Cooper leads way, Gaze crashes in cross-country mountain bike

Mountain Bike
xco start v2



National champion Anton Cooper led home the Torpedo7 New Zealand cross-country mountain bike riders on a brutal day of racing at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at altitude in Les Gets, France.

Cooper, who was compromised in his preparation with a bout of Covid that ruled him out of this month’s Commonwealth Games, braved it out to finish 33rd. While he produced consistent lap times at the demanding Les Gets course, he did not have his usual spark after only getting back on his bike three weeks ago.

He led home the kiwi riders, followed by Ben Oliver in 52nd with his brother Craig 55th. Ben Oliver, fresh from his silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, was not at ease on a challenging course that did not suit his strengths.

Newly crowned world short course champion Sam Gaze crashed out on the second lap after he made a superb start from the fifth row to push into the top-10. He got off-line on a jump and landed awkwardly with medics assessing a potential shoulder injury.

Swiss superstar Nino Schurter won his 10th world title with a brilliant performance, on a course where he won his the junior world championship in 2004 and today became the oldest winner at age 36.

Another veteran, Pauline Ferrand Prevot from France, added a fourth individual cross-country elite title in the women’s race, her second rainbow jersey of the week after winning the short-course crown. It also adds to her UCI road race world championship victory in 2014 and world cyclocross victory in 2015.

Rotorua’s Ruby Ryan led the New Zealand under-23 riders in 32nd place in the women’s race, with Cameron Jones the best of the under-23 men.

There is no break for riders, who head to Italy’s Val di Sol this week for the final round of the World Cup season.

Results, Cross-country:

Elite men, 24km: Nino Schurter (SUI) 1:21.13, 1; David Valero-Serrano (ESP) at 9sec, 2; Luca Braidot (ITA) at 29s, 3; Tom Pidcock (GBR) at 1:29, 4; Marcel Guerrini (SUI) at 1:40, 5. Also NZers: Anton Cooper at 6:04, 33; Ben Oliver at 8:53, 52; Craig Oliver at 9:21, 55; Sam Gaze dnf.

Elite Women, 20.58km: Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) 1:22.08, 1; Jolanda Neff (SUI) at 1:35, 2; Halen Batten (USA) at 2:13, 3; Loana Lecomte (FRA) at 3:27, 4; Anne Terpstra (SUI) at 3:46, 5.

Under-23 Women (17.15km: Line Burguier (FRA) 1:11.09, 1; Puck Pieterse (NED) at 43s, 2; Sofie Pedersen (DEN) at 59s, 3. Also NZers: Ruby Ryan at 10:35, 32; Amelie Mackay at 2 laps, 54.

Under-23 Men, 20.58km: Simone Avondetto (ITA) 1:10.35, 1; Mathis Azzaro (FRA) at 28s, 2; Luca Schatti (SUI) at 57s, 3. Also: NZers: Cameorn Jones at 9:48, 66; Caleb Bottcher at 1 lap, 74; Matthew Wilson at 2 laps, 93; Ethan Rose dnf.

Back to news