Photo Epic: Changing of the Guard - Nove Mesto World Cup XC 2020

Oct 1, 2020
by Andy Vathis  




The 2020 race season finally burst into life in spectacular fashion here in Nove Mesto. It was a day that saw two youngsters get one over on their more experienced competitors to seize their very first elite World Cup victory. After a strong showing in short track it was Loana Lecomte that reigned supreme after a battle with Anne Terpstra and compatriot Pauline Ferrand Prevot. Not only was it Lecomte's first elite World Cup win but her very first race in the top tier. The men's race followed a similar narrative with Danish youngster Simon Andreassen winning after battling at the front the whole race. Many tried and failed to depose of him but in the end he rolled over the line 9 seconds up on Maxime Marotte. Milan Vader took a strong third place ahead of Nino Schurter who carved his way back through the field and pipped Henrique Avancini in a sprint finish.

Earlier in the day the U23 races took place with Specialized's Haley Batten looking dominant early in the race before fading to third behind Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado and eventual winner Giorgia Marchet. In the men's it was the UK's Tom Pidcock who rode from the back of the grid to the top spot with a big margin in his very first mountain bike World Cup, in behind him came Alexandre Balmer and Vital Albin.

The racing action is now coming in thick and fast with the second short track event scheduled in tomorrow afternoon before the second race on Sunday. Will it be Lecomte and Andreassen out front again or will someone else be able to avenge their result today? Stay tuned.

Low lying clouds kept the ceiling low all day and the woods dark.
Low lying clouds kept the woods dark and moody all day long.

Hayley Batten was certainly the favourite going into today.
Haley Batten was certainly the favourite going into today.

The U23 women kick off the XCO racing action here in Nove Mesto.
The U23 women kick off the XCO racing action here in Nove Mesto.

Haley Batten looked to have it in the bag but it all started unravelling in the final laps of the race.
Haley Batten looked to have it in the bag but it all started unravelling in the final laps of the race.

Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado didn t quite have enough for the win today.
Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado didn't quite have enough for the win today.

Harriet Harnden fresh off the back of EWS success slotted into 4th.
Harriet Harnden fresh off the back of EWS success slotted into 4th.

Kata Blanka Vas into 5th.
Kata Blanka Vas into 5th.

Giorgia Marchet had the measure of the field today.
Giorgia Marchet had the measure of the field today.

Giorgia Marchet rode smart and took home the win.
Giorgia Marchet rode smart and took home the win.

Your top 3 U23 Women. 1st Giorgia Marchet 2nd Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado 3rd Haley Batten
Your top three U23 Women. 1st Giorgia Marchet 2nd Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado 3rd Haley Batten

Thomas Pidcock lining up to the grid with a number plate that has him starting deep in the pack.
Thomas Pidcock lining up to the grid with a number plate that has him starting deep in the pack.

U23 men s start.
U23 men's start.

Vital Albin closed out the podium just behind his teammate in third.
Vital Albin closed out the podium just behind his teammate in third.

Sean Fincham had a great start and even lead for a short while. He d eventually get caught and settle for fifth.
Sean Fincham had a great start and even lead for a short while. He'd eventually get caught and settle for fifth.

Alexandre Balmer had a great race but couldn t hold off Pidcock in the end.
Alexandre Balmer had a great race but couldn't hold off Pidcock in the end.

Fourth to start the season for Martin Vidaurre Kossmann.
Fourth to start the season for Martin Vidaurre Kossmann.

By the mid point Pidcock had made his way through most and was closing in on the leaders.
By the mid point, Pidcock had made his way through most and was closing in on the leaders.

Thomas Pidcock over the line with this first world cup win.
Thomas Pidcock over the line with this first world cup win.

U23 Men s podium. First Thomas Pidcock second Alexandre Baulmer and third went to Vital Albin.
U23 Men's podium. First Thomas Pidcock, second Alexandre Baulmer, and third went to Vital Albin.

Rumble in the pine jungle.
Rumble in the pine jungle.

Evie Richards was happy to strap the number 1 plate to her bike today.
Evie Richards was happy to strap the number 1 plate to her bike today.

Coming off a win at Tuesday night s XCC Evie Richards is looking to carry that momentum into today s race.
Coming off a win at Tuesday night's XCC, Evie Richards is looking to carry that momentum into today's race.

Loana Lecomte about to have one hell of a day.
Loana Lecomte about to have one hell of a day.

Laura Stigger was another youngster who had a great race.
Laura Stigger was another youngster who had a great race.

Kate Courtney warms up in the pits in the run up to the race.
Kate Courtney warms up in the pits in the run up to the race.

A big race for Anne Terpstra is coming right up.
A big race for Anne Terpstra is coming right up.

Jolanda Neff was a little off the pace today she ll look to turn it around for Sunday.
Jolanda Neff was a little off the pace today, she'll look to turn it around for Sunday.

Brad Copeland gives Courtney s bike the final once over.
Brad Copeland gives Courtney's bike the final once over.

The first elite XCO race of 2020 is a go.
The first elite XCO race of 2020 is a go.

