The second round of the cross-country series for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, opened on Saturday with the Under-23 and Junior categories, with riders facing everything from rain, to cold, to blue skies and sun.Â Both the men's and women's Under-23 races saw new faces on the top step of the podium, with Jens Schuermans (Versluys) taking the men's race and Andrea Waldis (Colnago Sudtirol) the women's.Â Schuermans took over the lead in the men's standings, while Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) retained the women's overall after finishing second.Â In the Junior Challenge races, Italian Greta Weithaler took her second straight victory for the women, as did Raphael Gay (Creuse Oxygene) for the men.
To succeed on the Nove Mesto circuit, a rider needs both technical skill and fitness.Â The riders alternate between climbs up soft loamy dirt and technical descents through rock gardens and over jumps.
Waldis attacked almost immediately in the women's race, with only Henderson able to reply, catching her Swiss rival at the start of the second lap.Â However, Henderson began to fade a lap later, feeling the effects of a cold she has been battling all week.Â While Waldis pulled away to win by 44 seconds, Henderson was fighting to hold onto second from a late charging Yana Belomoyna (Superior Brentjens), which she managed to do by 33 seconds.
Henderson now leads the Under-23 women's World Cup with 160 points after two rounds, followed by Jenny Rissveds (Swedish National) at 120 and Belomoyna also at 120, with Waldis at 110 points.
The men's race began with a mechanical problem for World Cup leader Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus XC), who broke his chain and had to run to the first tech zone.Â His day got worse when he immediately broke a second chain, followed by a flat tire and finally a third broken chain, before, quite deservedly, calling it a day.
At the front, Italy's Luca Braidot had jumped into the lead, opening a few seconds gap on Schuermans in the first two laps before the Belgian rider caught and dropped him at the halfway point in the race.Â Schuermans was clearly on fire, setting the fastest lap times for four out of the five laps in the race.
Behind, Reto Indergand (BMC) was steadily overtaking Braidot, moving into second place with a lap and a half to go.Â The Italian continue to lose ground, with Michiel van der Heijden (Giant Pro XC) also overtaking him to grab the final podium spot.
Schuermans now leads the men's standings after two rounds with 160 points, followed by van der Heijden at 120, Indergand at 97, and former leader Schulte-Luenzum at 90.