Pinkbike Primer: The 2023 XC & Marathon World Cups Kick Off at Nove Mesto

May 11, 2023
by Ed Spratt  
Laura Stigger fought her way back to a 7th place finish.

We are back with another packed weekend of World Cup racing in 2023 and the first test of the new live broadcast coverage from Warner Brothers Discovery. Not only do we have the XCO World Cup on Sunday but there is an extended weekend of racing as we also get the lung-busting XCC Short Track World Cup and the new long-distance XCM Marathon World Cup series all kicking off at the classic venue of Nove Mesto. Here is everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 XC World Cup opening weekend.

Where is the Opening Round?

Beautiful weather for racing bikes.

There's no better place to kick start a World Cup season than at Nové Město na Moravě in the Czech Republic. Since it first joined the World circuit in 2011 the challenging course has produced many incredible racing moments and continues to be a favorite amongst most of the riders. Not only is it the top of most riders' choice of venues it is a fan favorite with a packed finish area and frantic fans spread out across the woods to cheer riders on. XC racing doesn't get better than Nove Mesto.

With McConnell well out in frontm Lecomte and Rissveds trade punches as the laps wear down.
The women kick off Sunday s race action.

Dario Lillo was in the mix from the get go finally taking 3rd.
It s great to see crowds back in Nove Mesto.

What's the Track Like?

2022 XC World Cup course preview with the Pivot Cycles - OTE team.

Relentless is possibly the best way to describe the circuit at Nove Mesto, with constant technical descents and punchy climbs there isn't a moment to rest here. Even the tarmac straight into the finish area is always a prime spot for overtaking and sprints leaving riders always checking over their shoulders for some sneaky overtakes.

For 2023 we also have the new XC Marathon World Cup series at Nove Mesto and the event team have built a fresh new course for riders wanting a long-distance gruelling challenge this weekend.

New commentator for the 2023 World Cup Ric McLaughlin takes a lap of Nove Mesto with Anton Cooper in 2019.

XCO Course Map:

XCC Course Map:

XCM Course Map:

When and What Racing is Happening this Weekend?

Thomas Griot fighting his way through the field and into the top 10.

With three World Cup events all in one weekend it is a pretty stacked schedule, here is what you can expect to find happening this weekend.

All times CEST

Thursday, May 11
• 10:00-12:00 // Official XCO Training - Women
• 12:00-14:00 // Official XCO Training - All Riders
• 16:15-17:15 // Official XCO Training - Men
• 15:00-17:00 // Official XCC Training - U23
• 17:30-18:15 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - U23 Women
• 18:15-19:00 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - U23 Men

Friday, May 12
• 09:00-11:00 // Official XCO Training - Women
• 11:00-13:00 // Official XCO Training - Men
• 16:15-17:15 // Official XCC Training - Elite
• 18:00-18:22 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Women
• 18:45-19:07 // World Cup Cross-country Short Track - Men

Saturday, May 13
• 08:00 // World Cup Cross-Country Marathon - Men
• 08:05 // World Cup Cross-Country Marathon - Women
• 08:45 // XCO Junior Series - Men
• 10:30 // XCO Junior Series - Women
• 12:05-14:00 // Official XCO Training - All Riders
• 15:00-16:10 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Men Under 23
• 17:00-18:10 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Women Under 23

Sunday, May 14
• 08:30-10:30 // Official XCO Training - Men and Women Elite
• 11:30 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Women Elite
• 15:00 // World Cup Cross-Country Olympic - Men Elite

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the UCI/event organizer.

What's the Weather Expected to be?

Alessandra Keller was unlucky with a mechanical she still recovered to 8th.
Let's hope there isn't too much rain or else these rocks are going to be an even tougher challenge.

The weather is looking pretty mixed for the opening weekend of World Cup XC racing. While riders will get plenty of practice on a mostly dry course the Elite racing on Sunday may be the victim of some wet weather although hopefully this isn't too bad and we get to see riders going flat out on the challenging course.

Thursday, May 11

Mostly cloudy // 16°C // 1% probability of precipitation // wind 19km/h

Friday, May 12

Mostly cloudy and cooler with a shower in places // 12°C // 48% probability of precipitation // wind 15km/h

Saturday, May 13

Mostly cloudy // 14°C // 25% probability of precipitation // wind 17km/h

Sunday, May 14

Cloudy with areas of drizzle // 14°C // 91% probability of precipitation // wind 19km/h

Weather forecast as of Thursday, May 11 from Accuweather.

Who is Racing?

Here are the entry lists showing who you can expect to see at this weekend's races.


Elite Men

Elite Women

U23 Men

U23 Women


Elite Men

Elite Women

Who Won the 2022 Overall?

Nino Schurter with one hell of a ride through the pack after a rear flat.

It was a Swiss domination of the Elite overalls in 2022 as after a dramatic season of racing we saw Alessandra Keller and Nino Schurter crowned the overall champions.

Elite Women: Alessandra Keller
Elite Men: Nino Schurter

What Happened Last Time in Nove Mesto?

The third XC World Cup of 2022 provided the goods with some amazing moments and massive wins. The Elite Women's race saw a dominant performance from Rebecca Henderson who proved she was unstoppable in the early part of the season. Nove Mesto wasn't an easy win with Loana Lecomte and Jenny Rissveds staying in sight for most of the race. The last two laps knocked both chasing riders out of contention with Loana Lecomte being the only rider coming within one minute of the hard-charging Australian.

In the Elite Men's race, it was an incredibly close race with no rider really launching an attack until the last lap of the race. In the end it was a sprint between Vlad Dascalu and Thomas Pidcock, but it was the Olympic champion who got to the line fastest. Nino Schurter did the impossible and fought back over a minute of time after a rear flat tire. Despite the massive disadvantage Nino Schurter rode back to the front of the race and crossed the line in third place.