Rebecca Mcconnell sneaking into the top 10 with a ninth.
Rebecca Mcconnell sneaking into the top 10 with a ninth.

Alessandra Keller good enough for tenth.
Alessandra Keller good enough for tenth.

Kate Courtney pushing hard on her way to 6th.
Kate Courtney pushing hard on her way to 6th.

Sina Frei made it 2 Ghost riders in the top 10.
Sina Frei made it two Ghost riders in the top 10.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot pushing hard early in the race.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot pushing hard early in the race.

There are enough awkward rocks in the rock garden that can grab you at any time.
There are enough awkward rocks in the rock garden that can grab you at any time.

By the time the elite races had begun the rocks in Expert Climb had a decent coating of slippery mud. Pauline Ferrand Prevot was one of many who ran the section instead. Loana Lecomte wasn t having any of that.
By the time the elite races had begun, the rocks in Expert Climb had a decent coating of slippery mud. Pauline Ferrand Prevot was one of many who ran the section instead. Loana Lecomte wasn't having any of that.

Loana Lecomte tires to shake off Pauline Ferrand Prevot through the rock garden.
Loana Lecomte tires to shake off Pauline Ferrand Prevot through the rock garden.

Evie Richards couldn t quite match the lofty heights of her short track victory but 8th place in her first elite World Cup is still a great result.
Evie Richards couldn't quite match the lofty heights of her short track victory but 8th place in her first elite World Cup is still a great result.

Great race today for Lena Gerault. She d finish fourth.
Great race today for Lena Gerault. She'd finish fourth.

Anne Terpstra with a great ride into second place.
Anne Terpstra with a great ride into second place.

Loana Lecomte knows how to make an entrance. This was her first Elite World Cup and win to go with it.
Loana Lecomte knows how to make an entrance. This was her first Elite World Cup and win to go with it.

Your Women s Elite podium. First Loana Lecomte second Anne Terpstra third went to Pauline Ferrand Prevot fourth Lena Gerault and fifth Laura Stigger.
Your Women's Elite podium. First Loana Lecomte, second Anne Terpstra, third went to Pauline Ferrand Prevot, fourth Lena Gerault, and fifth Laura Stigger.

Henrique Avancini looking to come out swinging and that he did.
Henrique Avancini looking to come out swinging and that he did.

A rare sight seeing Nino Schurter start a race a few rows back.
A rare sight seeing Nino Schurter start a race a few rows back.

Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo revealed a glimpse of his power the other night at XCC. Only time will tell if he can keep up with the big dogs.
Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo revealed a glimpse of his power the other night at XCC. Only time will tell if he can keep up with the big dogs.

Maxime Marotte almost had the answers today. Almost.
Maxime Marotte almost had the answers today. Almost.

Elite Men's start.

Ondrej Cink rode into ninth.
Ondrej Cink rode into ninth.

Maximilian Brandl is another new face to the Elites coming up from U23. He ll just miss the top 10 today.
Maximilian Brandl is another new face to the Elites coming up from U23. He'll just miss the top 10 today.

Anton Cooper digging deep on that brutal main climb.
Anton Cooper digging deep on that brutal main climb.

It was an open fight at the front in the early laps.
It was an open fight at the front in the early laps.

The field snakes it s way up the main climb early in the race.
The field snakes its way up the main climb early in the race.

Thomas Litscher taking the last place inside the top 10.
Thomas Litscher taking the last place inside the top 10.

Nino putting in the watts as he tries to pull the most epic finish.
Nino putting in the watts as he tries to pull the most epic finish.

Milan Vader makes his way back from the far end of the course. He d settle in into third.
Milan Vader makes his way back from the far end of the course. He'd settle in into third.

Not the win he seeks but 5th place will do for Henrique Avancini.
Not the win he seeks but 5th place will do for Henrique Avancini.

Nino Schurter was slow to get going but once he found his feet he was flying. He ll be confident for Sunday.
Nino Schurter was slow to get going but once he found his feet he was flying. He'll be confident for Sunday.

Big push today from Maxime Marotte but just shy of that first win.
Big push today from Maxime Marotte but just shy of that first win.

Eighth oday for Gerhard Kerschbaumer.
Eighth today for Gerhard Kerschbaumer.

Even when battling for the lead with 2 laps to go Simon Andreassen finds time for a little fun.
Even when battling for the lead with 2 laps to go, Simon Andreassen finds time for a little fun.

Simon Andreassen passed Vader on a previous climb and will have to play some defence for short while.
Simon Andreassen passed Vader on a previous climb and will have to play some defence for short while.

Milan Vader rode strongly and led before ending up third.
Milan Vader rode strongly and led before ending up third.

That first World Cup win for Simon Andreassen.
That first World Cup win for Simon Andreassen.

A photo finish between Avancini and Schurter with Schurter ahead by a hair.
A photo finish between Avancini and Schurter with Schurter ahead by a hair.

Alan Hatherly happy with his days work. 6th place for the South African.
Alan Hatherly happy with his days work. 6th place for the South African.

