UCI Rocky Roads World Cup RD 3 – Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic

Rider Cat Result
David Fletcher Elite 82nd
Rourke Croeser Elite U23 45th
Alex Baker Junior 50th

Ben Roff The team entered the double World Cup in confident mood after a run of excellent results across the team in recent weeks. We were also delighted to welcome back Ben Roff from injury after a wrist break set him back in South Africa early season.

After the experience last season we had little doubt what we were in for in the Czech Republic with passionate fans, a tough course and excellent organisation. As last year we would not be let down.

The weekend of racing started on a high as we welcomed Ben back to International racing as he took a great 10th place in the local marathon event on a rain soaked course in the beautiful hills of the Czech Republic. It was another stepping stone back to full fitness for our Commonwealth Games hopeful who is starting to get back some of the great form he was sowing early on in South Africa.

Orange Monkey-Cannondale After some great course training in a chilly Nove Mesto it was no surprise that Alex saw the heavens open the morning of the Junior race making the roots and rocks a little tricky in places. A great start gave him a strong position on the opening start loop before the riders went head first into 4 tough laps of this exciting circuit. Alex rode a consistent race to finish in a respectable 50th position in a field of well over 100 athletes.

Next up on the Saturday afternoon was our South African National Champion, Rourke Croeser. It’s been a tough few weeks for the young African with consecutive races across the globe including the African Continental Championships in Mauritius. Whilst results have been strong with three podiums in a row including a 4th place in Elite (1st Under 23) in Belgium the travel has taken its toll.

Rourke Croeser Rourke had a superb start from the second row of the grid bursting into the start loop in 10th place; however it soon became apparent that this was not sustainable as Rourke slipped backwards. A true fighting spirit is something that South Africans are well renowned for and he showed this with great character to keep pushing hard to a 45th place finish.

In the Elite race Dave was once again up against a strong field of well over 100 riders and a top 60 was again a priority for our World Championship bronze medallist. The transition from Under 23 to Senior Elite is always a tough one and making the jump inside the top 60 (and with it a World Cup standing position) dramatically increases grid position for the next World Cup.

A great start on the opening Intro lap saw Dave come through in 71st place as the Czech fans went wild all over the course for their local hero’s. However similar to Rourke and Alex, Dave could not maintain the high pace he had set himself and slipped backwards, suffering from a mixture of the cold air temperature and the initial effort to improve his grid position. After slipping back to nearly 100th place Dave made a huge effort in the final 2 laps to take a well-earned 82nd place and with it some good experience to take into France next week.

Although the results weren’t quite up to the high expectations that the riders themselves set at this level, a lot has been learned as we head into the second World Cup in as many weeks in the unknown mountains of France. Next stop…. La Bresse!

More Images - Nové Město na Moravě,