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Sensational Isabella Homlgren wins U23 XCO World Cup debut

Sensational Isabella Homlgren wins U23 XCO World Cup debut

Isabella Holmgren was absolutely sensational in her under-23 World Cup debut on Saturday, winning by a massive tw0-minute margin over second place rider Madigan Munro. Nove Mesto was Holmgren’s under-23 World Cup debut after winning junior XCO world championships in 2023.

Holmgren attacked the field mid-way through the start loop and quickly created a gap to the field. Lidl-Trek’s young Canadian continued extending that lead over the next five full laps, rarely conceeding more than a second or two to the chasers, to cross the finish line with a dominant two-minute, three second lead.

Saturday’s win completes a perfect debut weekend for Holmgren. The Ontario racer won Friday’s under-23 women’s short track (XCC) World Cup, too.

Canadians on the move in Nove Mesto

While Holmgren’s solo victory stunned the field, she wasn’t the only Canadian on form in Nove Mesto. Emilly Johnston (Trek Future Racing) fought tenaciously to take fourth place, moving past World Cup leader Kira Bohm and several other riders over the last couple of laps. She couldn’t quite catch Olivia Onesti (Trinx Factory Racing), though, just missing out on a third XCO World Cup podium this year.

Ella McPhee (Pivot Cycles-OTE) continued to improve on her impressive start t0 2024, finishing 10th to put three Canadians in the top 10 in Czech Republic. Marin Lowe (Pittstop Racing), also in her World Cup debut after a podium at junior XCO world championships last year, led off the line Saturday before finishing 28th. Ava Holmgren (Lidl-Trek) was up into the top-15 before finishing 34th. Ella Meyers and Nicole Bradbury round out the Canadian effort in 64th and 67th.

Holmgren takes in the emotions of her first u23 XCO World Cup win. Photo: UCI / YouTube

Win shakes up Olympic selection for Canada

With her win under-23 World Cup XCO win on Saturday, Isabella Holmgren moves ahead of Johnston in the race for Canada’s one spot in the women’s Olympic mountain bike race this July in Paris. A win Saturday was the only result that could move the Lild-Trek racer ahead of Johnston. Had Holmgren finished second, that would have matched Johnston’s result in Araxa, Brazil at the second World Cup, and Johnston would have stayed ahead based on her second-best result.

Selection is still 24-hours away from being decided though. If Jenn Jackson finishes 12th or better in Sunday’s elite women’s XCO, she will move ahead of both Holmgren and Johnston in the race for Canada’s lone spot in…

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