Batten claims short track in Nove Mesto World Cup

Hayley Batten in action
Hayley Batten in action (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The second round of the Mountain Bike World Cup opened on Friday evening in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, with a muddy Short Track (XCC). Under-23 rider Haley Batten (Trinity Racing) won the women's race in only her second start for this event while the overall leader's jerseys remains with Loana Lecomte (Massi).

The roughly 20-minute short track offered half the points of a cross-country (XCO) win, and the top 24 finishers occupy the first three rows on the start line for Sunday's XCO so, for the top 40 ranked riders who are allowed to enter, it is a serious battle.

After rain all week, the 1.5-kilometre circuit was extremely slick and muddy, with an extended climb added over previous years, making the circuit 50 per cent longer than in the past. It made the women's race almost four minutes longer than the usual 20 minutes, and the men's race was shortened to the same six laps as the women for this reason.

Batten, who is one of four American women battling for two Olympic spots, showed that last week's third place in the XCO was no fluke; grabbing the holeshot at the start and consistently sitting in the top-3 through the first half of the race. By the end of the third lap, the lead group was down to six, with last week's XCC winner, world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC), and 2016 Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) also in the group. Ferrand-Prévot then crashed hard in a muddy section, dropping out of the race and lying on the side of the course, clutching her abdomen. She went to the hospital, but it appears she will be okay to start Sunday's XCO.

Batten and Lecomte rode away from remaining chasers - Rissveds, Linda Indergand (Liv Factory) and Annie Last (Great Britain) - on the fourth lap, and it looked like it might come down to a sprint until Lecomte had a small crash on the penultimate lap. It allowed Batten to open a seven-second lead going into the final lap, which she extended to 16 seconds by the finish. Rissveds dropped the other two chasers for third.

"I have no words," said Batten, "I knew I was going pretty strong after last weekend, but I wasn't sure, with that slippery rock garden. But I got to the front and I felt really good; it was an exciting race in the mud, it's crazy. I couldn't think about it being the last lap [when Lecomte was chasing her]. 

"There are so many sections where you have to be in control and technically skilled, so my eyes were just on the course; crossing the line was the first time I really realized I was in the front. I'm bummed [about the crash]; I was hoping we could work together and finish strong, but racing happens. I'm glad she still finished second."

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Haley Batten (USA) Trinity Racing Mtb 0:23:35
2Loana Lecomte (Fra) Massi 0:00:16
3Jenny Rissveds (Swe) 0:00:21
4Annie Last (GBr)
5Linda Indergand (Swi) Liv Factory Racing 0:00:23
6Laura Stigger (Aut) Specialized Racing 0:00:28
7Evie Richards (GBr) Trek Factory Racing Xc 0:00:36
8Sina Frei (Swi) Specialized Racing 0:00:48
9Kate Courtney (USA) Scott-sram mtb Racing Team 0:00:49
10Anne Tauber (Ned) Cst Postnl Bafang mtb Racing Team 0:00:51
11Anne Terpstra (Ned) Ghost Factory Racing 0:01:04
12Rebecca Mcconnell (Aus) Primaflor Mondraker Xsauce 0:01:10
13Martina Berta (Ita) Santa Cruz fsa mtb pro Team 0:01:11
14Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Kross Orlen Cycling Team 0:01:14
15Emily Batty (Can) Canyon Collective Factory Team 0:01:20
16Mariske Strauss (RSA) Cst Postnl Bafang mtb Racing Team 0:01:24
17Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mex) 0:01:40
18Chloe Woodruff (USA) 0:01:42
19Alessandra Keller (Swi) Thömus rn Swiss Bike Team
20Erin Huck (USA) 0:01:43
21Sophie von Berswordt (Ned) Jb Brunex Superior Factory Racing
22Janika Loiv (Est) 0:01:45
23Nicole Koller (Swi) Ghost Factory Racing 0:01:46
24Ronja Eibl (Ger) Alpecin - Fenix
25Eva Lechner (Ita) Trinx Factory Team
26Lena Gerault (Fra) Vca Anjos Asterion 0:01:49
27Barbara Benko (Hun) Maloja Pushbikers Mtb 0:01:51
28Jitka Cabelicka (Cze) Gapp System - Kolofix mtb Racing Team 0:01:58
29Sofia Gomez Villafane (Arg) 0:02:06
30Rocio del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa) Bh Templo Cafés Ucc 0:02:08
31Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:02:11
32Lea Davison (USA) 0:02:15
33Candice Lill (RSA) 0:02:17
34Ramona Forchini (Swi) Jb Brunex Superior Factory Racing
35Jolanda Neff (Swi) Trek Factory Racing Xc 0:02:34
36Isla Short (GBr) 0:02:55
37Haley Smith (Can) Norco Factory Team Xc 0:03:09
38Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior - Sinter
DNFPauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Absolute-absalon - Bmc
DNSJanka Keseg Stevkova (Svk)

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