Photo Epic: Drop the Hammer - Nove Mesto World Cup XC 2019

May 26, 2019 at 17:46
by Matthew DeLorme  


Photo Epic presented by Topeak


The cross country circus is back in the Czech Republic at one of the most electrifying venues on the calendar and we couldn't be more excited. This is a proper XC course and a favorite among the riders. Last year's racing was really close. The Women played a game of cat and mouse down the final stretch and the Men's race was a photo finish. Today, however, it was clear cut. Kate Courtney was ready to take another win and showed her strength after falling back a few spots. She crossed the line without a challenger in sight. In the Men's, Nino Schurter and Mathieu Van Der Poel were at each other's wheels. It was anyone's game until Van Der Poel laid the power down to guarantee Schurter second place and himself his first ever XC World Cup victory.

Ronja Eibl took second for the U23 women.
Ronja Eibl took second for the U23 women.

Laura Stigger took third in U23 Women.
Laura Stigger took third in U23 Women.

Haley Batten came out hard in the U23 Women s race and never looked back.
Haley Batten came out hard in the U23 Women's race and never looked back.

Go time for the U23 Men s field.
Go time for the U23 Men's field.

Simon Andreassen was in the mix throughout the race. Finishing third here in Nove Mesto was what the young gun was looking for after his performance in Germany.
Simon Andreassen was in the mix throughout the race. Finishing third here in Nove Mesto was what the young gun was looking for after his performance in Germany.

Filippo Colombo traded places a few times early on with Andreassen. He stayed with it however not enough to get passed Vlad Dascalu.
Filippo Colombo traded places a few times early on with Andreassen. He stayed with it, however, this was not enough to get passed Vlad Dascalu.

Impressive ride form Dascalu. He fended off attacks from both Andreassen and Colombo.
Impressive ride form Dascalu. He fended off attacks from both Andreassen and Colombo.

Dascalu put on one hell of a show.
Dascalu put on one hell of a show.

Andreassen in third Colombo second and Dascalu in first.
Andreassen in third, Colombo second, and Dascalu in first.

Haley Smith warms up in a bit of morning sun.
Haley Smith warms up in a bit of morning sun.

Time to line them up.
Time to line them up.

Calm as ever on the start.
Calm as ever on the start.

Kate Courtney is looking unstoppable.
Kate Courtney is looking unstoppable.

All in. Jolanda Neff getting warmed up for today s action.
All in. Jolanda Neff getting warmed up for today's action.

Early pace setters Jolanda Neff and Anne Tauber battle up the climb.
Early pace-setters Jolanda Neff and Anne Tauber battle up the climb.

It s good to see Jenny Rissveds back in action at the World Cups. 33rd on the day for the Swede.
It's good to see Jenny Rissveds back in action at the World Cups. 33rd on the day for the Swede.

Bec Henderson has had a rough couple years but today she took second. Looks like the Aussie is back on track.
Rebecca McConnell has had a rough couple years, but today she took second. Looks like the Aussie is back on track.

Rebecca Mcconnell had a great race today. She kept a good pace in her first laps before making her way up all to second.
Rebecca McConnell had a great race today. She kept a good pace in the first couple of laps before making her way up to second.

Anne Tauber lead the race out the gate with Jolanda not far behind. She had a mishap on a technical climb and couldn t recover.
Anne Tauber led the race out the gate with Jolanda not far behind. She had a mishap on a technical climb and couldn't recover.

Kate Courtney dropping into the first rock garden early on in the race.
Kate Courtney dropping into the first rock garden early on in the race.

Haley Hunter Smith edges out Anne Terpstra on Mitas Choice.
Haley Hunter Smith edges out Anne Terpstra on Mitas Choice.

A flat only fueled Kate Courtney s fire.
A flat only fueled Kate Courtney's fire.

Anee Tauber was having a solid start to the race but would end up in tenth at race end.
Anne Tauber was having a solid start to the race but would end up in tenth at race end.

Malene Degn s consistent effort would be good for fifth.
Malene Degn's consistent effort would be good for fifth.

Just inside the top 10 for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Just inside the top 10 for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

Kate Courtney in the spotlight yet again. She built herself a substantial lead and goes two for two on the year.
Kate Courtney in the spotlight yet again. She built herself a substantial lead and goes two for two so far this year.

