We Are The Champions

We Are The Champions

France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot (2) dominated the final World Cup race before going on to win the gold medal in the UCI World Championship the next weekend. Evie Richards (1) earned the first XCO World Cup win. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

The whole World Cup season was stopped cold by the coronavirus pandemic early in 2020. However, before the entire planet gave up on racing, Nove Mesto volunteered their site in the Czech Republic for two consecutive World Cup races just a few days apart near the end of the season. Even though there would be no overall World Cup titles for 2020, the top racers flocked to Nove Mesto to meet up and race the week before the World Championships took place.

Brazil’s Henrique Avancini (12) scored his first World Cup XCO win in the compacted weekend of racing. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

It was amazing how much pressure was on the world’s top racers to perform at their best in a period consisting of just 12 days, beginning with the first World Cup Short Track (XCC) race on a Tuesday to the first Cross-Country Olympic (XCO) race two days later, to the next Short Track race on Friday, then the last XCO round on Sunday. After that, the riders had just a few days to get to Austria and get ready for the World Championships, which were starting a couple of days later. It was a hectic time and a crazy schedule, and a tough one for any racer who might have been feeling under the weather, like Heather Rae Finchamp, who tested positive for COVID-19 in Nove Mesto and had to stop racing while she went into quarantine.

Anne Terpstra took second in both rounds of Elite Women XCO racing. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

Among the World Cup’s top racers, there were plenty of shocks and surprises. After dominating most of the world’s XC racing since 2009, Nino Schurter’s incredible string of wins came to an abrupt end. For the first time in over 12 years, Nino failed to win a single World Cup or World Championship event in 2020, only managing to take home a bronze medal from the second Nove Mesto race.

Defending World Cup champion Kate Courtney finished sixth in the XCO World Cup race on Sunday before heading to the UCI World Championships where a high-speed crash caused her to withdraw with a possible concussion. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

Meanwhile, America’s Kate Courtney, the 2018 Elite Women’s XCO World champion and 2019 World Cup champion, suffered even more disappointment as she failed to make even a single World Cup podium this year, despite having won three such events last year, as well as the title.

Without further ado, check out some of the standouts of the only two World Cup Cross-Country events of 2020.

RESULTS:

Simon Andreassen (left) won his debut appearance in a World Cup Elite Men’s race, earning the congratulations of superstar Nino Schurter (right). Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

WORLD CUP #1, NOVE MESTO, CZECH REPUBLIC

CROSS-COUNTRY OLYMPIC (XCO), THURSDAY

ELITE MEN

1. Simon Andreassen Denmark

2. Maxime Marotte France

3. Milan Vader Netherlands

(27. Keegan Swenson USA)

ELITE WOMEN

1. Loana Lecomte France

2. Anne Terpstra Netherlands

3. Pauline Ferrand Prevot France

Although Nino Schurter came home empty handed from both weekends of racing, the multi-time champion remains one of the sport’s fiercest competitors. Photo by Michal Cerveny/SCOTT-SRAM

 

WORLD CUP #2, NOVE MESTO, CZECH REPUBLIC

CROSS-COUNTRY OLYMPIC (XCO), SUNDAY

ELITE MEN

1. Henrique Avancini Brazil

2. Milan Vader Netherlands

3. Nino Schurter Switzerland

XCO #2, ELITE WOMEN

1. Pauline Ferrand Prevot France

2. Anne Terpstra Netherlands

3. Loana Lecomte France


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