Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Henrique Avancini showed their form Sunday, putting in dominant performances at World Cup #2 in Nove Mesto. The two wins couldn’t have been more different, though. Ferrand Prevot made her move early, controlling the fourth World Cup race in six days. Avancini waited patiently before sprinting to his, and Brazil’s first-ever XCO victory.
Emily Batty and Léandre Bouchard again led the Canadian efforts in the Czech Republic.
Ferrand Prevot blows up elite women’s World Cup #2
In contrast to Thursday’s race, which saw tight group riding for the majority of the race, Sunday’s XCO#2 blew up on lap one. World champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot had three podiums in three races coming into the final World Cup, but no win yet. From the gun, the French rider focused on changing that. On the first of five laps, the race splintered into groups of one or two riders. Ferrand-Prevot rode away from the chasers, which included Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory Racing), Loana Lecomte (Massi), Laura Stigger, Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker) and Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing).
“I felt much better than Thursday. I knew when I had to attack,” said Ferrand Prevot, adding “I start full gas and try to open the gap. At the end it was a small gap, but I could make it and I am super happy.”
As for her lead from-the-front-strategy, the world champ says controlling the race was part of the plan. “It is quite technical on the climb but also on the downhill, so it is better to be at the front. I wanted to trust my lines.”
While Ferrand-Prevot established herself at the front, the other established elite women’s favorites were struggling. Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM), Jolanda Neff and Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) and Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Team31) were all sliding down the standings.
Terpstra pushed hard to try regain contact, but it was Ferrand Prevot riding alone from start to finish.
For Ferrand-Prevot, it’s the conclusion of her comeback from surgery in the off-season. It will also be a huge boost in confidence going into next week’s world championships, where the French woman will attempt to defend her rainbow jersey for another year.
Terpstra finishes second. After winning Thursday’s XCO#1 in her first elite appearance, Lecomte is on the podium again in third.
Batty top Cancuk while Jackson continues to impress
Emily Batty leads the Canadian effort, placing 30th in Nove Mesto. Jenn Jackson (Norco Factory Racing) finishes 35th, one spot ahead of World Cup winner Kate Courtney. Haley Smith finishes 10 spots back in 46th.
Avancini wins first World Cup XCO one week out from worlds
Brazilian champion Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) has been chasing his first World Cup for years. After numerous podiums, near misses and wins in XCC, Avancini sprinted hard to claim his first XCO win in emphatic fashion Sunday.
In contrast to the women’s race, which splintered immediately under pressure from Prevot, a small group formed in the men’s race and stayed together until the finish line. Along with Avancini, Thursday’s winner Simon Andreassen (Specialized), reigning world champion Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM), and rising talent Milan Vader (KMC Orbea).
When Schurter made one of his characteristic attacks on the final lap, it momentarily put Avancini in difficulty. The Brazilian was not about to let his rival ride away so close to the finish, though. Avancini returned to the group and prepared for the sprint.
In the sprint, the powerful Avancini sprinted away from Schurter and Vader, landing his first-ever XCO World Cup win.
“This is a dream that has been inside me for around 10 years. I know how much work I put in to get here, and it is such a special moment for me and my country. I am more than happy,” said the 31-year-old. “Anything is possible when you truly believe and work deeply for something. I don’t have the same talent as those guys. I was really motivated and wanted to beat Nino as he is the most pure talent in this sport.”
The young Dutch champion Milan Vader also outsprints Olympic champion Shcurter to steal second. Schurter takes third in the second, and final World Cup of the season. Unable to take a win in an abbreviated 2020 World Cup season, the Swiss star has to wait another year to try surpass Julian Absalon’s World Cup win total.
Bouchard continues his march up through World Cup ranks
Léandre Bouchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was again the top Canadian in Nove Mesto. Bouchard improved several spots from Thursday to finish 31st in XCO#2, backing up an impressive showing in Friday’s XCC race. Marc Andre Fortier, Bouchard’s teammate, finishes 48th. Peter Disera is 64th for Norco Factory Team, followed by teammate Andrew L’Esperance in 78th. Raphael Auclair (Pivot Cycles-OTE) wrapped up the Canadian entries in 88th.