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MTB World Cup: Neff, Schwarzbauer take Short Track wins in Nove Mesto

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L to r: Thomas Pidcock, Luca Schwarzbauer, Filippo Colombo

L to r: Thomas Pidcock, Luca Schwarzbauer, Filippo Colombo (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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L to r: Rebecca McConnell, Jolanda Neff, Jenny Rissveds,

L to r: Rebecca McConnell, Jolanda Neff, Jenny Rissveds, (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Women start

Women's race start (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Women start

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco Factory Team) and Pauline Ferrand Prvot (BMC MTB Racing)

Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco Factory Team) and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (BMC MTB Racing) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Jenny Rissveds (Team 31)

Jenny Rissveds (Team 31) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Rebecca Ellen McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins)

Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Loana Lecomte (Canyon Cllctv)

Loana Lecomte (Canyon Cllctv) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing)

Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing XC) takes the win ahead of Jenny Rissveds (Team 31)

Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing XC) takes the win ahead of Jenny Rissveds (Team 31) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Men start

Men's race start (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Men Start

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) at the front

Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) at the front (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv)

Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) leading Mathias Fluckiger (Thömus Maxon) and Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing)

Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) leading Mathias Fluckiger (Thömus Maxon) and Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) takes the win

Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) takes the win (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) gets some crowd appreciation

Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) gets some crowd appreciation (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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World Cup leader Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv)

World Cup leader Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon Cllctv) (Image credit: Rob Jones)

The third round of the Short Track (XCC) World Cup saw two new winners in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, on Friday. Olympic champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory) won the women's race, while first time winner Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV) took the men's. Rebecca McConnell (Primaflora Mondraker Genuins), by finishing second to Neff takes the leader's jersey for the women's series, while Schwarzbauer moves into the men's overall lead.

The Nove Mesto track was extremely fast, with the top men recording sub-two minute laps. While there were a few small climbs, the most technical detail was the 180-degree turn immediately after the finish line. The women competed over nine laps and the men raced 11 laps.

McConnell, who also leads the cross country standings, attacked with three laps to go. She was chased down by Alessandra Keller (Thomus Maxon), Neff, XCC World Cup leader Pauline Ferrand Prevot (BMC MTB) and Loana Lecomte (Canyon CLLCTV). They were joined by Jenny Rissveds (Team 31), Sina Frei (Specialized Factory) and Linda Indergand (Liv Factory) to make up the final lead group. Ferrand Prevot broke her chain with two laps to go and was forced to abandon, with the final sprint coming down to Neff and McConnell. McConnell takes over the XCC jersey from Ferrand Prevot, with 600 points to her rival's 450. Neff moves into third, tied at 390 points with Keller

"It couldn't have gone any better," said Neff. "Honestly, going up the last climb I kept thinking someone was going to pass me, but I came to the top and I was still in front, so I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to sprint now'. I had the perfect position and I won. It's amazing."

The men's race started out very fast before slowing due to a headwind discouraging breakaways. By Lap 5 the bunch had started to thin, with XCC World Cup leader Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory) crashing in a corner, but quickly rejoining the leaders. Schwarzbauer, who has been the most aggressive rider in every XCC thus far, attacked just before the start of Lap 8, thinning out the lead group considerably. He was followed by Filippo Colombo (BMC MTB Racing), Vlad Dascalu (Trek Factory Racing XC), Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory) and Sebastian Fini Carstensen (KMC - Orbea). 

Schwarzbauer stayed at or close to the front for the next lap and then attacked on the climb of the final lap. His attack was so hard and fast it was not countered, taking the win with a large gap over Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), who won the sprint for second. Schwarzbauer takes the Series lead with 495 points, 55 ahead of former leader Hatherly.

"It's crazy," admitted Schwarzbauer about his first World Cup win. "I'm completely breathless - because of the sprint, but also because I can't believe I just won a World Cup. I'm happy to be on this new team and that I can give something back.

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