The Rainbow Connection: XC World Cup, Nove Mesto - U23 Men and Elite Women Race Recap

May 20, 2017 at 15:12
by Matthew DeLorme  



Here we are at the start of a fresh new season, and with new seasons come questions. The biggest being who did their homework in the offseason? There are other questions as well, as some riders have switched teams. Questions such as "Is the new team a good fit?" or "Will so and so like his or her new bike?" But the biggest question is where is everyone at in their fitness after an Olympic year. The Olympics put a special stress on riders and can leave them a bit out of the game the following season. The curse of the Olympics is much like the curse of the rainbow jersey, except it can affect anyone. It's no small thing carrying the stress of a nation's pride on your shoulders, much less having to maintain a peak for both Worlds and the Games. It is no wonder why the season after an Olympic year is such an interesting one. That's not to say there aren't exceptions to the rule, there always are. That said, we got the season underway today with the Women Elite and U23 men racers here in Nove Mesto, and interesting racing it was indeed.

Annika Langvad came into this season with the rainbow jersey, and she came out swinging today to take the win in commanding fashion. She took the lead after the start lap from Linda Indergand and never looked back. Langvad finished a minute up on the second place Sabine Spitz. Rumor had it that Sabine was retiring, but apparently, she couldn't stay away. While the front of the field suffered flats and other mechanicals, Sabine used her years of racing expertise to charge her way to second place. Worst retirement ever or best? Either way, it was one hell of a ride. For the U23 men Norway's Petter, Fagerhaug battled it out with Martins Blums to take the win and Sasu Halme took third. So far it has been a very exciting start to the season, and we have another day of racing tomorrow.

Thanks for the coffee Irmo.
Thanks for the coffee, Irmo.

What better way to get your first World Cup started...
What better way to get your first World Cup started...

Osha is this ok has to have these guys in their feed somewhere.
Osha_is_this_ok has to have these guys in their feed somewhere.

The always busy SRAM techs keeping those big wheels turning.
The always busy SRAM techs, keeping those big wheels turning.

It was a long sleve and windows down kind of day after the nice weather we had been having here in Nove Mesto.
It was a long sleeve and windows down kind of day after the nice weather we had been having here in Nove Mesto.

A huge men s under 23 field blazes off for the first World Cup of 2017.
A huge men's under-23 field blazes off for the first World Cup of 2017.

Battle scars on Dutchman Milan Vader s leg. A bad day threw him back to 45th place.
Battle scars on Dutchman Milan Vader's leg. A bad day threw him back to 45th place.

Simon Andreassen fought hard but only managed 49th. Simon s fought with back issues. No giving up for the strong Dane though.
Simon Andreassen fought hard, but only managed 49th. Simon's fought with back issues. No giving up for the strong Dane though.

Sebastian Fini Carstensen leads Fagerhaug early on through Mitas Choice.
Sebastian Fini Carstensen leads Fagerhaug early on through Mitas Choice.

The mechanicals came early on and never let up.
The mechanicals came early on and never let up.

Prepared for flats.
Prepared for flats.

Germany s Georg Egger took off full speed. Making his way up to the top of the Nove Mesto Course his competitors follow.
Germany's Georg Egger took off full speed, making his way up to the top of the Nove Mesto course as his competitors follow.

Norway s Petter Fagerhaug led the race from the second lap onwards and rode to an uncontested win.
Norway's Petter Fagerhaug led the race from the second lap onwards and rode to an uncontested win.

Petter Fagerhaug racing home on the final lap.
Petter Fagerhaug racing home on the final lap.

Sassu Halme drops it like it s hot. Third place U23 men.
Sassu Halme drops it like it's hot. Third place U23 men.

Petter Fagerhaug saultes and bows his head all at once.
Petter Fagerhaug saultes and bows his head all at once.

XC World Cup round 1

The battle is on for this leader jersey. One more week to go till round two.
The battle is on for this leader's jersey. One more week to go till round two.

Covered in dust but happy as can be. Third for Sebastian Fini.
Covered in dust, but happy as can be. Third for Sebastian Fini.

Eat your sausages for strength because you re not likely to find a vegetable in the near vicinity.
Eat your sausages for strength, because you're not likely to find a vegetable in the near vicinity.

Pendrel posing for photo or three.
Pendrel posing for photo or three.

Neff was all smiles at the start of the race.
Neff was all smiles at the start of the race.

The UCI s iPad and app detects any magnetic abnormalities used to find hidden motors in bikes. So far none have been found in mountainbiking. Checks are done prior and after races.
The UCI's iPad and app detects any magnetic abnormalities - it's used to find hidden motors in bikes. So far, none have been found in mountain biking. Checks are done prior and after races.

As racers warm up. crew packs up their gear and head out to the tech zones.
As racers warm up, the crew packs up their gear and head out to the tech zones.

We ve said it before and we will say it again. Spectators make a race. Maja Wloszczowska s fanclub is always present in large numbers in Nove Mesto and cheers her on.
We've said it before and we will say it again: spectators make a race. Maja Wloszczowska's fanclub is always present in large numbers in Nove Mesto and cheers her on.

