel was the first man to take the race on, leading on the start loop, but as the first lap unfolded Pidock was able to move up to the wheel of the Dutch rider and the much-anticipated battle began. On lap three it was Pidock who put the hammer down and the elbow-to-elbow duel with van der Poel suddenly became a thirty-second gap which grew to over 1:30s in the penultimate lap. The British rider looked incredibly smooth as he mastered the climbs to secure his first elite mountain bike World Cup win. Van der Poel claimed second place, which was enough for him to secure the leader’s jersey, while Switzerland’s Mathias Fluckiger held off the challenge of home favourite Ondrej Cink to take the final place on the podium. South Africa’s Alan Hatherly rode well inside the top 10 all day and ended the race in 6th.
1.Thomas Pidcock, GBR 1hr20m55s
2.Mathieu van der Poel, NED +1.00s
3.Mathias Fluckiger, SUI +1.15s
4.Ondrej Cink, CZE +2.00s
5.Jordan Sarrou, FRA +2.21s
Friday’s XCC Short Track Highlights
| IMAGES: Red Bull Content Pool |