Lecomte wins women's UCI MTB World Cup XCO in Nove Mesto

ALBSTADT GERMANY MAY 09 Loana Lecomte of France celebrates first place in CrossCountry Olympic Women Elite race during UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on May 09 2021 in Albstadt Germany Photo by Christian KasparBartkeGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Loana Lecomte (Massi) took her second straight World Cup win on Sunday in Round 2 of the women's cross-country (XCO) in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. 

USA's Haley Batten (Trinity Racing) followed up her Friday short track win with a second place finish, after a last lap surge allowed her to overtake Rebecca McConnell (Primaflor Mondraker XSauce). 

Lecomte's win puts her firmly in control of the leader's jersey, 145 points in front of Batten.

Rain through the week made the normally-dry Nove Mesto course muddy and slippery, with riders having to run many uphill rooty sections that are usually rideable. The women did a start loop plus five laps.

Under-23 world champion Lecomte took the lead on the first climb of the start loop and never relinquished it. Remarkably, the young French rider has led every lap of both World Cups so far this season, attesting to her dominance. By the end of the start loop she had a four-second lead, which she extended through the rest of the race. She had the fastest lap splits for every lap but the final one.

The real race was behind her for the rest of the podium spots, with the added urgency that this was the final Olympic qualifying event and many riders were looking to lock down their spots with their national federations.

USA's Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) and Batten led the early chase, with world champion Pauline-Ferrand Prévot (Absolute-Absalon-BMC) bridging up to join them after the start loop. Ferrand-Prévot had crashed out of the short track and therefore had to start back in the fourth row.

On the second lap, Courtney crashed hard, breaking her rear brake lever. She limped into the tech zone and had it replaced, but was in the 60s by the time she got going and, just as she was starting to pull back spots, flatted. She would keeping chasing and eventually recovered to 41st. Current Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) also suffered mechanical problems and had to drop out.

In the chase, McConnell and Evie Richards (Trek Factory XC) moved up to join Batten and Ferrand-Prévot, with McConnell moving alone into second on the third lap, as everyone slogged along at their own pace on the muddy climbs. Batten held down third, with Ferrand-Prévot in fourth, just ahead of Richards.

The status held until the final lap, when Batten powered by a tiring McConnell on the last big climb to take over second. McConnell managed to hold off Ferrand-Prévot for third.

"I won my first World Cup here last year so I wanted to be on the podium again here," said Lecomte. "I didn't expect to win here and it is a bit unbelievable; I have the leader's jersey and I'm just happy to enjoy this. I feel in very good shape at this moment because these two World Cups are the qualification for the Olympic Games, so my coach [Maxime Marotte] did a good job of preparing me."

Batten, an Under-23 rider racing up in the elite level, now has a second and a third, plus a short track victory, in two weeks of racing. While fellow American Courtney has locked up an Olympic spot, this race was important for Batten to get a spot for herself. 

"This definitely lands me in the criteria, so I'm pretty happy about that," she said. "I go to school in Squamish [B.C.], so the conditions reminded me of that, today. There were some super slick roots and I actually felt strong on them, and was able to pace myself well and avoid mistakes. 

"It was a blur out there, and I just stayed within myself and rode the pace that I knew I needed to ride. I put it all in on the last lap and am glad that I could land second spot."

