US riders Chloe Woodruff, Haley Batten and Kate Courtney swept the gold medals this weekend at the second World Cup of the season in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
The streak started on Friday during the short-track race, in which Chloe Woodruff (Stans Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) attacked with two laps to go, dropping the field and winning the race by eight seconds.
Fellow U.S. rider Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) placed fourth in a sprint finish while Keegan Swenson (Stans Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) was the top male finisher in 13th place.
The following day, Haley Batten (Clif Pro Team) improved her third place finish the week before in Albstadt, Germany to take gold in the U23 Women’s race.
In the Men’s U23 race, Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) placed seventh with Cole Paton placing 15th.
Sunday saw the Elite Races where current World Champion Courtney backed up her World Cup wins in the short track and cross-country races the previous week in Germany with another first place after overcoming a flat tire in the beginning of the race.
Fellow U.S. rider, Lea Davison (Sho-Air Twenty20) placed 12th with Woodruff rounding out the top 20 in 18th.
“It was a very special ride for me in Nove Mesto,” Courtney said. “After a tough start, a flat tire and some serious doubt, I was able to refocus and start working my way back up through the field. After one of the deepest digs of my life, a last lap pass put me in the lead and earned me my World Cup victory on the day.”
Courtney said it took everything she had mentally and physically and support from her team to stay positive and keep fighting.
“A huge weekend for the USA ladies,” Courtney said. “It’s not often the American national anthem plays three times in one World Cup weekend. I am very proud of what we have accomplished and I know this motivation and momentum will only carry us forward.”
Marc Gullickson, Mountain Bike Performance Director for USA Cycling, said it’s been a great start to the World Cup season and great end to the first half of the Olympic qualification period.
“Kate and Haley came to Europe in great shape, and they were rewarded with some incredible victories,” Gullickson said. “Chloe’s win in the Short Track was amazing and the rest of the team also rose to the challenge. I am looking forward to see what our U.S. riders do in the rest of the World Cup Season.”
This week’s races marked the end of the first half of the Olympic qualification period. The U.S. Women are currently sitting in second place to Switzerland.
The top two ranked countries at the end of the qualification period will receive the maximum number of three slots to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, while third through ninth will receive two and the remaining countries one slot. The World Cup Series will pick back up again in five weeks in Valnord, Andorra.
Photo by Red Bull. Content by USA Cycling.