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."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Loana Lecomte (France)||1:25:13|
|2||Haley Batten (United States Of America)||0:01:39|
|3||Rebecca Mcconnell (Australia)||0:01:51|
|4||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)||0:02:10|
|5||Evie Richards (Great Britain)||0:02:27|
|6||Linda Indergand (Switzerland)||0:02:50|
|7||Sina Frei (Switzerland)||0:03:22|
|8||Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)||0:03:39|
|9||Anne Terpstra (Netherlands)||0:04:06|
|10||Anne Tauber (Netherlands)||0:04:33|
|11||Nicole Koller (Switzerland)||0:04:42|
|12||Alessandra Keller (Switzerland)||0:05:15|
|13||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:05:23|
|14||Janika Lõiv (Estonia)||0:05:30|
|15||Annie Last (Great Britain)||0:05:34|
|16||Erin Huck (United States Of America)||0:06:10|
|17||Emily Batty (Canada)||0:06:20|
|18||Ronja Eibl (Germany)||0:06:21|
|19||Lena Gerault (France)|
|20||Daniela Campuzano Chavez Peon (Mexico)||0:06:34|
|21||Nina Benz (Germany)||0:06:37|
|22||Rocio del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spain)||0:06:41|
|23||Catharine Pendrel (Canada)||0:06:47|
|24||Ramona Forchini (Switzerland)||0:06:50|
|25||Martina Berta (Italy)||0:06:54|
|26||Jennifer Jackson (Canada)||0:06:56|
|27||Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)||0:06:57|
|28||Hélène Clauzel (France)||0:07:12|
|29||Tereza Tvarůžková (Czech Republic)||0:07:26|
|30||Kristina Ilina (Russian Federation)||0:07:53|
|31||Mariske Strauss (South Africa)||0:08:08|
|32||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)||0:08:18|
|33||Githa Michiels (Belgium)||0:08:22|
|34||Jitka Čábelická (Czech Republic)||0:08:36|
|35||Greta Seiwald (Italy)||0:08:43|
|36||Katarzyna Solus-miskowicz (Poland)||0:08:44|
|37||Sophie von Berswordt (Netherlands)||0:08:45|
|38||Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)||0:09:07|
|39||Giorgia Marchet (Italy)||0:09:14|
|40||Tanja Žakelj (Slovenia)||0:09:25|
|41||Kate Courtney (United States Of America)||0:09:33|
|42||Haley Smith (Canada)||0:09:51|
|43||Lea Davison (United States Of America)||0:09:53|
|44||Elisabeth Osl (Austria)||0:09:54|
|45||Barbara Benkó (Hungary)||0:10:01|
|46||Lotte Koopmans (Netherlands)||0:10:02|
|47||Candice Lill (South Africa)||0:10:20|
|48||Sofia Gomez Villafane (Argentina)||0:10:29|
|49||Hannah Finchamp (United States Of America)||0:10:56|
|50||Andrea Waldis (Switzerland)||0:11:15|
|51||Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic)||0:11:19|
|52||Steffi Häberlin (Switzerland)||0:11:29|
|53||Laurie Arseneault (Canada)||0:11:34|
|54||Perrine Clauzel (France)||0:11:42|
|55||Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain)||0:11:51|
|56||Isla Short (Great Britain)||0:11:56|
|57||Kelsey Urban (United States Of America)||0:11:59|
|58||Sandra Walter (Canada)||0:12:20|
|59||Lucie Urruty (France)||0:12:41|
|60||Gabriela Wojtyla (Poland)||0:12:48|
|61||Jana Czeczinkarová (Czech Republic)||0:13:02|
|62||Raiza Goulao Henrique (Brazil)||0:13:05|
|63||Seraina Leugger (Switzerland)||0:13:26|
|64||Chloe Woodruff (United States Of America)||0:13:27|
|65||Nadja Heigl (Austria)||0:13:42|
|66||Kim Ames (Germany)||0:13:45|
|67||Klaudia Czabok (Poland)||0:14:10|
|68||Charline Fragnière (Switzerland)||0:14:22|
|69||Iryna Popova (Ukraine)|
|70||Chrystelle Baumann (Switzerland)|
|71||Ann-dorthe Lisbygd (Denmark)|
|72||Janina Wüst (Switzerland)|
|73||Viktoria Kirsanova (Russian Federation)|
|74||Margot Moschetti (France)|
|75||Theresia Schwenk (Germany)|
|76||Cindy Montambault (Canada)|
|77||Paula Gorycka (Poland)|
|78||Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)|
|79||Josefina Casadey (Argentina)|
|80||Emma Belforth (Sweden)|
|81||Barbara Borowiecka (Poland)|
|82||Vera Medvedeva (Russian Federation)|
|83||Mari-liis Mõttus (Estonia)|
|84||Constance Valentin (France)|
|85||Agustina Maria Apaza (Argentina)|
|86||Joana Monteiro (Portugal)|
|87||Naama Noyman (Israel)|
|88||Jaqueline Mourao (Brazil)|
|89||Iryna Slobodyan (Ukraine)|
|90||Faranak Partoazar (Islamic Republic of Iran)|
|91||Maria Fernanda Castro Gonzalez (Chile)|
|DNF||Laura Stigger (Austria)|
|DNF||Jenny Rissveds (Sweden)|
|DNF||Anna Spielmann (Austria)|
|DNF||Adelheid Morath (Germany)|
|DNF||Chiara Teocchi (Italy)|
|DNF||Nadine Rieder (Germany)|
|DNF||Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia)|
|DNF||Sara Öberg (Sweden)|
|DNF||Yana Belomoina (Ukraine)|
|DNF||Linn Gustafzzon (Sweden)|
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Latest on Cyclingnews
The Ribble Ultra SL is as uncompromising an aero race bike as you're likely to findAerodynamics have been prioritised over all else, making it great for straight-line speed, but has had some negative impacts on the ride
Quinn Simmons: Now it's time to start winningAmerican Trek-Segafredo rider reflects on the lesson learnt during 2022
Is the Assos Equipe R Habu Winter Jacket S9 the best the brand makes?Assos continues to evolve its jackets year over year, does the latest option make the rest obsolete?
Best Garmin deals: Including 33% off a Garmin Edge 1030 PlusSmartwatches, Edge computers and heart rate monitors among today's best Garmin deals