Jolanda Neff is always fast out of the startgate. Eager for another World Cup win the Swiss rider blazes off as threatening clouds gather.
Jolanda Neff is always fast out of the start gate. Eager for another World Cup win, the Swiss rider blazes off as threatening clouds gather.

Catharine Pendrel is always a force to be reckoned with as was the case today. A twisted chain and a flat saw her chances vanish.
Catharine Pendrel is always a force to be reckoned with, as was the case today. A twisted chain and a flat saw her chances vanish.

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa overtakes Maja Wloszczowska as she struggled in Mita s choice.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa overtakes Maja Wloszczowska as she struggled in Mita's choice.

Annie Last digging deep on her way to tenth place. It s nice to see Last come back into form.
Annie Last digging deep on her way to tenth place. It's nice to see Last come back into form.

Linda Indergand had a very strong ride today and took third.
Linda Indergand had a very strong ride today and took third.

Despite flying down the downhill s this wasn t Emily Batty s day. The women s race proved to be full of surprises as fast riders struggled and others flourished.
Despite flying down the downhills this wasn't Emily Batty's day. The women's race proved to be full of surprises as fast riders struggled and others flourished.

Sabine Spitz. She has won it all in her career and she does not show any signs of slacking whatsoever. A very strong second for her.
Sabine Spitz. She has won it all in her career and she does not show any signs of slacking whatsoever. A very strong second for her.

Helen Grobert had a good first day out and took seventh place.
Helen Grobert had a good first day out and took seventh place.

Belomoina powering up the big bad slog in the center. Belomoina took fifth.
Belomoina powering up the big bad slog in the center. Belomoina took fifth.

Langvad and Ingergand on the first climb on lap one. Langvad would pass and never look back.
Langvad and Ingergand on the first climb on lap one. Langvad would pass and never look back.

Annika Langvad. What can you say She wasn t feeling the curse of the jersey today.
Annika Langvad. What can you say? She wasn't feeling the curse of the jersey today.

Maja had an off in Mitas Choice on lap one but made it back to fourth by race end.
Maja had an off in Mitas Choice on lap one, but made it back to fourth by race end.

Up the center. Over and Over. It takes it s toll.
Up the center. Over and Over. It takes its toll.

18th was not how Jolanda Neff wanted to start the season off.
18th was not how Jolanda Neff wanted to start the season off.

As for Annika she has done it again. A solo victory riding to another win in Nove Mesto.
As for Annika, she has done it again. A solo victory, riding to another win in Nove Mesto.

Yana Belomoina and Maja Wloszczowska battle it out for fourth place.
Yana Belomoina and Maja Wloszczowska battle it out for fourth place.

Maja had another rough one in Nove Mesto but this time she took the sprint.
Maja had another rough one in Nove Mesto, but this time she took the sprint.

XC World Cup round 1

XC World Cup round 1

Words from the winner.
Words from the winner.

Fair play.
Fair play.

XC World Cup round 1
See you back here tomorrow for U23 Women and Elite Men.



61 Comments

  • + 47
 Love the XC coverage!
  • + 25
 If I were pendrel, I'd be pissed that my mechanic didn't have a chain pre split to the correct length. If he was neutral support, why wouldn't pendrel have her link count written on her chainstay? Valuable minutes wasted for something super simple.
  • + 11
 How often do you expect to swap a chain in an XCO? I was surprised he even had a chain in the tech zone... That said she'll probably have one pre split and ready to go for the rest of her career and never need it again.
  • + 4
 @madblack: They have everything from wheels, to derailleur hangers, to spare seat posts and handlebars typically
  • + 4
 @rrsport: handlebars? woah this is pretty intense
  • + 4
 @FrozenTreads56: I cant remember which race it was but one of the world cups last year or the year before of the elite womans handlebar snapped and she got it swapped
  • + 3
 @rrsport: Last year in Nove Mesto. Gunn Rita Dahle snapped her just after the start.
  • + 1
 @madblack: I guess we jinxed Stirnemann Wink
  • + 2
 Wasn't she one of the few riders running a chain guide? So much for that idea. I wonder if that's what caused the chain to break. It seems like maybe the chain came off, and the guide didn't work correctly, so the chain was able to squeeze out of the guide. Either that damaged the chain, or she damaged it trying to get it back on (because there was a guide in the way). Either way, I'm curious what happened. Any new details?
  • + 25
 Petter f*gerhaug bringin back the dab
  • + 16
 No, he was saluting and bowing his head all at once.
  • - 26
flag mtbakerpow (May 20, 2017 at 22:08) (Below Threshold)
 Fucking dumb...the only reason I'm jealous of this event is that bangin BBQ set up
  • + 3
 I thought it was in everyone's contract that the winner has to throw both arms up while crossing the finish line?
  • + 21
 Cencorship on any f-words on pb even last names- this is worse than communism.
  • + 5
 Now that is a few tens of milions of people dead less that communism but it is funny Big Grin
  • + 2
 So if I type 'fagerhaug' its gonna correct me?

