Nove Mesto — You Rock!

When we think about mountain bike XCO, we can't help but think about Nove Mesto. This track, tucked in the heart of the Czech Republic, has not only some of the best technical sections, but also draws the best crowds, which in turn leads to some of the best XC racing on the planet.

And even though some might know us more for our road riding heritage, we were more than happy to support a few of the top teams and top riders present. From the USA and Swiss Cycling Federations, through to the Solothurn Development team, Stan's-Pivot, and the BMC MTB Racing Team.

XCO has changed its format for 2018, with the addition of the XCC, or short track race, on the Friday evening. In this high-octane 25-minute event, the first 16 riders to finish are awarded not only points toward the season's overall classification, but also an all-important position on the two front rows of the start.

Hard-fought, fast, and with numerous crashes, both the elite men's and women's races did not disappoint. We were happy to see Chloe Woodruff from the Stan's-Pivot Pro Team take a great fifth place. As well as all three riders from the BMC MTB Racing Team making the top 10 in their race, too.

The XCC, even if it is only in its infancy, is only an appetizer for the weekend's main course, the XCO, or Olympic Cross Country. With Nove Mesto's track consisting of short, steep climbs, plenty of natural roots and rocks, as well as two amazing man-made rock gardens, you'll see why it's dubbed by many racers as a true XCO course.

Encouraged by the huge crowds, the racing lived up to the pre-event hype. Here's a look back at the event through the eyes of our on-site photographers who managed to capture the essence of Nove Mesto. We're already looking forward to next year's event.

Chloe Woodruff finished a strong 13th in what was one of the most closely fought women's races in a long time.

Filippo Colombo rode to a career-best second place in the U23 men's race.

There were mixed fortunes with the elite men at BMC MTB Racing Team. Lars Forster's career-best forth was amazing, but both Reto Indergand and Titouan Carod had difficult days. Carod suffered a puncture while looking strong with the leaders, and Indergand suffered bad legs after the short track.