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Mountain bike XCO UCI World Cup action returned again over the weekend at Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. The race followed last weekend’s race in Albstadt, Germany and marked the third stop of the 2018 XCO World Cup series.

After a muddy slog at Albstadt, the conditions at Nove Mesto were ripe for ripping and both the Women’s and Men’s races had finishes to remember.

Langvad, Neff Have Cat and Mouse Game for the Ages

So far this season, the front of the Women’s field has had a very familiar feel for cyclocross fans who followed the 2017/18 Cyclocross World Cup circuit. 2016 mountain bike world champion Annika Langvad (Specialized) and defending world champion Jolanda Neff (Kross Racing) dipped their toes in the cyclocross waters last season and found frequent success, and former cyclocross and mountain bike world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) is back on championship form.

Not surprisingly, an impressive haul of rainbow jerseys makes for great racing.

Langvad took top honors in South Africa during her hot start to the season and Neff countered by winning in the sloppy German conditions last weekend. Langvad had an uncharacteristic bad outing last weekend, so she was looking to bounce back this weekend in the Czech Republic.

This season, the XCO UCI World Cups feature a short track race on Friday with the front two rows of call-ups on the line. In Nove Mesto, Langvad, Ferrand-Prevot and Neff went 1-2-3 to earn the three top call-up spots on Sunday.

To put it plainly, Sunday’s Women’s XCO was a 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 five-alarm situation between Langvad and Neff. The two went to the front during the first lap and stayed together the next hour-plus of racing. With one to go, the two were still together with barely a tire knob of distance between them. The two swapped lead after lead in the last lap, angling for the best position heading into the finishing paved sprint.

Neff led heading into the last turn before the duo slowed to size each other up before the finishing sprint. Langvad sensed Neff’s hesitation and seized the opportunity to unleash her powerful sprint. Langvad’s initial move was too much for the World Champion, and Langvad took home her second World Cup win of the season in a thrilling finish worthy of the thrilling race between the two women.

Despite trailing by only a few seconds early on, Ferrand-Prevot was never able to bridge the gap to the two leaders. However, she did break free during the last lap to take home third place. Canadian Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) took fourth and American Kate Courtney (Specialized) took ninth in an another impresive performance from the young star racing her first year at the Elite level. Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing) continued her first World Cup campaign with a 39th-place finish after starting on the last row.

Full XCO race results are below. See redbull.tv for the tl;dr race highlights and full race replay.

Schurter Faces Down Another Kiwi Challenge

From the perspective of cyclocross fans, the 2018 XCO UCI World Cup mountain bike series has been of interest because of Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus). The Dutch cyclocross star is racing a full mountain bike schedule this season as he targets the 2020 Olympics. His efforts have gone quite well, with a fourth at Stellenbosch and a third at Albstadt. He also, perhaps not surprisingly, won the short track race at Albstadt.

The larger-scale story from the Men’s World Cup series is the efforts of Van der Poel and others’ efforts to knock Nino Schurter off his World Champion pedestal. Kiwi Sam Gaze (Specialized) beat Schurter in a thrilling sprint finish in South Africa, but Schurter bounced back to complete the double rainbow in the mud at Albstadt.

On Friday, Gaze won the short track race, with Van der Poel finishing second. Schurter took third to set the stage for an impressive front row for Sunday’s XCO main event.

Schurter did not mess around early in the XCO race, pushing the pace and drawing out the riders who could go with him. As he has done in the first two races, Van der Poel matched Schurter’s pace early on and joined Lars Forster (BMC MTB Racing Team) and Titouan Carod (BMC MTB Racing Team) in the lead group of four. On Sunday, Van der Poel’s ride at the front was short-lived. During the third lap, he crashed and then abandoned the race.

After Van der Poel’s crash, Schurter still struggled to get separation from the riders looking to knock him off, and with one to go, it was Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing XC), Anton Cooper (Trek Factory Racing) and him at the front. Both Marotte and Cooper showed the hearts of champions after trailing the leaders by 30 seconds early in the race before battling back to get to the front.

