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Annika Langvad of Denmark shines in Nové Město na Moravě. After becoming the world champion here last year, she has won the first race of the 2017 World Cup on the same course.

“It is surprising for me. I really had no idea if I could achieve a good result. I did not ride that many races as I have spent most of this spring by studying,” said the Danish winner who is a student of dental medicine at the Copenhagen University.

She won a race of the World Marathon Series in South Africa this January, and started in three more cross-country races in addition to that. “I guess I did not have a proper comparison to my contenders, and I myself was surprised how well it went. I have by far not trained as much as I did last year,” Langvad admitted.

In the race, for few times she remembered the last year when she had won the rainbow jersey in Nové Město. “I was only afraid of draining my energy at the end of the race, but all worked out perfectly. I felt great for the whole race,” she added.

Langvad was in the lead from the very start, and she benefitted from problems of some of her competitors. Maja Wloszczowska had a crash on Mitas Choice, chances of Catharine Pendrell were diminished by torn chain. She was second at the moment, but before her mechanic managed to replace the chain, she lost much time and eventually finished 21st.

Thus it happened that the non-ageing legend, Sabine Spitz of Germany got to second place and managed to keep it all the way to the finish line. It was a great satisfaction for the forty-five-year-old rider for the last year’s World Championships when she had been riding for silver, but had had a puncture in the last lap and had finished ninth only.

The battle for bronze was very dramatic indeed. It went to Linda Indergand of Switzerland, who managed to get in front of Jana Belomoina who was eventually overtaken by Maja Wloszczowská in a spurt to the finish line.

Due to tragic events in her family, Jenny Rissveds, the current U23 category world champion, decided not to start in the first two races of the World Cup, and did not come to Nové Město at all.