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Three stars are returning to animate the Nove Mesto XCO World Cup this weekend

Three stars are returning to animate the Nove Mesto XCO World Cup this weekend

When the World Cup cross country series returns to Nove Mesto this weekend, a trio of big names will make their 2024 debut. Two rounds deep into the 2024 season, world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, 2023 World Cup winner Puck Pieterse will shake up the elite women’s racing. Reigning Olympic gold medallist and reigning world champion Tom Pidcock will throw his hat back into the men’s race.

Simon Andreassen earns the win in a thrilling Araxa finale. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

Where things stand

Before returning to Europe, the 2024 World Cup season started with a double-header in Brazil. One weekend in Mairiporã was followed immediately by a weekend in Araxa. The two brand-new courses delivered absolutely thrilling racing both weekends, across men’s and women’s racing.

Men’s standings

On the men’s side, Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) and Simon Andreassen (Cannondale Factory Racing) earned the XCO wins. For the Dane, it ended a long drought of World Cup success with a dramatic sprint victory. That win came at the expense of Victor Koretzky. The Specialized racer was leading in Araxa when a dropped chain late in the last lap forced him into a frantic chase. While the Frenchman managed to pass several riders, he couldn’t out-kick Andreassen at the line.

Koretzky leaves Brazil with the World Cup overall lead, though, thanks to a pair of XCO second place finishes and an XCC win in Araxa. Andreassen, Blevins, Filippo Colombo and Jordan Sarrou are all within 20 point of each other for second place.

Carter Woods (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) is the top Canadian on the men’s side, sitting 17th overall in his debut elite season.

Haley Batten doubled up in Araxa with XCC and XCO World Cup wins. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

Women’s standings

On the women’s side, Brazil was a battle between 2016 Olympic gold medallist in Rio, Jenny Rissveds, and the U.S. riders. Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis) landed the opening win in a tactically brilliant race against Savilia Blunk (Decathlon Ford) and Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing). One week later, it was Haley Batten finding redemption, and her first elite World Cup XCO win with a mix of tactical smarts and absolute power in Araxa.

That puts Batten in the lead overall, though Rissveds sits just seven points behind in the standings. With two podiums, Savilia Blunk is third overall, followed by Alessandra Keller and Evie Richards.

Jenn Jackson…

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