Major milestone for Haley Smith today. She earned her first UCI World Cup podium in third and the fastest lap time in the Women s field. She s been climbing that ladder steady now.
Major milestone for Haley Smith today. She earned her first UCI World Cup podium in third and the fastest lap time in the Women's field. She's been climbing that ladder steady now.

Kate fans are fin-a-tical.
Kate fans are fin-a-tical.

Kate Courtney turned a race she thought had slipped away around to another win.
Kate Courtney turned a race she thought had slipped away around to another win.

Kate Courtney was elated to take win number two.
Kate Courtney was elated to take win number two.

What a day. Kate may have had us fooled when she dropped back to sixth before turning on the jets.
What a day. Kate may have had us fooled when she dropped back to sixth before turning on the jets.

Sina Frei fought hard for her fourth place beating out her ex-teammate.
Sina Frei fought hard for her fourth place, beating out her ex-teammate.

Elite Women s podium.
Elite Women's podium.

Nino Schurter on the line primed and ready to go.
Nino Schurter on the line, primed and ready to go.

Mathias Flueckiger definitely knows how to put on a show. He found himself back on the podium.
Mathias Flueckiger definitely knows how to put on a show. He found himself back on the podium.

The back and forth between Schurter and MVDP was one for the books.
The back and forth between Schurter and MVDP was one for the history books.

Nino pushed hard today but it wasn t enough when Mathieu decided to get a move on.
Nino pushed hard today, but it wasn't enough when Mathieu decided to get a move on.

Ondrej Cink took fifth today in front of a home crowd.
Ondrej Cink took fifth today in front of a home crowd.

Anton Cooper sunk into the pack on the opening lap but fought his way back into 16th.
Anton Cooper sunk into the pack on the opening lap but fought his way back into 16th.

Mathieu Van Der Poel leading out Nino Schurter before the long drag up the main climb.
Mathieu Van Der Poel leading out Nino Schurter before the long drag up the main climb.

Nino Schurter s every move was being closely monitored.
Nino Schurter's every move was being closely monitored.

Schurter made sure to keep Van Der Poel in his sights.
Schurter made sure to keep Van Der Poel in his sights.

Mathieu van der Poel had the power today.
Mathieu van der Poel had the power today.

Henrique Avancini rode to fourth place today.
Henrique Avancini rode to fourth place today.

Mathieu Van Der Poel lead Nino Schurter out in the last lap and stayed there.
Mathieu Van Der Poel leads Nino Schurter out in the last lap and stayed there.

You never forget your first.
You never forget your first.

Men s Elite Podium.
Men's Elite Podium.



69 Comments

  • + 126
 I'm sick of people who s*it on XC.
These riders slap burms, jumps, rock gardens, and flat turns at threshold for hours.

Badass folks right there.
  • - 118
flag thesharkman (May 26, 2019 at 22:46) (Below Threshold)
 Its garbage
  • + 17
 @thesharkman: your garbage
  • + 4
 … on semi-knob tires on anything but deep mud...
  • + 7
 @thesharkman: ur mum's garbage m8
  • - 7
flag vinay (May 28, 2019 at 4:08) (Below Threshold)
 I won't argue that it takes a lot to do well in XC and what they show here is impressive. That said, I'm still with those who say XC should become even more tech. In the spectrum of cycling sports, it sits kind of between CX and enduro racing (or you could say that CX sits between XC and road racing). And CX is already far from easy. So if you look at how far CX is from road and how far XC is from enduro, CX and XC appear a bit too similar. If you also look at what the top riders like Kate Courtney and Nino Schurter ride at "home", it makes a lot of sense to get even more tech into XC racing. To make it as far removed from CX as CX is removed from road cycling. Again, not saying there is no tech or challenges in XC, just meant to say that many of these challenges are in CX too.
  • + 36
 Huge shout out to Bec and Dan and Mondraker F-Podium Race Weapons and the whole BecandDan team!

Nice to see the perseverance to stick it out at the elite level with some self-funding paying off with a namesake Podium finish Smile .