Who has Won here Before?

Lecomte fighting grip up the climb with absolutely nobody else in sight. In fact she put well over a minute into the rest of the start list.

Nove Mesto has a history of producing first-time winners with Pidcock, Lecomte, Avancini, Andreassen and Van der Poel all breaking their ducks here since 2019. Beyond that, the results list reads like a who's who of 2010s cross country with successes for Pendrel, Neff, Prevot and Kulhavy. Tom Pidcock has won the last two times we have visited Nove Mesto and the big question of the weekend is can he make it three in a row.


Elite Men: Jaroslav Kulhavy
Elite Women: Catharine Pendrel


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Catharine Pendrel


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Tanja Zakelj


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Pauline Ferrand Prevot


Elite Men: Jaroslav Kulhavy
Elite Women: Jolanda Neff


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Annika Langvad


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Annika Langvad


Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Annika Langvad


Elite Men: Mathieu van der Poel
Elite Women: Kate Courtney

2020 double-header:

Elite Men: Simon Andreassen, Henrique Avancini
Elite Women: Loana Lecomte, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot


Elite Men: Tom Pidcock
Elite Women: Loana Lecomte


Elite Men: Tom Pidcock
Elite Women: Rebecca Henderson

How to Follow the Racing?

Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the Nove Mesto coverage throughout the week with results, photo epics, race analysis and more.

This weekend is the first test for the new broadcast coverage and you can find out all the ways to watch the action here.


  • 24 0
 And no fantasy contest
  • 14 0
 Fantasy? Last time the excuse was you didn’t have time to get it together. It’s been two months.
  • 5 0
 It took them months to announce winners of e.g. the advent calendar. They never had their shit together with contests or giveaways, so it doesn't surprise me. The fantasy stays in your fantasy this year
  • 17 1
 @bashhard: I don't even care for prizes. Simply participating in the event and getting bragging rights is fun. It creates much more engagement around the whole world series.
  • 9 0
 @pisgahgnar: Totally agree. I could care less about the prizes. Competing for bragging rights against friends in private leagues drives engagement, as well as familiarity with riders up and down the various rosters. It's a lot more fun to follow riders who aren't likely to break into the top 10 when you're "invested" in their success.

Come to think of it, Pinkbike fantasy even got me watching XC races back in 2021, which previously I didn't care much about.
  • 2 0
 @pisgahgnar: Agreed. They could even just add a badge on your PB profile... something like "2023 DH/XC Fantasy 1st/2nd/3rd place" etc..
  • 2 0
 @colbird: True. In 2020 when I was leading the DH fantasy till the last race Frown I did some research before every single race. That included looking through instagram profiles of the riders, results from former races and so on. Definitely a lot of value for the sponsors
  • 3 2
 @colbird: *could NOT care less
  • 2 0

If you can’t get past some people continuing to use could care less, and the fact that there’s nothing you can do about it, you may console yourself with the notion that at least they are not saying “I could care fewer.”
  • 5 0
 Woah, did the course change directions this year? The map seems to show the flow going backwards..
  • 3 0
 I felt so gutted for Dascalu at this race last year. He had such a stellar year and never got a World Cup win. Absolutely incredible talent at such a young age. Hope he has a similar season this year.
  • 2 0
 Honestly it would have done marathon more service to have it on Monday rather than Saturday. It’s good some people are racing but for sure most will not to save for XCO…
  • 1 1
 I just joined Discovery+, begrudgingly, and there is no access to any sports whatsover. But when I Google 'Discovery+ mountain bike' it takes me to a Discovery+ page with sports, including MTB that I can't sign into. What the hell is happening?! Somebody learn me WTF I'm doing wrong.
  • 1 0
 Just hope the UCI can clear the short-track male racers off the course at 19:07 on Friday for the important event at 19:08.
  • 2 1
 But can they open a peanut butter jar?
  • 1 1
 Yesterday when the trees were jumping, my bike suddenly tasted like peanut butter and I could hear the colors singing in my helmet.
  • 1 0
 Line Burquier is not stepping up to elites early?
  • 1 0
 Probably a good idea - she's good but that good to make an impression in elites yet. However did not seem to start in the short track so may have switched to elite in last minute
  • 1 0
 Thanks for not using that ugly Czechia word
  • 2 1
 Thanks for this info!
  • 2 2
 I have no idea how to watch this on TV....
  • 5 4
 No Warner No watch
  • 1 0
 Where's McConnell?
  • 1 0
 She goes by her maiden name Henderson now
  • 1 0
 --> Rebecca Henderson Wink
  • 1 0
 @bgoldstone: Oh. Sounds telling.
  • 1 4
 Is it a real marathon race without Keegan Swenson racing? Looks like they're trying to copy the USA cross-country scene without the athlete that is absolutely dominating.
  • 4 0
 there's a difference between the euro marathon races and the long distance mtb events in the states, sadly
  • 6 0
For sure, man. His 11th place (1hr 40m back from 1st) result at the recent Cape Epic is unquestionably absolute domination. He must be topping from the bottom.
(insert international conspiracy theory eye roll emoji here)
  • 1 0
 @dlford: You mean the ride where you have to have a partner? You must have overlooked Keegan beating the winner of the Cape Epic in a 123 mile race earlier in the month....
  • 2 0
 Yes, of course. He did the Marathon Worlds a few years ago, and got a top 10. A good US racer, but not quite good enough at Worlds level.......
  • 2 0
 He is indeed a top athlete in this division. Thing is there's way more money to be made racing the lifetime series and winning, than trying to win a world cup/overall.
  • 1 0
 Well he can enter if he wants.
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