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Haley Smith lands first World Cup podium in Nové Mesto

Kate Courtney wins second straight XCO

After a late race surge, Haley Smith scored her first World Cup podium, finishing third in Nové Mesto, Czech Republic.

On the last of six laps, Smith caught and passed former world champion Jolanda Neff, under-23 world champion Sina Frei and a quickly fading Anne Tauber to take the final podium spot.

Haley Smith on her way to third in Nove Mesto. Image: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Smith (Norco Factory Team) had been riding consistently all race, sitting just inside the top 10 for the opening laps with fellow Canadian Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team). As the race progressed, Smith moved steadily up the leaderboard. With one lap to go, the Uxbridge, Ont. rider was sitting sixth, closing on Neff (Trek Factory Racing) and Frei (Ghost Factory Racing).

Anne Tauber (CST Sandd) was the first to go. After leading for five laps, the Dutch rider was struggling with a malfunctioning drivetrain and quickly fading backwards. after being passed by American Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM). Smith then passed the Neff and Frei. Only Frei able to hold her wheel, as Neff was struggling to push through a flat tire. Smith was within sight of Rebecca McConnell and closing ground, but ran out of real estate.

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Courtney crossed the line alone in first, taking her second World Cup win in as many weeks. McConnell landed second, the Australian riders best result after a slower 2018 season.

Smith, clearly elated, held off Frei to finish third, her first World Cup podium.

Sina Frei, Rebecca McConnell, Kate Courtney, Haley Smith, Malene Degn. 2019 Elite Women’s UCI XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic Image: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Catharine Pendrel was the next best placed Canadian, finishing 14th. Sandra Walter (Liv Racing) was 28th. Jenn Jackson (AWI Racing) was close behind in 31st. Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) finished 38th, Cindy Montambault 51st and Rebecca Beaumont 60th.

Catharine Pendrel leads Malene Degn early on in the UCI XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. Image: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool