Paris Olympic MTB Test Event: Mathieu van der Poel, Tom Pidcock no match for Victor Koretzky

Victor Koretzky (France) won the elite men's mountain bike cross-country race that served as the Olympic MTB Test Event held at Elancourt, west of Paris. Koretzky won a two-up sprint to the line, beating Anton Cooper (New Zealand) by one second and Nino Schurter (Switzerland) by four seconds.

It was a highly anticipated event with the field that included newly crowned cross-country world champion and reigning Olympic champion Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) and road race world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), both riders opting to race at the UEC Road European Championships.

Van der Poel started in the back row of 39 competitors for the test event and finished 28th place on the day. However, he said the result was not a priority and that he travelled to Paris so that he could get to know the circuit, which included a 2.2km starting loop and then the main 4.5km circuit.

Van der Poel moved up to the main chase group of eight riders by the third of six laps. The leading group included Koretzky, Cooper and Schurter, along with Jordan Sarrou (France).

Although the Dutchman tried to bridge the gap, he couldn't make it across to the leaders and then drifted back into 28th place.

"I didn't start super fast because I didn't want to blow myself up. After a catch-up race, I had to switch back a few notches. My condition is no longer that good after a long season, and you can't hide that on the mountain bike," Van der Poel told AD.

“I'm glad I came here. I've seen the course. I also know that next year, I will really have to compete on the mountain bike for a better starting position. Otherwise, I won't win next year. I wanted to ride two of them after the spring anyway. But a few more will need to be added. We will be puzzling over the coming weeks.''

Pidcock finished the race in 36th place. The World and Olympic Champion said ahead of the race that he did not expect to have a good performance, given that he has just returned to competition after suffering from an infection.

"Jumping back on the Mtb tomorrow for the Paris 2024 test, checking out the course in preparation to defend my title next summer. I managed to get a good week's training in after recovering from my infected saddle sore. I won’t be at my best, but I’m looking forward to stringing my last few weeks of the season together on the MTB," Pidcock wrote in a post on Instagram.


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