Thanks Pinkbime for the solid XC coverage the past two weeks!
  • + 12
 While I’m at it misspelling Pinkbike, might as well represent the flag:

Norco Factory Team is flying with an updated stable of bikes and talent! On XC - Haley Smith and Peter Disera picking up podiums this weekend on Revolvers and over in DH, Sam Blenkinsop there or thereabouts on the Aurum high single pivot. I’ll be looking to demo a Norco this summer for sure!
  • + 1
 Just I magine if they had a decent cup of espresso before the race... @Nanojump:
  • + 22
 We need some pink bike hot-takes from viewers who can explain to us how MVDP was able to beat Nino whilst NOT having a droppah post.
  • + 19
 He went faster than the other guy!
  • + 10
 Neither had a dropper.
  • + 6
 They won the race on the climbs because they weren't carrying around a heavy dropper post. Haha!
  • + 5
 Cause droppers are completely uneccesary for a few descents when power is what wins these races
  • + 7
 I need to know! How was that sprint in that last climb possible?? Even in the Nino vs. Absalon era, we never witnessed such power in a last lap
  • + 2
 @EngineerOn2Wheels: because unlike Schurtur and Absalon, great as they are / we're, neither of them were absolute power monsters.
  • + 2
 @weetabix-man: time for less flats and straights always replaced with large amounts of tech to keep roadies from taking over
  • + 5
 @EngineerOn2Wheels: You should see his power data for the last 2k of the Amstel Gold Race. He is an absolute monster and if you don't do enough to chip-away at him, he always has a dagger ready for the finale.
  • + 13
 Whole new crop of women up front. A changing of the guard in action with some seriously skilled riders. When Yolanda Neff wins DH races at Windrock you can't dismiss the bike handling of XC racers. And I've never seen Nino look more human than when VDP dropped him like a hand grenade. That was power on a ludicrous level.
  • + 16
 Don't forget MVDP is probably the best cyclist in the world at the moment (according to Bart B)
  • + 13
 SSSSSMMMMMMIIIIIITTTHHHHHH!!!!!
  • + 6
 All race I'm praying Bec can at least finish on the podium. That means I'm watching the gap between whomever was in fifth back to Smith in sixth. Sometimes forty seconds, sometimes fifty seconds. And we don't see Smith at all on the footage until half way into the last lap and she's not only catching up but overtaking. Great ride from Smith!
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: It really was! But you're right...there wasn't much footage of her near the end, despite charging from quite a ways back. I figured she would be in fifth, and then boom, it was third!
  • + 12
 Once again, the womens race was the one to watch. Drama. Personal achievement. Disappointment. Fantastic!
  • + 7
 Motivation to go ride: seeing a guy in a t-shirt lined up to race the worlds best riders. Forget sponsors, just go out there and race.
  • + 4
 is that in the photos? i cant find it =(
  • + 4
 Sam Shaw?
  • + 6
 That was Sam Shaw: ride.lezyne.com/pages/samuel-shaw

We saw him, too and then checked the starter list. Quite impressive. Sam can hang in all the bycicle disciplines it seems.
But where does he find the time to do all this?
  • + 4
 @NZHixy: Gotta be Sam Shaw: www.instagram.com/sammietoejammie ground effect t-shirt and mullet?
  • + 1
 Yes it was Sam Shaw, I saw him on the live feed of the race @ewikpark:
  • + 1
 I commented on him as well, who the hell is lining up at a WC with a plain blue jersey? He got a new follower today for sure. Riding at the worlds best level maybe even at the back is pretty impressive. There seems to be a new feeling with racing lately where it really is a lot about the process of getting there and just doing your damn best. I like it.
  • + 5
 The legs on MVDP to be able to sprint like that on the last lap...

Big ups to Bec and her mob too...that was very cool. Let's do more of that!!

