Gaze on podium in mountain bike world series short track opener

Mountain Bike
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Kiwi world champion Sam Gaze will start on the front row for the opening race of the UCI Mountain Bike World Series after finishing runner-up in the short track race at Nové Město Na Moravě in the Czech Republic today.

The Alpecin-Fenix rider made his move on the penultimate lap to push to the front and from mid-pack, eventually finishing just behind Olympic champion Tom Pidcock (GBR) and ahead of world champion Nini Schurter (SUI) in the sprint finish with the top nine riders within three seconds.

Gaze, who is 43rd on the UCI rankings with only the top 40 competing in the short track race, was only confirmed to start late in the afternoon, along with Pidcock.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist moved up over the final two laps in the 11-lap sprint as Pidock jumped to the front, with Gaze settling for second place.

Fellow kiwi Anton Cooper (Trek Factory) was also prominent, finishing 15th only five seconds from the winner, to secure a second row start for the world cup race on Monday (NZ time).

“That was a chance to blow out the cobwebs, although it was a bit of a rush to get sorted once we were confirmed as a starter,” said Gaze. “To be honest I made a bit of a tactical error late in the race but overall it was good to test the legs and I have earned a front row start for the main race.”

Yesterday national champion Matthew Wilson (Team Talley’s – Kiwi MTB Collective) from Auckland finished 21stin the under-23 short track and teammate Caleb Bottcher (Rotorua) 32nd to secure starts on the third and fourth rows respectively for the World Cup opener at the weekend.

Double national women’s champion Sammie Maxwell from Taupo was 14th in her first under-23 short track World Series race, will start on the second row for the season opener.


Elite men: Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers, GBR) 27:17, 1; Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck, NZL) 27:18, 2; Luca Schwarzbauer (GER) same time, 3; Mathias Fluckiger (SUI) 20:19, 4; Nini Schurter (SUI) same time, 5. Also: Anton Cooper (Trek Factory, NZL) 20:25, 15.

Women: Laura Stigger Z(AUT) 19:02, 1; Alessandro Keller (SUI) 19:03, 2; Sina Frei (SUI) same time, 3; Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) same time, 4; Evie Richards (GBR) same time, 5.

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