Back to back wins, strong sprints, and a race against mechanicals.
The track used for the XCO race at Nove Mesto was 3.9km long with 185m gain and technical features such as chunky roots, some seriously steep climbs, big rocky sections needing meticulous line choices, and consecutive drops. The “rock and roll” rock garden section particularly poses a risk of puncture.
Elite Women’s Final
The women’s race saw Rebecca McConnell leading all the laps, and taking her third win in a row. Only five women in history have managed to do so far. She did so with a 40 second margin. By lap two, McConnell had already managed to put 21 second between herself and the chasing group. Loana Lecomte finished second. She and the Canyon CLLCTV team were issued a fine for using a team plate outside of the designated women’s training slot. Jenny Rissveds finished third, after another strong ride. Jolanda Neff and Caroline Bohé finished 4th and 5th, respectively. The difference in the time splits between the first five riders to finish is very much reflective of the technical difficulty of this course.
There was a notable DNF from Harriet Harnden – her first ever. In an Instagram post after the race, she described how her period pains had made competing impossible. While an athlete talking openly about this is one thing to be welcomed, perhaps the more important thing is her final observation ‘As I was reminded after, it’s a good/ healthy thing to have your period’. For many female elite athletes, having body fat that’s so low that they stop menstruating has been an unhealthy but normalised position that it’s great to see finally being left behind.
Elite Men’s Final
In the men’s field, Tom Pidcock took his second consecutive XCO World Cup win in a sprint against Vlad Dascalu, who finished second. Nino Schurter finished third, half a minute behind Pidcock. Schurter displayed the insane horsepower in his legs, after having to catch up with the front group thanks to a puncture that put him back by over a minute. He only seemed to run out of gas mid way up the last big climb. Anton Cooper and Alan Hatherly finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Luca Schwarzbauer, the winner of short track World Cup at Nove Mesto finished ninth. Along with Lecomte, Jordan Sarrou and Lars Forster also received a fine for modification of bike plates.
In the Under-23 Men’s category, Martin Vidaurre Kossmann took the win by 1 minute and 10 seconds. Simone Avondetto finished second and Dario Lillo finished third.
In the Under 23 Women’s category, Line Burquier of Canyon CLLCTV took the win by 45 seconds. Puck Pieterse and Giada Specia finished second and third, respectively. The first and the fifth finishers in this category were separated by nearly three minutes.
Current overall standings
The current women’s top three overall are Rebecca McConnell, Loana Lecomte, and Anne Terpestra respectively. Austrian riders Mona Mitterwallner and Laura Stigger take the next two places in the top five. In the elite men’s field, Nino Schurter, Tom Pidcock, and Vlad Dascalu sit in the top three.
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