In the last lap, Marotte fell off the pace on the climbs, and as the meters ticked down, Schurter faced another tough finish against a New Zealander in Cooper. Wheel to wheel with 100 meters to go, both Schurter and Cooper wasted no time turning on the afterburners. Schurter got the early jump, but Cooper countered and looked destined for the win. Perhaps fueled by the memory of his close loss to Gaze in South Africa, Schurter dug deep and found one last bit of effort to put his wheel across the line first in a photo finish.

View this post on Instagram

Oh boy! Such a tight finish and tough sprint with the champ @nschurter I'm so happy with my performance today. I feel like I've promised a result like this for a while and to finally deliver on the World Cup stage for myself, my fans and hard working team @trekfactoryracingxc and all our other sponsors feels really special. I knew I had the form around the time of the Commonwealth Games and peaking for that seemed to take a lot out of my legs once I arrived to Europe. After an easier week it all just clicked today. Mountain Biking is in such a good way at the moment and I'm proud to be a part of such an amazing sport! Now it's time to take a quick break and head home to NZ for a few weeks before returning for the next World Cups in 6 weeks time from now. Catch up on all the action on @redbulltv Thanks @mdelormephoto for the 📸 @trekfactoryracingxc @oakleybike @armstrongmotorgroupchch #newworldsupermarkets

A post shared by Anton Cooper (@anton.cooper) on

Marotte finished eight seconds back to round out the podium.

Full race results are below. See redbull.tv for the highlights and full replay.

The mountain bike-sters take a break from the World Cup action before returning on July 8 at Val di Sole in Italy.

Women's Results: 2018 Nove Mesto XCO World Cup

RankBIBLast NameFirst NameCountryResult
12LANGVADAnnikaDEN1:20:37
21NEFFJolandaSUI1:20:38
34FERRAND PREVOTPaulineFRA1:21:24
413BATTYEmilyCAN1:21:41
56WLOSZCZOWSKAMajaPOL1:23:03
614DAHLE FLESJAAGunn-RitaNOR1:23:21
731MICHIELSGithaBEL1:23:36
85KELLERAlessandraSUI1:23:45
911COURTNEYKateUSA1:23:49
103TAUBERAnneNED1:23:53
118BRANDAUElisabethGER1:23:56
1230TERPSTRAAnneNED1:24:26
1315WOODRUFFChloeUSA1:24:55
1435SMITHHaleyCAN1:24:57
1510BELOMOINAYanaUKR1:25:05
1641FORCHINIRamonaSUI1:25:18
1732CAMPUZANO CHAVEZ PEONDanielaMEX1:25:19
1821DAVISONLeaUSA1:25:30
1916ŽAKELJTanjaSLO1:25:45
209LASTAnnieGBR1:25:47
217INDERGANDLindaSUI1:25:57
2212PENDRELCatharineCAN1:26:17
2343WALTERSandraCAN1:26:22
2425BENKÓBarbaraHUN1:26:48
2526SOLUS-MISKOWICZKatarzynaPOL1:27:07
2620MCCONNELLRebeccaAUS1:27:24
2733ŠTĚPÁNOVÁKarlaCZE1:27:37
2829ŠKARNITZLOVÁJitkaCZE1:27:40
2923STIRNEMANNKathrinSUI1:28:05
3018KALENTYEVAIrinaRUS1:28:21
3144CALVETTISerenaITA1:28:31
3261WALDISAndreaSUI1:28:55
3360MONTAMBAULTCindyCAN1:29:07
3448POPOVAIrynaUKR1:29:15
3546REDECKERCherieRSA1:29:20
3634LECHNEREvaITA1:29:21
3753BRESSETJulieFRA1:29:31
3840CRNOGORACJovanaSRB1:29:32
3977NOBLEEllenUSA1:30:18
4042ANOSHINAEkaterinaRUS1:30:33
4117GOULAO HENRIQUERaizaBRA1:30:38
4251SVEUMElisabethNOR1:30:38
4345GALICIA CORTINAClaudiaESP1:30:43
4465BAUMANNChrystelleSUI1:30:59
4528OSLElisabethAUT1:31:16
4656GORYCKAPaulaPOL1:31:32
4759LÕIVJanikaEST1:31:40
4857PODGORSKAAleksandraPOL1:31:58
4952MACPHEEKerryGBR1:32:18
5038SHEPPARDSamaraNZL1:32:20
5136LEUMANNKatrinSUI1:32:40
5264TERENTYEVAOlgaRUS1:33:21
5371JEŽKOVÁHanaCZE1:33:52
5462KOOPMANSLotteNED1:33:52
5537STRAUSSMariskeRSA1:34:49
5666GROCCIAMarineSUI1:35:56
5776PICHLÍKOVÁJanaCZELAP
5850ROLANDLucianaARGLAP
5970WORSTAnnemarieNEDLAP
6055MITTERBAUERLisaAUTLAP
6175SCHWENKTheresiaGERLAP
6249MONTEIROJoanaPORLAP
6372VESELÁLucieCZELAP
6454LLORET LLINARESElenaESPLAP
6569SOUPELTatsianaBLRLAP
6647KESEG STEVKOVAJankaSVKLAP
6767FLEURYCatherineCANLAP
6868RILEYSarahAUSLAP
6974CASIOPPOAlainaUSALAP
DNF19SPITZSabineGERLAP
DNF63FLUKERKateNZLLAP
DNF22ENAUXSabrinaFRALAP

