European MTB champion Tom Pidcock (Ineos) won the elite men’s cross country race at the Nove Mesto World Cup, beating Joshua Dubau (Rockrider Ford Racing Team) after a long game of cat-and-mouse with the Frenchman on the technical circuit in Czechia.
“Today was a hard race honestly, the conditions were super tricky. We haven’t ridden it all in the rain – short track, you know but there are no rests in this race,” the Ineos rider said after the race finish.
“It was a bit tricky, my tyres were a bit hard and I was struggling a bit on the roots. But it was nice to win in the end.
“I think when that happens, it’s important just to take take a minute and reset, like I had a dead leg. I just kind of came to the pits, got a bottle, had a drink and got a gel and focussed on trying to get back to the front. I didn’t do any whips all race so I needed to do some at the finish. At least I didn’t crash.”
Pidcock suffered a crash on the fifth of eight laps, pushing him well behind race leader Joshua Dubau after a first half of the race in which the two exchanged blows throughout. The Briton battled back, though, and found himself back in the company of the Frenchman on the penultimate lap.
Dubau appeared the stronger of the two on the final lap, distancing Pidcock on the more technical sections before the Ineos rider managed to find his way back to the Frenchman – who was unable to break the elastic.
Pidcock made his major attack on the penultimate climb of the course, taking first position, but was unable to drop Dubau. An attack on the final climb, though, gave Pidcock his critical gap from which he was able to ride to the finish solo.
Dubau, clearly exhausted from the chase, sat up and allowed Pidcock to cruise into the finish with a margin of four seconds and ample celebration.
While the duo fought for the win up front, Swiss rider Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team) was holding third place in a group containing Thomas Griot (Canyon CLLCTV) and Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC).
Schurter and Sarrou took the battle for the last podium spot right to the line – where Schurter won the sprint for third place.
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