Watch the replay and get the results of the women’s cross-country World Cup opener.
By Faye Brozek
Crowds of up to 50,000 flocked to Nové Město, Czech Republic, for the opening round of the 2017 UCI XCO World Cup, eager to see the start of the cross-country season.
This year the women’s and men’s races were split across the weekend, with the women racing Saturday and the men racing on Sunday.
Watch above for the full women’s replay and scroll down for race report, results and action shots.
Riders jostled to set the pace and get ahead in the start loop before the single track and harder to pass areas of the course began.
Firm favourite Jolanda Neff, riding for her new team Kross, initially had a strong start, joined by Linda Indergand. Yet as the riders went on to start the first lap of the race Neff had been dropped from the leading group and it was teammate Maja Wloszczowska who joined Annika Langvad and Catharine Pendrel in the pursuit of Indergand’s 12 second advance.
World champion Langvad secured her rainbow stripes on this very course last year, and her prowess and power seem to have gone from strength to strength in the off-season.
In one decisive attack on the long climb she overtook Indergand and staked her place as front runner.
Pendrel also took wind on Langvad’s attack and used the momentum to slide into second place.
This pushed Indergand further back while Wloszczowska lost time after crashing in the rocks and rectifying a bent saddle.
With Langvad out front with a comfortable lead it was now a battle for podium places two to five. Sabine Spitz and Yana Belomoina joined the chasing group, adding pressure and pace to Pendrel who was holding onto second.
On approach to lap 3 Pendrel suffered a mechanical and had to pull in at the tech zone. Unfortunately she lost a lot of time of here and it ruined her chance of getting any decent points for this race.
As last year’s overall World Cup winner this was not how Pendrel would have wanted her season to start.
Langvad increased her lead as the race went on. By the final loop she had a 54 second advantage on the rest of the field, and eased to the win. The first ever woman to win on this course twice.
Spitz secured second place and there was a real battle going on for third position.
A few times in the final lap Belomoina attacked and passed Indegrand, while a tiring Wloszczowska tried to keep up with the duel, but as they came into the finish arena it was Indergrand who was out in front.
Behind her Belomoina and Wloszczowska broke into a sprint finish, with Belomoina beaten at the line and ending her race in fifth place.
1. Annika Langvad 1:28:45
2. Sabine Spitz 1:29:41
3. Linda Indergand 1:30:04
4. Maja Wloszczowska 1:30:08
5. Yana Belomoina 1:30:08