Laura Stigger and Tom Pidcock sprinted to short track victories in Nové Město na Moravě during the first round of the UCI Cross Country World Cup Friday evening.
The results of the XCC race dictate Sunday’s XCO call-ups so a solid result is imperative for those aiming for a good start in the XCO races.
The women’s field was the first to set off on the 1.4km course amid rainy and slick conditions. Alesandra Keller and Jenny Rissveds both entered the first technical section–a series of five log drops–together. Just two minutes into the race, a crash near the front took out Martina Berta and Rebecca Henderson and stalled riders behind.
The largely non-technical nature of the course, taking place on wide sections of pavement, smooth dirt, and grass, meant that a large pack stayed together for the majority of the race with stragglers dropping off the back. Riders like Evie Richards, Haley Batten, Kate Courtney, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and Loana Lecomte all showed their faces at the front.
By the final lap, a group of about 10 riders were jostling for position preparing for the sprint. Keller put in an attack followed by Laura Stigger. Ferrand-Prévot, Richards, and Batten also followed. Keller opened up the sprint but it was Stigger who would pull ahead for victory.
On the men’s side, the day began with fears that two marquee riders could be missing from the race: Tom Pidcock and XCC World Champion Sam Gaze. Only the top-40 ranked riders are allowed to compete in XCC, and both riders were not ranked high enough. However, both riders slotted into the start grid on late notice after other riders pulled out of the race.
Such was the uncertainty that Pidcock said he trained for more than three hours on Friday morning before realizing he would in fact be on the start line.
Much like the women’s race, the men’s race featured fast pack dynamics. First-year Elite Martin Vidaurre was the first into the log drop section, showing himself to his new elite rivals after a successful U23 campaign last season. Pidcock started at the back of the field and had to fight his way through traffic throughout the race.
Davide Valero Serrano found his place at the front, leading the pack early in the race. Sebastian Fini, Titoan Carod, Pierre de Froidmont and Alan Hatherly could also be found near the front, among others.
As the race progressed, Luca Schwarzbauer, Nino Schurter, and Gaze all found the front, and Pidcock kept quiet, sitting around tenth wheel. Schwarzbauer, who had clearly been enjoying the lap’s steep climb, led out the bell lap, and as Pidcock moved up into second wheel, Hatherly slid out on the wet pavement and took Froidmont down with him.
Pidcock sprinted early, just after the penultimate corner, and held off the powerful Gaze and Schwarzbauer.
The Nové Město World Cup continues Saturday with the marathon and U23 XCO races, and the elite fields line up for XCO on Sunday. Check back to Escape Collective for tactical breakdowns of both Elite events, plus tech, galleries, and more.
Elite Women XCC Results
- Laura Stigger (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Alessandra Keller (Thömus maxon)
- Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Ineos-Grenadiers)
- Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing XC)
- Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing)
- Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceninck)
- Anne Tauber (Orbea Factory Team)
- Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing XC)
- Line Burquier (Canyon CLLCTV)
Elite Men XCC Results
- Tom Pidcock (Ineos-Grenadiers)
- Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceninck)
- Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV)
- Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon)
- Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team)
- Daniele Braidot (C.S. Carabinieri Cicli Olympia Vittoria)
- Luca Braidot (Santa Cruz RockShox Pro Team)
- Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC)
- Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory Off-Road Team XC)
- Lars Forster (Thömus maxon)