Two years ago, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) said he was born to mountain bike after winning the 2021 Nové Město World Cup. It was his first elite MTB victory as well as his debut season with the Ineos Grenadiers — also the first time the road squad had dabbled in MTB racing.
That race was also an early foreshadowing of Pidcock’s victory in Tokyo, which he followed up with another win at Nové Město last spring. Pidcock’s success brought a youthful new challenge to the old guard like Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM), who is currently tied for the all-time World Cup win record.
This year’s visit to Nové Město brought yet another win for Pidcock in slick, muddy conditions that caused him to hit the deck at one point, and which also allowed Rockrider Racing’s Joshua Dubau to showcase his skills, matching Pidcock for much of the race. This is how it unfolded.
Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV) was strong from the start, leading the start loop and dangling a few seconds up the track at the beginning of the first full lap. Early in the race, Schwarzbauer, Schurter, Pidcock, Dubau, Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon), Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck), and Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC) were all in contention.
The slick conditions caused chaos right from the start, with Gaze crashing early on and causing others to stall. On the third lap, the multidisciplinary Pidcock took his chance to pass Schwarzbauer for the lead just before a slippery, rocky climb, and just as well because the German was forced to dab his foot, forcing Gaze and Schurter to dismount and run.
Pidcock and Dubau then began to open their gap, as behind, Sarrou led the chasers.
The tough conditions and drama never let up, with Pidcock dabbing on the aforementioned rocky climb and crashing on a downhill section. The crash was reminiscent of last year’s World Championships in Les Gets where Pidcock fell out of contention, but here it was also an opportunity for Dubau to show himself in the lead.
Schurter is a rider who never gives up so the world champion used every inch of the course to aid his chase in third along with 2020 World Champion Sarrou.
With Pidcock clawing his way back, Dubau stayed in front until the final lap. The Brit launched an initial attack on the same fireroad climb where Alpecin’s Puck Pieterse made her winning move in the women’s race, but he was only able to shake Dubau on the final technical climb of the lap.
One look back in the damp finishing straight, and then Pidcock could celebrate his third elite Nové Město victory.
Dubau in second place was a career-best performance for the Frenchman, and the ever-consistent Schurter crossed the line third.
Pidcock hasn’t announced when he will next race MTB – he’s expected to return to the road in June as he builds toward a return to the Tour de France – but the stage has been set for the next round in Lenzerheide, Switzerland next month.
Results powered by FirstCycling.com