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MTB World Cup: McConnell makes it three in Nové Mesto

Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker Genuins) continues to have a perfect season at the Mountain Bike World Cup, winning her third straight XCO on Sunday, at Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. 

McConnell is the first woman ever to accomplish this feat of winning the opening three rounds of the season. This may have been her most dominant win yet, riding away from the rest of the field after the start lap to win by 40 seconds ahead of defending World Cup champion Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV). Jenny Rissveds (Team 31) took third.

The Nove Mesto course is dominated by long, steep climbs, with the women doing a shorter, 2.7 kilometre start lap followed by six laps of the full 3.9 kilometre circuit.

McConnell exited the start lap with only Rissveds still on her wheel. Rissveds quickly fell back to the chase group of Lecomte, Haley Batten (Specialized Factory) and Sina Frei (Specialized Factory) when McConnell continued to set a blistering pace up the first climb. Batten and Frei were dropped by the other two on the next climb, leaving just Lecomte and Rissveds to chase. Olympic champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) moved into fourth, but couldn't catch the two chasers.

The gap stabilized at around 20 seconds for the first four laps, but when Lecomte surged on Lap 5 to try and reel in McConnell, two things happened - Rissveds was dropped, and McConnell opened up the throttle on the final lap to double her eventual winning margin to 40 seconds.

"I knew coming into this race that I'm in the best form of my life," said McConnell. "This morning, I wasn't even sure how to attack this race. Nove Mesto is always really good for me, and I always seem to be able to get a good performance here. I just had the legs today and I wanted to go with it. It's nice to have this head start [in the standings], but it's early days. Right now, I just want to keep living the dream."

McConnell now has a total of 935 points after three rounds, 349 over second place Lecomte, who jumped from fifth in the standings. In a tie for third, 78 points further back, are Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory) and Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory).

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