The new track for the XCC race in Nove Mesto was a fast track characterized by long tarmac, bits of grass, a few jumps and all of this within the short 1.1km circuit. The headwind that interrupted all the early attacks resulted in close races.
On the women’s side, with an ever-changing lead, saw Jolanda Neff win her first World Cup this year in an incredible sprint to the finish. Rebecca McConnell was second and Jenny Rissveds was third. With his second place, McConnell now leads the overall XCO and XCC standings. Neff’s teammate and British runner Evie Richards hinted that her back problems seemed to be improving, and she certainly showed it in this race, until she had an accident that left her fall to the back of the group. Pauline Ferrand Prévot was also part of the leading group, until her chain broke and she could no longer continue to finish the race.
On the men’s side, German rider Luca Schwarzbauer claimed his first-ever World Cup victory, with Tom Pidcock finishing second and Filippo Colombo finishing third. Luca Schwarzbauer’s final breakaway was truly impressive. XCC World Cup leader Alan Hatherly crashed near the 180 degree turn and joined the group fairly quickly, finishing 11th. British rider Tom Pidcock rode 190km the day after winning the XCO World Cup in Albstadt, Germany to Nove Mesto. We don’t really know when the man even recovers.
With extremely tactical races in action, this race was truly a nail biter.
All eyes Sunday now for the XCO race, where we hope to see more of the same fast, tight racing. The way things are going, will Tom Pidcock once again show us how it’s done? Will Rebecca McConnell earn her third straight XCO win? Or will Jenny Rissveds, who regularly finishes with the front runners, finally get a win this season?
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