Men's results: 2018 Nove Mesto XCO World Cup

RankBIBLast NameFirst NameCountryResult
11SCHURTERNinoSUI1:21:31
211COOPERAntonNZL1:21:31
33MAROTTEMaximeFRA1:21:39
412FORSTERLarsSUI1:22:15
514FUMICManuelGER1:22:20
69AVANCINIHenriqueBRA1:22:27
713VOGELFlorianSUI1:22:33
878PETERSONSArnisLAT1:22:35
917KULHAVÝJaroslavCZE1:22:35
1031COLOMA NICOLASCarlosESP1:22:58
1138DRECHOUHugoFRA1:23:13
1251FRISCHKNECHTAndriSUI1:23:14
1333LOOMartinEST1:23:14
148CARODTitouanFRA1:23:25
1544TIBERIAndreaITA1:23:26
1615FONTANAMarco AurelioITA1:23:41
1746SCHUERMANSJensBEL1:23:42
1872CINKOndrejCZE1:23:48
1918MARKTKarlAUT1:23:49
2019KERSCHBAUMERGerhardITA1:23:50
2110INDERGANDRetoSUI1:23:55
2261EGGERGeorgGER1:24:02
2337ROSADavidPOR1:24:10
2440BLUMSMartinsLAT1:24:12
2516ROHRBACHNicolaSUI1:24:15
2627FLUECKIGERLukasSUI1:24:18
2753KONWAMarekPOL1:24:23
2825LITSCHERThomasSUI1:24:27
2980GLUTHMartinGER1:24:27
3065GIGERFabianSUI1:24:28
3136KORETZKYVictorFRA1:24:49
3221ŠKARNITZLJanCZE1:24:57
3320VALERO SERRANODavidESP1:25:05
3432RODRIGUEZ GUEDEPabloESP1:25:06
3558SCHULTE-LÜNZUMMarkusGER1:25:09
3654BRAIDOTDanieleITA1:25:15
3767PFÄFFLEChristianGER1:25:17
387SARROUJordanFRA1:25:29
3950STIRNEMANNMatthiasSUI1:25:43
4066PARTIAndrásHUN1:25:58
4183GAYRaphaelFRA1:26:07
4268HAIMYShlomiISR1:26:12
4324RAGGLGregorAUT1:26:17
4460BOTERO VILLEGASJhonatanCOL1:26:18
4548DISERAPeterCAN1:26:22
4670SCHEIRERubenBEL1:26:23
4776GAGNERaphaelCAN1:26:28
4822MCCONNELLDanielAUS1:26:43
49112FASNACHTManuelSUI1:26:47
5075DONIZETE VALERIANORubensBRA1:26:49
5143BERTOLINIGioeleITA1:26:49
52102PETTINA'NicholasITA1:26:51
5328SOTOCatrielARG1:26:51
5469IVANOVTimofeiRUS1:26:57
5577VROUWENVELDERLukeUSA1:27:15
56105TRIGOFlorianFRA1:27:32
5730COLLEDANINadirITA1:27:35
5845WAWAKBartlomiejPOL1:27:38
59116BAUMLukasGER1:27:47
6094JEANNIARDBenoîtFRA1:27:54
6189LORETMaximeFRA1:27:55
6285RAUCHFUSSMarekCZE1:27:55
6391BEEMERFrankNED1:27:55
6449VAN DER HEIJDENMichielNED1:28:13
6541FERGUSONGrantGBR1:28:14
6652COSTAMárioPOR1:28:19
6739GUERRINIMarcelSUI1:28:26
6842BOUCHARDLeandreCAN1:28:35
6956YAMAMOTOKoheiJPN1:28:40
7057L'ESPERANCEAndrewCAN1:28:40
