Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.
The Australian, who is having the best World Cup season of her career, finished the race with a time of 1:21:17, followed by Loana Lecomte and Jenny Rissveds.
“I knew obviously coming into this race that I’m in the best form of my life,” McConnell said at the finish. “I think there’s no doubt about that.”
McConnell wasted no time on Sunday, already opening a small gap on the start loop. The World Cup overall leader was followed by the likes of Haley Batten, Loana Lecomte, Jenny Rissveds, and Jolanda Neff.
“Nové Město is always really good for me,” McConnell said. “I always seem to have a really good performance here. In the start loop, most years, I’m either the first or first couple and it’s nice to get a good little advantage in the descent and it just split the field up instantly.”
McConnell slowly gained more time on her rivals, and the battle for second place began to form with Rissveds and Lecomte looking like prime contenders. Alessandra Keller showed herself in the top 5 followed by a chasing Olympic Champion Neff and the American Batten. Sina Frei suffered a small crash in the feed zone, losing a few places.
Keller also suffered a mechanical problem with a rear flat tire, which dashed her chances of a top 5 finish.
The final podium selection happened on lap six, as Lecomte clawed away from Rissveds and managed to stay away for a second place finish 40 seconds after the winner. Rissveds finished more than a minute back, followed by Jolanda Neff and Caroline Bohe rounding out the podium.
“This week I was happy,” Lecomte said. “I take good time with my team, my friend, my coach. This second place was the cherry on the cake.”
Lecomte said that she felt her form was good, but McConnell was simply riding on another level.
“We had the same shape in the race I think as Rebecca, and it was really difficult to make the difference between Jenny and I and Rebecca,” she said.
Rissveds explained at the finish how she was not able to match Lecomte’s late attack.
“She rode away,” she said. “She was stronger than me. I did what I could. She was stronger than me.”
Nové Město is known as one of the most technically challenging courses on the World Cup calendar, and the Czech fans always come out to cheer on the racers.
“It’s cool in Nové Město because the spectators are just amazing, they’re crazy, they’re so loud but at the same time it bothers me quite a lot because they’re so loud,” Rissveds said. “Normally you can hear the tires on the ground and on the roots and on the rocks, you can hear the bike on the ground. But it’s not possible here so you have to be even more focused here than other races.”
The next World Cup XCO showdown will be June 10 in Leogang, Austria.
“It’ll be obviously really nice to have this head start for the second half of the season,” McConnell said. “But it’s early days and my goals have been well and truly achieved for the year.”