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Loana Lecomte (France) 1:25:13
2Haley Batten (United States Of America) 0:01:39
3Rebecca Mcconnell (Australia) 0:01:51
4Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) 0:02:10
5Evie Richards (Great Britain) 0:02:27
6Linda Indergand (Switzerland) 0:02:50
7Sina Frei (Switzerland) 0:03:22
8Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) 0:03:39
9Anne Terpstra (Netherlands) 0:04:06
10Anne Tauber (Netherlands) 0:04:33
11Nicole Koller (Switzerland) 0:04:42
12Alessandra Keller (Switzerland) 0:05:15
13Eva Lechner (Italy) 0:05:23
14Janika Lõiv (Estonia) 0:05:30
15Annie Last (Great Britain) 0:05:34
16Erin Huck (United States Of America) 0:06:10
17Emily Batty (Canada) 0:06:20
18Ronja Eibl (Germany) 0:06:21
19Lena Gerault (France)
20Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mexico) 0:06:34
21Nina Benz (Germany) 0:06:37
22Rocio del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spain) 0:06:41
23Catharine Pendrel (Canada) 0:06:47
24Ramona Forchini (Switzerland) 0:06:50
25Martina Berta (Italy) 0:06:54
26Jennifer Jackson (Canada) 0:06:56
27Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 0:06:57
28Hélène Clauzel (France) 0:07:12
29Tereza Tvarůžková (Czech Republic) 0:07:26
30Kristina Ilina (Russian Federation) 0:07:53
31Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 0:08:08
32Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands) 0:08:18
33Githa Michiels (Belgium) 0:08:22
34Jitka Čábelická (Czech Republic) 0:08:36
35Greta Seiwald (Italy) 0:08:43
36Katarzyna Solus-miskowicz (Poland) 0:08:44
37Sophie von Berswordt (Netherlands) 0:08:45
38Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 0:09:07
39Giorgia Marchet (Italy) 0:09:14
40Tanja Žakelj (Slovenia) 0:09:25
41Kate Courtney (United States Of America) 0:09:33
42Haley Smith (Canada) 0:09:51
43Lea Davison (United States Of America) 0:09:53
44Elisabeth Osl (Austria) 0:09:54
45Barbara Benkó (Hungary) 0:10:01
46Lotte Koopmans (Netherlands) 0:10:02
47Candice Lill (South Africa) 0:10:20
48Sofia Gomez Villafane (Argentina) 0:10:29
49Hannah Finchamp (United States Of America) 0:10:56
50Andrea Waldis (Switzerland) 0:11:15
51Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic) 0:11:19
52Steffi Häberlin (Switzerland) 0:11:29
53Laurie Arseneault (Canada) 0:11:34
54Perrine Clauzel (France) 0:11:42
55Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 0:11:51
56Isla Short (Great Britain) 0:11:56
57Kelsey Urban (United States Of America) 0:11:59
58Sandra Walter (Canada) 0:12:20
59Lucie Urruty (France) 0:12:41
60Gabriela Wojtyla (Poland) 0:12:48
61Jana Czeczinkarová (Czech Republic) 0:13:02
62Raiza Goulao Henrique (Brazil) 0:13:05
63Seraina Leugger (Switzerland) 0:13:26
64Chloe Woodruff (United States Of America) 0:13:27
65Nadja Heigl (Austria) 0:13:42
66Kim Ames (Germany) 0:13:45
67Klaudia Czabok (Poland) 0:14:10
68Charline Fragnière (Switzerland) 0:14:22
69Iryna Popova (Ukraine)
70Chrystelle Baumann (Switzerland)
71Ann-dorthe Lisbygd (Denmark)
72Janina Wüst (Switzerland)
73Viktoria Kirsanova (Russian Federation)
74Margot Moschetti (France)
75Theresia Schwenk (Germany)
76Cindy Montambault (Canada)
77Paula Gorycka (Poland)
78Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)
79Josefina Casadey (Argentina)
80Emma Belforth (Sweden)
81Barbara Borowiecka (Poland)
82Vera Medvedeva (Russian Federation)
83Mari-liis Mõttus (Estonia)
84Constance Valentin (France)
85Agustina Maria Apaza (Argentina)
86Joana Monteiro (Portugal)
87Naama Noyman (Israel)
88Jaqueline Mourao (Brazil)
89Iryna Slobodyan (Ukraine)
90Faranak Partoazar (Islamic Republic of Iran)
91Maria Fernanda Castro Gonzalez (Chile)
DNFLaura Stigger (Austria)
DNFJenny Rissveds (Sweden)
DNFAnna Spielmann (Austria)
DNFAdelheid Morath (Germany)
DNFChiara Teocchi (Italy)
DNFNadine Rieder (Germany)
DNFJovana Crnogorac (Serbia)
DNFSara Öberg (Sweden)
DNFYana Belomoina (Ukraine)
DNFLinn Gustafzzon (Sweden)

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