71133SAMPARISILorenzoITA1:28:57
7295GOGOLEVMaximRUS1:29:06
73150VITZTHUMSimonSUI1:29:10
74114KURSCHATWolframGER1:29:26
75111MCCRAEErno JacobBEL1:29:26
7693MARINHEIRORicardoPOR1:29:54
7792DIAZ BUJIvanESP1:30:07
78106FUMAROLADenisITA1:30:11
7971GOTARDELO MULLERGuilhermeBRA1:30:15
8062SWENSONKeeganUSA1:30:21
81100KRAJNCGregorSLO1:30:23
82129PELLEGRINILorenzoITA1:30:24
8326CARSTENSENSebastian FiniDEN1:30:26
84135NIKOLAEVSergeyRUS1:30:57
85115BEELIAndrinSUI1:31:10
86120VOBECKÝZdenekCZE1:31:14
87109GROENErikNED1:31:22
8899OCKELOENJasperNED1:31:23
8990MICHALEKMariuszPOL1:31:26
90144ROTERMUNDTobias DominikGER1:31:52
91119HARTMANNJakobGER1:31:57
9247FOIDLMaximilianAUT1:32:02
9374CHENAUXFlorianSUI1:32:08
94143FLANDREHaroldFRA1:32:21
95127BONETTOEdoardoITA1:32:27
9684PAPRSTKATomášCZE1:32:32
9781STÜNZIMichaelSUI1:32:36
9887SESSLERGuyISR1:32:39
9988DE POORTERE EMELIENJosephFRA1:32:46
10082GASCODarioARG1:33:00
10196TITARENKODmytroUKR1:33:01
102126BOREDSKIYRuslanRUS1:33:17
103101STRÄHLESvenGER1:33:30
104137SETTIMattiaITA1:33:41
105108STOŠEKMartinCZELap
106139SIBILLEVincentFRALap
107132LEHTINENSakariFINLap
108107WETZELBERGERPhilippAUTLap
109103BESAHAMikhailBLRLap
11055KELLECIAbdulkadirTURLap
11159SHOKRIFarazIRILap
112121STAFILOVAleksanderRUSLap
113145GLAJZAOndrejSVKLap
11473WITHAARJanRSALap
115118SELLES PARDOVictorESPLap
11635COCUZZILuiz HenriqueBRALap
117110BOUTTELLJasonGBRLap
118146SCHWENKRobertGERLap
11997OMARSSONIngvarISLLap
120134SANCHEZ ALDEGUERManuelESPLap
121138ZÖGERManfredAUTLap
122149PLUCINSKIOskarPOLLap
123140MIRANDA JAIMEJaimeMEXLap
124148ZHIRNOVDmitryRUSLap
125142SINDLINGERTobiasGERLap
126117SHEVTSOVArtemUKRLap
127131SABAUGeorge-VladROULap
128141DÖHLLudwigGERLap
129124TROPARDYArthurFRALap
13098CAKASAliTURLap
131113HERNANDEZ DE JESUSJosé AurelioMEXLap
128ESTEBAN AGUEROIsmaelESPDNF
23SINTSOVAntonRUSDNF
123MEEUSENTomBELDNF
34MANTECON GUTIERREZSergioESPDNF
2VAN DER POELMathieuNEDDNF
5FLUECKIGERMathiasSUIDNF
29BRAIDOTLucaITADNF
6TEMPIERStephaneFRADNF
125VALERIODomenicoITADNF
4GAZESamuelNZLDNF
104JAYNESebastianAUSDNF
79VASTLJanCZEDNF
86HOLZMaximilianGERDNF