One observation about the PB photo spreads for XC... perhaps it's something to do with the clinical nature of the discipline and course setup or perhaps it's all down to the photographer...but I can't help thinking that there's (generally) too much distance from the action and less atmosphere in the XC images than those covering the DH and EWS. And XC doesn't lack for atmosphere or action...and you can actually see the rider's face!
  • + 4
 The "distance from the action" is because a XC race had 2-3-4-5-6-7 racers somewhere at the same time at the same spot and a DH or EWS rider make his race alone, fighting against the clock, not against the guy who is front of him, or at her side, or touching his front wheel on your rear tire...
  • + 1
 @bicitechmtb: I understand that difference in the racing format (I've both raced and photographed XC at the club level) but I'm not sure how that would impact on the framing of the photos...like I said PBs photo coverage of DH and EWS captures 'something' of the atmosphere that I feel is (so far) missing from their XC coverage.
  • + 4
 VDP seemed to ride a smart race for a change, not wasting any power early on and staying out of trouble, which requires a bit of luck too. If he's able to keep his powder dry like this, that's the explosion you'll get. He's really something else. Don't give him a half minute of recovery or he'll have his legs back no matter what happend before. The Dutch road race champs this year was rediculous for example: He was in an escape of 4 for over an hour, doing massive work, before he got caught by the main bunch. It's the Netherlands, so it's a bunch full of pro's heading straight to the Tour de France after that. He still outsprinted everyone on the last 3-4% short climb to the finish. His Amstel Gold race finish turned viral, but that one is up there too.
  • + 1
 MVDP's other move was to sneak ahead of Nino on the descent just before that so Nino couldn't gain an advantage. He was able to slow things down, relax a bit, and then blow away on the climb.
  • + 8
 Course looks properly gnarly !
  • + 8
 Haley Smith...Pete Disera flatpanders who kill it!Smile
  • + 5
 That was a brilliant spot VDP picked for his attack. Nino's face was wincing right before VDP kicked, probably never expected to be attacked in that spot.
  • + 1
 It was brilliant in more ways. VDP being really hard to beat in a sprint, chances are Nuno thought he was waiting for him to attack on a climb in the last lap. To do the exact opposite is a great tactical move.
  • + 7
 Kate!
  • + 5
 But what about that mexican in 8th? Didn't see that one coming!
  • + 4
 Ah! Kudus to Maxime Marotte, who wears a propper MTB helmet (with a visor!) and not a roadish xc one;D
  • + 5
 VDP drops Schurter like a dirty shirt, and he needs a rest? Come on.
  • + 11
 Yes he needs a rest...he's won 50 races the past 12 months in CX, road and MTB. You don't want to burn out a champion. I want to see him racing all disciplines for another 10 years.
  • + 5
 Agree with PapaStone, like any big turbo engine, the line between maximum horsepower and a blow up block is pretty thin Smile
  • + 1
 @PapaStone: he'll race cross and MTB until after the Olympics, then concentrate on thrashing everyone on the road, like Sagan, making millions in the process.
  • + 1
 Will Anne Tauber race a full season? I thought she was into ice skating too so she may need a break as well. Especially in these endurance sports, it seems like it is easy to burn out in just a few seasons if you don't rest up properly.
  • + 4
 Amazing XC season....so good to see newcomers really challenging the former champs
  • + 4
 What happened to Emily Batty?
  • + 2
 Wondering the same thing...
  • + 6
 Only Batty knows what's wrong with Batty...and maybe her coach. All we can do is speculate, but I'd guess repeatability caught up with her and she plateaud from same training prep she's done for years: She's riding in the Arizona desert instead of living in Europe and doing all the hard early races (I.E. Proffix) for preparation like the other fast girl are. Historically, she's always started race seasons slowly and always got stronger towards the end of the season (World Championships has always been her peak goal); probably stagnated hard this year as her body acclimatized to training too early.
  • + 1
 Man, the legs of Flueckiger...
It's like seeing the dark days of road cycling when everyone was on drugs and with 3% body fat.
  • + 1
 As always thanks for putting the result right in the title! So lame. Was kinda saving the races until family left after the long weekend.
  • + 4
 gutted for Anne Tauber
  • + 1
 Looks like MVDP is on new Shimano Sphyre shoes. Looks like boa dial protectors, more triangular shape dials and new grips on the bottom.
  • + 1
 What is with Sam Gaze? One or two years ago he was seen as the next big threat against Schurter next to VDP.
  • + 6
 He's recovering from a concussion.
  • + 4
 He has that injury from last year, then a new concussion during Cape Epic. Also battling the mental setbacks (his words).
  • + 0
 "when ya blow ya focus, blow ya exposure, blow composition, blow everything in the photo.. make it black and white and call it art.. and now it costs more .." - Zac Arias Smile
  • + 2
 Amazing photos. Thanks PB
  • + 3
 Amazing photos!
  • + 1
 Is it just me or Kate is racing with no bottle at all??? It look's like she just use the drink in the feedzone...
  • + 4
 Drink and drop. You go through a feedzone every 6 minutes. Why would you pack the weight of a bottle?
  • + 1
 What happens when you flat during a XC race?
  • + 4
 You ride the flat until you get to one of the tech/feed zones for a wheel swap.
  • + 1
 What is the front tire on MVDP bike ?
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