The new track for the XCC Race at Nove Mesto was a fast one characterised by a long tarmac, grassy bits, a couple of jumps and all of that within the 1.1km short circuit. The headwind that put any early attacks to a pause made for some tight racing.
In the Women’s race, with a constantly changing lead, we saw Jolanda Neff win her first World Cup this year in an incredible sprint to the finish. Rebecca McConnell finished second, and Jenny Rissveds finished third. With her second place finish, McConnell is now leading both XCO and XCC overall standings. Neff’s team-mate and British racer Evie Richards hinted that her back issues seem better, and she was certainly showing it in this race, until she had a crash that dropped her to the back of the group. Pauline Ferrand Prevot was also a part of the leading group, until her chain snapped and she couldn’t continue to finish the race anymore.
In the Men’s field, German racer Luca Schwarzbauer took his first ever World Cup win, with Tom Pidcock finishing second and Filippo Colombo finishing third. The final breakway by Luca Schwarzbauer was truly impressive. XCC World Cup leader Alan Hatherly crashed near the 180 degree corner and re-joined the group pretty quick, finishing 11th. British racer Tom Pidcock rode 190km the day after winning the Albstadt XCO World Cup, from Germany to Nove Mesto. We’re not really sure when the man even recovers.
With some extremely tactical racing in action, this race was truly a nail biter.
All eyes on Sunday now for the XCO race, where we’ll hopefully see some more of the same fast-paced, close racing. With the way things are going, will Tom Pidcock, yet again, show us how it’s done? Will Rebecca McConnell take her third XCO win in a row? Or will Jenny Rissveds, who is consistently finishing with the front pack, finally get a win this season?
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