Tree roots and other obstacles cover the track in almost its entirety – the only smooth sections being the flat-out sprint at the start-finish area and a handful of man-made turns. Nové Město’s course is relentless and when riders’ wheels aren’t rolling over roots they're likely smashing into boulders, skittering around fast turns or spinning freely over one of the many drops and jumps.
Nové Město is cross-country racing at its very best and if its circuit doesn’t already demand everything of competitors, the high tempo racing certainly does. From the beginning to the end, cross-country (XCO) World Cups in the Czech Republic are an all-out, do-or-die affair – because winning here is a sign of true greatness and technical prowess. Here are the six best race runs in a decade of racing at the iconic course.
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1. A birthday win for Schurter and a sign of things to come, 2012
Nové Město men's XCO recap
Watch highlights of the men's XCO race at Nové Město 2012.
Nino Schurter is one of the greatest-ever mountain bikers and if you want proof, just look at the list of elite men who've won in Nové Město. In a decade of racing at the Czech venue, only a handful of athletes have ever won the race – or, more precisely, only four have ever beaten Schurter. The Swiss champion began racking up the wins here in 2012 in his second World Cup race on the course, and to top it off the victory helped mark his 26th birthday in style. He's gone on to win a further four World Cup rounds plus a World Championships at Nové Mesto – a record only Annika Langvad (two World Cups and one World Championships win) comes close to.
The French phenomenon Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has won everything there is to win in cycling, but back in 2014 she was just getting going. It was at Nové Město that she secured her very first XCO World Cup win. The victory was a typical display of dominance of the sort with which we're now familiar, but even more impressive when you consider that Ferrand-Prévot was still young enough to be racing in the under-23 category – although clearly her early move into elites was more than justified [watch the women's race unfold from 9m 00s in the 26-minute highlights above].
3. Kulhavý attacks to the delight of the home crowd, 2015
Kulhavý overtakes Schurter at Nové Město
Jaroslav Kulhavý overtakes Nino Schurter at the UCI XCO World Cup in Nové Město.
When the World Cup first went to the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Kulhavý provided a spectacular home win in front of masses of spectators. The event instantly became a favourite on the circuit, often picking up the title of best race of the season and always attracting tens of thousands of fans. Nino Schurter took over the role of race winner for a few years, but in 2015 Kulhavý came back all guns blazing in an impressive display of power and speed, finally taking back the top step of the podium, much to the pleasure of the partisan crowd.
4. Dry conditions lead to dusty and breathless racing, 2018
Nové Město XCO recap
Get all the cross-country action from the third stop of the MTB World Cup.
Nové Město races begin with a full-power sprint from the stadium as dozens of riders go all-out elbow-to-elbow as they try to muscle their way towards the lead. There isn’t much room for error – as proved in the men’s race in 2018 and the massive pile-up during the start sprint. It was carnage, but the top riders were mostly unaware up-front and continued to hammer in some of the driest race conditions ever. You can see it happen in the video above.
The parched course caused enormous plumes of dust and delivered possibly the fastest pace we’ve seen at the venue. And lots of crashes. Nonetheless, the cream always floats to the top – Nino Schurter sealed the win in a thrilling finish-line sprint against Anton Cooper that got commentator Rob Warner screaming at the top of his voice.
5. Kate Courtney overcomes adversity, 2019
XCO highlights – Nové Město
Catch up on all the action from the cross-country race in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic.
Nové Město’s track is not just tough on riders but also on their bikes. Wheels and components take a hammering from the rocks, roots, jumps, berms and sprints; many-a potential race winner has fallen victim to the temptation of hitting the technical sections just a little too fast.
Early in the 2019 race, Kate Courtney was riding at the front of the pack when disaster struck and she suffered a flat tyre. Despite a quick fix, Courtney found herself more than 30 seconds behind the leaders at the halfway point in the race. Astonishingly, the American battled on and made up ground on every lap, eventually taking the lead in the final lap and achieving an incredible win, her second in a row after also taking the season opener [watch the women's race unfold from 5m 30s in the 26-minute highlights above].
6. Tom Pidcock lives up to the hype, 2021
XCO highlights – Nové Město
Enjoy a look back at the best of the action from one of the biggest cross-country races of the year.
In the build-up to the 2021 season, countless column inches had been dedicated to precocious British talent Tom Pidcock. The then-21-year-old had already proved himself at age level in the majority of cycling's disciplines, but could he do it against the big boys on a wet Sunday afternoon? He'd given it a good go the week before, climbing from 11th row on the grid to finish fifth in his debut elite-level race in Albstadt, while his explosive sprint finish against none other than Mathieu van der Poel in Nové Město's short course race ensured he'd start on a level playing field come Sunday's Olympic-distance race [watch the men's race unfold from 7m 18s in the highlights above].
After a measured start, the INEOS Grenadier team rider blew the field apart in lap three and no one could keep up. By the finish, his lead was over a minute, and he was able to coast across the line to become the first British male winner of a cross-country World Cup since Gary Ford won at Mammoth Mountain in 1994 (five years before Pidcock was even born).
Watch the Nové Mesto World Cup live on Red Bull TV from Friday May 13.