Czech’in Back – Report from Jun 31 & July 1 at MTB Worlds from Rachel Anders

Keegan Swenson in the 2016 World Championships in the Team Relay. Photo by Rachel Anders
Keegan Swenson in the 2016 World Championships in the Team Relay. Photo by Rachel Anders

July 1, 2016 – by Rachel Anders, Team USA

Just raced earlier today and spent some quality time in the pain cave. First three days and a couple more races down in Nové Město na Moravě!

In true Euro fashion, it began pouring rain right after I made the update that the course was dry and dusty. The course was pretty wet and muddy for the Team Relay Thursday night, where each country has an Elite Male, Jr. Male, Elite Female, and U23 Male to race 1 lap on course. The US team was Stephen Ettinger, Chris Blevins, Lea Davison and Keegan Swenson.

Flip-flopping between 11th and 8th, Chris and Keegan put out strong laps to help Team USA finish 8th.

The French team won gold and the Czech Republic had an amazing 2nd place, followed by Switzerland in 3rd. Local Czech hero Katerina Nash made up almost a minute deficit in an incredible ride from 9th to 2nd, and Jaroslav Kulhavy held 2nd position to finish. The venue was insane; a rider would go by and the crowd would cheer… But then a Czech rider would go past and everyone went crazy.

Friday was the junior races. As for my own race, I fell a little off the back at the start, but was making up ground each lap to finish 29th. The course was so rad! It was an incredible experience to race the fastest in the world! Haley Batten finished 33rd. She said, “Nove Mesto took it all out of me. Not my best day but I’m happy to finish the demanding race on this insanely fun course and I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity.”

Some of the Junior Women’s results:
1.      Ida Jansson (Sweden)
25.     Kelsey Urban (USA)
29.     Rachel Anders (USA)
33.     Haley Batten (USA)

The Junior men had a 5pm start, and Chris Blevins was absolutely crushing it from the very beginning. In a race with almost 100 starters, he was in the lead group for the first 2 laps, then switching between 2nd and 3rd as France’s Thomas Bonnet took off. The announcers were insane: “The American! Look at the American!” Chris dropped his chain and jammed it into his frame on the last climb of the last lap. It took about 40 seconds to fix, and he would finish the day in 4th.

Junior Men’s top-4:
1.      Thomas Bonnet (France)
2.      Vital Albin (Switzerland)
3.      Tobias Halland (Norway)
4.      Christopher Blevins (USA)

Watch the Elite races this weekend live on Redbull TV:

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