At the start of the third XC World Cup in Nove Mesto it was all or nothing for the sprinters. The qualifying runs started as early as midday under the best conditions. Alexandra Engen proved her skills once again and secured the qualifying victory and the associated starting place for all races. The Slovenian Miha Halzer did the same for the men.
Engen didn't miss a beat in her heats. With a solid performance, she made it to the grand final together with Peta Mullens, Ingrid Jacobsen and Kathrin Stirnemann. With strong kicks, Engen already took the lead on the loose start straight, used the wrong tactics in the technical section, so that Stirnemann passed and immediately gained a lead of several meters. But this should not last long. While Jacobsen tries to keep up, Engen sprints past Stirnemann on the long asphalt climb and secures her second World Cup victory in a row.
The men's final was extremely strong with qualification winner Halzer, Belgian champion Fabrice Mels, European champion Daniel Federspiel and reigning world champion Paul van der Ploeg. But the weather went completely crazy and after a few seconds the track was completely wet and much more slippery. After Halzer had already played with the competition in his heats and usually only started his attack on the asphalt, he also held back on the starting straight in the final. Van der Ploeg took the lead and was really being chased by Federspiel. Shortly after the stone field, Mels suffered a technical defect and lost the connection.
Halzer's tactic of saving energy and sprinting past the rest of the field, as in his other runs, paid off once again. With strong kicks and the will to win, he passed van der Ploeg and Federspiel to secure his first World Cup victory. Federspiel defeated van der Ploeg in the sprint and finished second.
The race gives up in the replay www.redbull.tv to see.