Your top 5 elite men. 1st Simon Andreassen 2nd Max Marotte 3rd Milan Vader 4th Nino Schurter 5th Henrique Avancini
Your top 5 elite men. 1st Simon Andreassen 2nd Max Marotte 3rd Milan Vader 4th Nino Schurter 5th Henrique Avancini

Boy it feels good to be back.
Boy it feels good to be back.



35 Comments

  • 33 0
 Say what you want, but the Women's XCC/XCO races are consistently some of the best racing there is. Rarely do you get a race that is dominated 100% by one person and the seasons tend to have a lot variety in who places where, even if there develops a clear set of points leaders.

Also, other than Kate Courtney's HR approved bland answers, interviews and comments by the women tend to be more gregarious. Maybe there is less social pressure to come of as a hard-ass or maybe more social pressure to be bubbly, but whatever it is, the men sound like a doctor describing knee surgery after a win and women sound like someone dumped them into a pile of kittens & whiskey. You can just feel a greater sense of excitement.
  • 3 1
 Best comment ever!
  • 1 0
 Couldn't agree more
  • 2 0
 I come for the women's races. Being a Yank of course I love Kate but, yes, she's a bit bland compared to the rest of the field in interviews - she needs to stop being such a pro and relax. She could use a little social coaching from Casey Brown LOL.

In just this week alone I've become a huge Richards, Lecomte, and Stigger fan. All you needed to do was listen to those kids after the races and feel their energy and excitement and I was hooked.

I feel like a Pro Women right not if you are not 100% on race day you could be 15th-20th easy. And if you are 100% you could be 1st-10th easy - that's how stacked and the parity.
  • 1 1
 Mens race was more exciting
  • 9 0
 Is it that the new guard are simply training differently and the typical/accepted methods don't suit this unstructured season.
  • 5 0
 I can also imagine some thrive more on a big audience than others. Maybe the seasoned elites are so used to big crowds at the big events that not having that doesn't turn them on to push them to their full potential. Whereas the younger/newer riders weren't used to the really insane crowd so not having that doesn't affect them the same way. Just a theory.

That said, making it onto the podium just implies that they're really good either way.
  • 4 0
 I think Simon said it well in the post race interview. The U23 riders pushed each other really hard laste year and making the jump to the Elite-category this year was probably a big motivation to train even harder. Meanwhile the already established Elite-riders might have found it hard to train as hard as usual due to the lack of races and uncertainty if there would be any races at all. It also takes a few races to get into race pace on high HR even if you have the power. I think Kate Courtney might get better as races go by.
  • 3 0
 I think the "old foxes" are saving energy for the World Championships next week. If you think of it, it is the only one XCO race this year that matters.
  • 10 0
 Amanita muscaria.
  • 8 0
 Great shots as always Pinkbike. Especially good to see coverage of Tom Pidcock in the U23.
  • 8 0
 Bros be bagging on Specialized for pretty much anything, but hot dang that paintjob on the S-Works Epic is pure fire!
  • 3 0
 Now that is an impossible climb, and with these tires. I don't know how they do it.

And I would be very hesitant in these rocks with these wheels (and tires). Sure something would brake.
  • 2 0
 My fingers after giving up on that climb.
  • 2 0
 I'm pretty sure I'd spin out with an Aggressor on the rear in those climbs...turns out when you're one of the best riders in the world your equipment needs are different from ours lol
  • 5 0
 Pidcock is a beast. That is all..
  • 3 0
 Great to see some new names on the podium.
  • 2 1
 Good to see Henri Avancini keeping it real with a peak on his helmet - anyone know what helmet it is?
  • 5 1
 Not really keeping it real to add a peak in an event where aerodynamics plays a significant role. The Cannondale team manager is a Moto / DH guy who seems to have more feelings for looks than results....it was his idea to put the Cannondale XC team in baggies the past few years.

On the other hand, if you know you are not going to win, then at least make a good show.
  • 1 1
 Too bad there is no way to delete or edit my previous comment, while I stand by my remark, there is no need to put it in a public forum. Mea Culpa
  • 3 0
 If Avancini cared about aerodynamics he would not be sitting on the front ALL the time Big Grin
Low sun or mud/rain I could be a reason to use a wizor-helmet, but yesterday had non of that?

If the alternative is the helmet Marotte is wearing, I think Avancini made the right decision.
Helmet looks cool. Cannondale Hunter.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, that helmet cost him a position to Nino Schurter...just an inch of aero help is all he needed to get 4th instead of 5th. Aero is everything in XC racing.
  • 1 0
 Bravo Loana, fresh face and the fastest pedaling frequency that work very well in this conditions over pure strength.
  • 2 0
 Beautiful photographs!
  • 1 0
 How these people race on Aspens in those conditions is unreal.
  • 1 0
 Because is not the tire, it is the rider and skill what matters
  • 2 0
 Great pictures!
  • 1 4
 This is the season of the new riders, and that's a pretty good thing. Schurter is on his end now.
  • 4 0
 Schurter's a beast who should be able to continue to pull out wins through craftiness and absurd riding skills. I wouldn't give up on him yet.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.014157
Mobile Version of Website