The first rays of dawn painted the sky with hues of gold as the Lapierre Mavic Unity Team gathered in anticipation at the MTB XC World Cup event in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, the ultimate kick-start location for an electrifying World Cup season. Since its induction into the World circuit in 2011, this remarkable course has witnessed countless breathtaking racing moments, captivating the hearts of riders and fans alike. It stands as a beacon of inspiration, cherished by riders worldwide as the pinnacle of race venues.
After a gruelling winter of relentless training and preparation, this moment marked the beginning of a new season.
This weekend was very special for Annie Last as she debuts her new Lapierre XR in UK colors as XCO and XCC national champion. The bike was fitted with KS’ premium dropper seat post LEV Ci and KGSL carbon remote.
Being at the top for the first big race of the season brought a unique set of difficulties. The weight of expectations pressed heavily upon the riders’ shoulders. Yet, the Lapierre Mavic Unity Team had learned to embrace the pressure, to harness it as fuel to ignite their spirits and propel them forward. The camaraderie and unwavering support within the team transformed the burden into a shared responsibility, a challenge that they were determined to overcome together.
Within the heart of the Lapierre Mavic Unity Team, a beautiful family atmosphere thrives. Nationalities intermingle, forming a tapestry of cultural diversity and shared dreams. Annie Last, the reigning XCO national champion of Great Britain brings her indomitable spirit, seizing every opportunity to push her limits. Sebastian fini, 2022 XCO European vice champion and Malene from Denmark epitomize resilience, reminding themselves that every pedal stroke counts. Erik from Norway brings a touch of grace and poise to his endeavors, while Isaure from France, 2020 XCE world champion, infuses the team with her infectious passion. Lastly, Thomas from Switzerland, bronze medal at the XCO world championships in 2022, exhibits the precision for which his nation is renowned.
The track in Nove Mesto, renowned for its technicality, poses a formidable challenge. It demandes not only physical strength but also unwavering focus and strategic mastery. Every twist and turn tests your skills, forcing you to adapt and make split-second decisions. The team knew that a single misstep could shatter their dreams.
The vibrant Czech crowd that gathered on that fateful week-end added an extra layer of exhilaration to the event. Their cheers echoed through the air, their encouragement echoing in the hearts of the Lapierre Mavic Unity Team.
Mountain biking, at its core, embodies the purest essence of adventure. It is a sport that demands respect for nature, perseverance in the face of adversity, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
The 2023 Mountain Bike World Cup season kicked off on Friday with the short track races in both the men’s and women’s categories. It was a fast-paced race, marked by rain and mud, which are classic features of the Nove Mesto course. Annie Last finished in 20th place, while Malene Degn came in at 30th. Meanwhile, Sebastian Fini placed 18th in the race, and Thomas Litscher finished in 39th position.
On Sunday, with dry and dusty conditions, the Elite Women took on the challenging roots and rocks of Nové Město. Annie Last and Malene Degn finished in the 30th and 31st positions, respectively, while Isaure had a more challenging debut in the elite category of the World Cup.
The Elite Men’s race promised no respite either, as predicted wet weather descended upon the course, saturating the already treacherous rocks and roots. Thomas Litscher finished in 46th place, Erik Hægstad in 66th, and Sebastian Fini in 78th.
While the race results were somehow disappointing, there is a lot to learn from such a week-end. The Lapierre Mavic Unity Team perfectly embodies the spirit of sportsmanship, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence that defines world cup racing. These are values we also share at KS. We are looking forward to more World Cup action coming soon!