Posted by Editoress on 10/2/20
One day after the first XCO World Cup of the season in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, riders were back racing for the second Short Track (XCC). Evie Richards (Trek Factory) took her second straight win in the women's race, while Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) won the men's. Leandre Bouchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was the top Canadian man in 17th, while Haley Smith (Norco Factory) was the best Canadian woman, in 21st. As a result, both will start on the third row of the XCO races on Sunday.
Conditions were much drier then in the first races on Tuesday and, in both races, the packs stayed pretty much together for the entire races. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Collective) spent the most time at the front in the women's seven lap race, but Richards moved to the front for the penultimate lap, only to crash in the switchback corner just before the start of the final lap. She was back up quickly, dropping about 6-7 places, and just like the first race, it was a drag race between Richards and Ferrand Prevot for the win. Ferrand Prevot got boxed in up against the barriers by Richards, who rode with her elbows out wide, and couldn't come by. The French rider threw her arm up in protest crossing the line, but Richards certainly didn't touch her, so the result stood.
Richards and Pauline Ferrand Prevot sprint
Smith, who struggled in the XCO the day before, started slowly, and crashed mid-race, but moved up in the final three laps, looking more confident as the race went on. Emily Batty (Trek Factory), the top Canadian rider in both the previous XCC and XCO, moved the front mid-race, but faded in the last two laps to finish 27th, just ahead of Jenn Jackson (Norco Factory) in 29th.
"Today was much better than yesterday. I've been having trouble with my brain/mental health/major-ups-and-downs for the last little while, and I was at a real low point yesterday. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to start today - I've learned that sometimes it's best for me to take a step back when I'm in these patches, but I decided that trying was important, irrespective of the outcome."
"My only goal was to respect my mental state and try to race with the capacity I had. I had absolutely no nerves or excitement on the start line, which was a weird state to race in, but it meant that I was quite calm. I began to work my way up in the first couple laps, and was sitting pretty at the half way point when I crashed on the last table jump at the bottom of the stadium and fell back to 40th. I'm most proud that I was able to chase back and put myself back in the fight. That was a really big win for me. I think I finished 21st in the end, which is nice for start position, but honestly feels unimportant compared to the mental wins I had today."
"I also want to say that I appreciate the compassion I've received from so many people, and the unfailing support from my family, friends and team that is just next level. I may lose some fights with myself, but I won't ever stay down for long."
In the men's race, Avancini, Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) and Thomas Litscher (KMC-Orbea) all stayed close to the front all race, however, the lead changed constantly, with no one able to establish a gap. Bouchard went to the front with four laps to go and led for nearly two laps before dropping back slightly. He then got held up by a crash, but recovered enough for 17th. Peter Disera (Norco Factory) was held up by the same crash, finishing 32nd.
"That was real fun to be at the front and be on the offensive," admitted Bouchard. "That's the first time I see the front of a World Cup, so I wanted to get the most of it. I was feeling good and composed out there."
"I'm really happy with how I raced in the short track! I was feeling good at the front with some top riders. Missing a bit of punch and positioning in the second last lap, but it's the way I raced that I'm proud of! 17th at only 6 seconds. I want to bring that vibe through the XCO with a third row start!"
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