Posted by Editoress on 05/23/15
Haley Smith (Canadian National) took her best European result ever at the opening round of the World Cup on Saturday, in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, finishing ninth in the Under 23 Women's cross-country. Canadian champion Frederic Trudel (Specialized Canada) was one spot behind her.
The Under 23 Women race was won by Swedish champion Jenny Rissveds (Scott-Odlo). Rissveds rode away from defending champion Margot Moschetti (Betch.nl Superior Brentjens) to take the win and don the leader's jersey for the World Cup. American champion Kate Courtney (Specialized) finished third.
Rain was forecast and threatened all race but, luckily, did not materialize. Rissveds, Moschetti, Courtney and Alessandra Keller (Strueby-Bixs) quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the field on the long climbs. Rissveds and Moschetti then dropped the other two riders to fight for the win, while Courtney and Keller battled for the final podium spot.
Rissveds dropped Moschetti more than once in the technical sections in the first half of the race, but the French rider would always come back on the climbs, until the third lap, when Rissveds finally opened a lead that would stick to the finish line, finishing 42 seconds in front of Moschetti.
Keller held onto the two leaders longer than Courtney, but the American surged on the third lap and the Swiss rider could not respond. Courtney extended her lead through the last lap as Keller faded, to finish one minute and 9 seconds behind Rissveds.
"I was excited to get this win in the first world Cup of the season," said Rissveds. "We knew that Margot would be stronger on the climbs, so my goal was just to control the race there, and it worked perfectly."
Smith rode in the mid-teens for the first lap and a half before starting to move up into the top ten. Her final two laps were her fastest, with the last lap the fifth fastest of the field. She overtook Andrea Waldis (Luna), but was beaten in a sprint to the line.
"I've never sprinted before," explained Smith. I tried attacking earlier in the lap but couldn't get away. I'm really happy with this result."
Note: We have an interview with Smith below.
Trudel also had a strong race, starting from well back in the field. By the second lap she was into the top-20, a lap later was 13th and on the final lap had the fourth fastest time to move up to tenth.
Maghalie Rochette (Luna) finished 16th, Catherine Fleury (Canadian National) 22nd. Marine Lewis (Canadian National) 40th and Rachel Pageau (Cyclone d'Alma) 41st.