The third round of the World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, saw two lead changes in three days, with Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) losing the lead to Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) in the Short Track (XCC) on Friday and then regaining it on Sunday with his second win of the season in the Cross-country (XCO).

The race began with chaos, as three crashes happened within the first 150 metres. The worst affected of the top riders was fifth ranked Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN Racing), who went down hard, hitting his face and losing contact with the front of the race. He would eventually abandon.

The next to be hit with misfortune was XCC winner Sam Gaze (Specialized), who flatted on the start loop, far from the tech zone. By the time he got going again he was more than three minutes back and also abandoned.

At the front, it was Schurter and van der Poel setting the pace, with Lars Forster (BMC) chasing a few seconds back. This lasted until the third lap, when van der Poel crashed in a dusty corner. His left arm was clearly bothering him as he slowly remounted and rode for one more lap before eventually dropping out.

This left Schurter at the front with Forster, who was dropped on the fourth lap as Anton Cooper (Trek Factory) and Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory) bridged across. These three stayed together for the rest of the race until Marotte was dropped by a few seconds in the final half lap.

The finish came down to a drag race between Schurter and Cooper for the final 150 metres, with both throwing their bikes across the line, and then waiting for the photo finish camera to confirm that Schurter had won by a tire width, his 28th World Cup victory.

"First I thought I had him," said Schurter, "then I saw him coming on the right. That's the hardest sprint I ever did. I love this track, it suits me quite well and I felt pretty good today. I wasn't able to get away from the other guys, so it was a crazy finish."

Schurter moves into a commanding lead in the standings with 780 points, while Marotte jumps ahead of van der Poel to second with 573 points. van der Poel is third at 535, followed by Gaze at 475 and Cooper jumps from 11th to fifth at 459 points.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nino Schurter (Scott-Sram Mtb Racing)1:21:31 
2Anton Cooper (Trek Factory Racing Xc)  
3Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing Xc)0:00:08 
4Lars Forster (Bmc Mountainbike Racing Team)0:00:44 
5Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing Xc)0:00:49 
6Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing Xc)0:00:56 
7Florian Vogel (Focus Xc Team)0:01:02 
8Arnis Petersons (Zzk)0:01:04 
9Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing)  
10Carlos Coloma Nicolas (Primaflor Mondraker Rotor)0:01:27