Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) finally took his first Mountain Bike World Cup victory on Sunday, at Round 2 in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
Van der Poel was at the front from the start on a course that he calls his favourite. However, he was shadowed by his nemesis, world champion Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM). The duo rode away from the rest of the field, with local favourite Ondrej Cink (Kross Racing) following alone in third.
Schurter tried an attack halfway through the race on the longest climb but van der Poel easily covered it. The world champion could not respond when van der Poel launched a searing attack on the final climb of the last lap, opening up a gap of 15 seconds in 300 metres, and riding in to win by 19 seconds, recording the fastest lap of the day.
Round 1 winner Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN Swiss Bike) took third. Van der Poel, by virtue of second at Round 1, two short track wins and now his first XCO win, continues to lead the overall standings with 700 points, followed by Flueckiger at 500 and Schurter at 485.
"It was a battle between the greatest mountain bikers, so it was so sweet to win," said van der Poel. "I had that point on the course for my attack in my mind two laps before the finish, and I just went all in. I'm really happy to finally get my first World Cup win. For me, it is one of my biggest achievements, one of the toughest things I can do. I've been trying for three years, so I've been dreaming of a World Cup win."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned)||1:21:54|
|2||Nino Schurter (Sui)||0:00:19|
|3||Mathias Flueckiger (Sui)||0:01:53|
|4||Henrique Avancini (Bra)||0:02:01|
|5||Ondřej Cink (Cze)||0:02:12|
|6||Maxime Marotte (Fra)||0:02:30|
|8||Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo (Mex)||0:02:46|
|9||Andri Frischknecht (Sui)|
|10||Jordan Sarrou (Fra)||0:02:51|