edit - yup. F'agerhaug
  • + 1
 I know. How sad is it that we sensor names. Come on. Why are bubble wrapping the world?
  • + 5
 @VwHarman: I know, but at least he isn't called Bigus Dickus
  • + 17
 Pinkbike is the coolest website on the planet for mountainbiking and you don't know what a DAB is?!
  • + 15
 Totally unacceptable to modify his Petter F a gerhaug's name under any circumstance.
  • + 1
 Agreed. I really had to go to the comment section to find out how his name was written. I actually expected it to be because of some accent not supported by the characterset on my computer. It is pretty common actually for the media to write names of "foreign" athletes wrong, even if they end up on the podium. But this beats them all.
  • + 3
 @vinay: Auto censorship of any word is pretty lame. This showcases its stupidity. It will be communicated to the PB tech heads.
  • + 11
 Thank you PB for this coverage. I watched it on Redbull TV but these pics provide a totally different angle! Keep it up!
  • + 7
 Fuck yeah, XC races becoming gnarlier than some DH ones, now we're talking!
  • + 7
 Not seeing many Rockshox RS-1s this year.
  • + 5
 But droppers a plenty, compared to previous years.
  • + 1
 They're a bitch and a half to maintain and break more often that SIDs... They are slightly lighter but the lack of stiffness and usability doesn't outweighs the minute difference between the two.
  • + 1
 @Randomacity: RS-1 is heavier than the old SID and the new SID. Never made much sense for XC racing when the SID (or Fox 32 SC) exists.
  • + 5
 I like how these Xc tracks are rougher than our old dh tracks from back in the day!
  • + 2
 I thought it was some PB joke or some stage name used by the rider... Are we readers lacking such common sense you have to guard yourself of spelling someone's real name for the odd complaint (if any) which you should stick up for?
  • + 2
 @ikeizer: You've got a new lens? I typically recognize your pictures by the wide aperture (pretty much fixed in f=2.Cool . Now you also use a pretty wild 11mm wide angle lens. Looks cool though, you use it well Smile .
  • + 4
 Yeah I got sick of my fisheye so got 11-24 now. But 4.0 is maximum aperture. There will be a wide angle, fast lens coming up as soon as it is out Smile . Cheers Vinay.
  • + 1
 I love the pictures that capture the tires the racers are using. XC tire choice is sometimes critical to success and it's always a compromise between speed and grip. The women's winner, Annika, was using a Specialized Fast Trak in the front for grip and a Specialized Renegade in the rear for speed. Good stuff!
  • + 5
 what is that Norwegian guy's surname?
  • + 5
 Pinkbike's system thinks we were swearing.
  • + 13
 It's F-asterisk-gerhaug. Very common Norwegian surname.
  • + 12
 It's spelled F a g e r h a u g (literally translates to "lovely hill"

I'm guessing Pinkbike should look into getting in an exception for his name into their state-of-the-art anti-swearword system, as it might not be the last time they have to use that name.

For instance he raced U21 in the EWS round in Finale Ligure last year and came third, with just one (I think) Norwegian enduro round under his belt prior to that. He's that good. And the size of the start field in Nove Mesto u23 was enormous.
  • + 4
 @lowgear: Agreed and not only that. Pinkbike should simply not run that censorship program over their articles and not even look at what happened. Even now, many hours after the article was published and they must have been aware of the error, they haven't fixed it and still not re-uploaded the original article. F*A*G*E*R*H*A*U*G performed well and deserves the exposure without us having to resort to such creative ways of writing his name.
  • + 2
 @samimerilohi: hahahahahaha! Too funny. Thanks for a laugh in an otherwise embarassing example of going too far. Next embarrassing will be censored due to containing the word ass...
  • + 3
 Rock gardens! It's been a while since I've paid any attention to xc, the tracks look rough. Can see why many are running full sus.
  • + 2
 Half way through through the story, and I'm thinking "XC racing is such a sausage fest." Then I saw PB covered the womens racing too.
  • + 3
 Gordon Ramsey on the bbq, them sausage looked sweet . Those tyres make me scared
  • + 4
 Czech Republic making XC great again.
  • + 3
 94 tasty looking sausages... I just might cook one up for breakfast now!!! great coverage
  • + 4
 Never enough tubed meat at XC events...
  • + 2
 an IPAD checks if there s no motor in the bke, really ??? if there's cheating the UCI knowns it .. its like road cycling ....
  • + 1
 Irmo... your shots are AWESOME! And your pics of the women riders destroyed the men's. Thanks for not going the whole "chicks are pretty on bikes" thing.
  • + 4
 29rs galore!
  • + 1
 My god Pinkbike...its like Christmas in May with this coverage...thank you!
  • + 2
 Annika Langvad another fast dentist!
  • + 3
 Where is Jenny Rissveds?
  • + 2
 Sadly, she is mourning the loss of 2 close family members. All our best to her.
  • + 3
 Dropper post ?!
  • + 1
 Yup, I counted a few myself
  • + 1
 There are many about nowadays.
  • + 2
 Perfect shot of the womens podium! so sick
  • + 2
 Proof that cottage cheese is genetic...
  • + 2
 dude was dabbing hard
  • + 0
 Rainbow connection is a gay club at my school
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