Gaze bounces back to earn UCI World Cup short track series lead

Mountain Bike
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New Zealand mountain biker Sam Gaze has moved back to the top of the UCI short course world standings at the latest UCI World Cup in Les Gets, France.

Gaze, the Alpecin Deceuninck professional, stormed through the field after a first lap mechanical mishap, to finish third in the short track XCO race.

His placing has moved him back to the top of the short track world cup standings, and boosted his confidence in preparations for the cross-country race on Monday (NZT).

South Africa’s Alan Hatherly won from Charlie Aldridge (GBR) with Gaze only five second back in third after a superb performance.

“I am really happy with the performance, but annoyed about the race,” said Gaze. “I had a small mechanical on the first lap, so I had to stop to fix it.”

Gaze lost approximately 20 seconds to rejoin at the back of the field.

“I had to ride back through the field. I should have won. It is what it is.”

The kiwi rider said he is encouraged by his form coming off a training camp over the last 10 days.

“It is good for the race. I want to put things right on Sunday. Everything is going well. My training camp went well and I’m happy with my performance today.”

Samara Maxwell (Decathlon Ford) was 11th in the elite women’s race.

Meanwhile the gravity riders had qualifying racing with national champion Lachie Stevens-McNab (Union) the best of the kiwis in 11th fastest in qualifying for elite men and 10th quickest in the semifinal to move through to tomorrow’s final.

Veterans Brook MacDonald (Forbidden Synthesis) and Wyn Masters (Gravity Cartel) along with Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (MS Intense) also made it to the semifinals.

Jenna Hastings was the best of the kiwis in elite women’s competition, just missing out on a spot in the final, with national champion Jess Blewitt, ranked in the top-10, still recovering from a foot injury.

The high-flying trio of Eliana Hulsebosch, Erice van Leuven and Sacha Earnest were all at the pointy end of qualifying in the junior women, while Luke Wayman was the best of the kiwis in the junior men, qualifying 12th fastest.

The downhill finals are set for tomorrow with cross-country on Monday (NZT).

Cross-country, short track, elite men: Alan Hatherly (ZAF) 21:28, 1; Charlie Aldridge (GBR) at 4s, 2; Sam Gaze (NZL) at 5s, 3.

Elite women: Alessandro Keller (SUI) 19.50, 1; Puck Pieterse (NED) at 3sm 2; Rebecca Henderson (AUS) at 5s, 3. Samara Maxwell at 30, 11.

Downhill, qualifying:

Elite Men: Dakota Norton (USA) 3:27.224, 1; Remi Thirion (FRA) at 1.094, 2; Finn Iles (CAN) at 2.532, 3. Lachlan Stevens-McNab (NZL) at 5.5531, 13; Brook MacDonald at 8.749, 28; Wyn Masters at 9.967, 37; Tuhoto-Ariki Pene at 10937, 51. Semifinal: Norton 3:24322, 1; Amaury Pierron (FRA) at 1.395, 2; Luc Bruni (FRA) at 2.7153. Also: Stevens-McNab at 4.490, 10; Pene at 9.601, 38; MacDonald at 11.457, 48; Masters at 11.660, 50.

Elite women: Valentina Holl (AUT) 4:03.010, 1; Mille Johnset (NOR) at 2.006, 2; Myriam Nicole (FRA) at 2.102, 3. Also: Jenna Hastings at 18.247, 24; Kalani Muirhead at 44.208, 40; Semifinal: Holl 4:01.702, 1; Nicole at 1.290, 2; Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) at 1.520, 3.

Junior Men: Asa Vermette (USA) 3:31.016, 1; Max Alran (FRA) at 0.075, 2, Jon Mozell (CAN) at 4.179, 3. Also: Luke Wayman at 9.566, 12; Oli Clark at 10.634, 15; Joe Millington at 16.657, 30; Seth Stylie at 16.148; 35; Rory Meek at 16.844, 36;

Junior women: Heather Wilson (GBR) 4:17.576, 1; Ella Svegby (SWE) at 0.531, 2; Eliana Hulsebosch (NZL)  1.904, 3. Also: Erice van Leuven (NZL) at 2.761, 4; Sacha Earnest at 5.389, 5; Winni Goldsbury at 39.672, 16.

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