The race of world Cup cross country at Nove Mesto on Sunday allowed us to observe one of the most unpredictable race scenarios of recent years. The holes were the impetus for the third round of the 2022 World Cup, some of the most anticipated to face this kind of technical failure such as Maxime Marotte, Filippo Colombo and the glaring event that struck Nino Schurter. All of them gave a white card to Thomas Pincock to manage a fight that was enveloped in enormous uncertainty until the final straight.

Photo © Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull

At the end of the race Pidcock seemed very unhappy with his performance and in the final statements he may have gone a little further, stating that he was not well and that he had problems with the motorcycle, suggesting that otherwise he could have won with one foot alone. (everyone remembers the action with which he greeted Mathieu Van der Poel in 2021), perhaps not recognizing the value of Dascalu and Schurter’s interpretations and underestimating the consequences that could have left him even more unhappy .

Photo © Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull

These are the statements: “It was a difficult race, I did not feel well, I could not push and set the pace to break the group and I also had problems with the motorcycle all the time. Vlad (Dascalu ed) was very fast in the last lap, but I knew that if I could close the gaps with Vlad, I could win. I had a different fight in my head, I was thinking of a test like last week with a sharp attack but it was very strange, we looked at each other and studied for a long time. “I liked winning with this crowd here.”

Photo © Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull

In fact, the Englishman could not, as happened in many of his off-road successes, make a difference in the climbs, probably creating some concern in the British phenomenon, which used to see the group collapse as a result of its accelerations.

Yesterday was a Pidcock with more human tones, the ones he is not used to. An athlete who wanted to justify a success was caught in the last straight, so in the last of the exploitable cases and with implications that he had not foreseen, with not perfect senses and a bike that did not go as he wanted (did not want to go into details technical problems).

Photo © Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull

To appreciate the victory, he may have wanted to pull everyone uphill like he did last week at the Albstadt or the Tokyo Olympics, but he did not have that superiority of the best days, except that he was kissed by luck. Nino Schurter led the team at the time of the punch, it was the locomotive that imposed a rhythm throughout the first half of the race that never allowed anyone to emerge and create the gap.

After Nino’s punch, a failure that left him 1 ‘late, the pace also dropped, with a seventh lap in which Pidcock and Dascalu (in the top group) made the 26th and 27th fastest times, just as Schurter did. continued to score the best, 1st time of the sixth round with 10’26 “and 1st time of the seventh round with 10’28”.

Photo © Bartek Wolinski – Red Bull

In addition, two other aspects must be taken into account, on the one hand the experience of the Swiss who if he was fresh in the last round would try to attack at the most appropriate time, such as the 2021 World Cup and then what if Schurter was full of energy ahead, introduced at the same arrival dynamics, it would be an additional element to the train playing the sprint, thereby lengthening times and spaces.

Pindcock should have jumped not one but two athletes the same distance from the finish. We do not know if Schurter would have won, but the cards in Schurter’s deck are always more than one would expect.

To fully understand the phenomenon, the English will have to see it at the end of an entire MTB season.

Winston Ferguson

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