Gaze solid in UCI MTB World Cup cross-country in Czech Republic

Mountain Bike
samuel gaze xl v2.v1

Cambridge professional Sam Gaze claimed another strong performance in the UCI Mountain Bike XCO World Cup, finishing 11th in the third round at Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic.

The Alpecin Fenix team rider is in fourth place overall in the World Cup standings after the cross-country championship returned to Europe following two rounds in Brazil.

The race also doubled as the final round in which results count towards qualification for the Paris Olympic Games, with a degree of desperation and aggression apparent from those chasing final spots.

Fellow kiwi rider Anton Cooper (Trek Racing), who fell back in an aggressive opening lap, was able to ride consistently with his accustomed strong finish to be 4:19 down on winner, Olympic champion Tom Pidcock in 39th.

Pidcock was at his aggressive best, grabbing the lead from multi-world champion Nino Schurter (SUI) on lap four and then riding clear to win in 1:21.41, 32s clear of the Swiss star.

Gaze had come off an altitude training block, with an eye to the rest of his season while hoping for a top performance.

“I felt good about the race today although you never quite know straight off altitude. I thought I could have a podium in me but I just didn’t have it today,” said Gaze.

“That said I am really happy with the performance and where I am at.

“It was definitely very aggressive from the get-go today. A lot of riders were pushing so hard chasing Olympic spots and a few of them blew up trying.”

Gaze rode up to the leading group mid-race, but eased back as Pidcock turned up the heat, setting a remarkable pace to finish over 30 seconds ahead of Schurter and 44 seconds to third-placed Marcel Guerrini (SUI).

World Cup overall leader Victor Koretsky (FRA), second placed Chris Blevins (USA) and third placed Filippo Colombo (SUI) were 20th, 29th and 18th respectively in today’s race, as evidence to the aggressive nature of the racing.

French superstar Pauline Ferrand Prevot took out the women’s honours.

Earlier Canterbury rider Ethan Rose was 20th in the under-23 race. The Trek Factory rider was 30th after the start loop but jumped nine spots on lap two and finished strongly to move to 25th on the overall standings.

Meanwhile national champion Lochlan Brown, after winning on debut in the UCI MTB Eliminator World Cup in Indonesia last weekend, had to settle for 25th place in his second World Cup outing in Saraya, Turkey.


Male Elite: Tom Pidcock 1:21.41, 1; Nino Schurter (SUI) at 32s, 2; Marcel Guerrini (SUI) at 44s, 3. Sam Gaze (NZL) at 1:33, 11; Anton Cooper (NZL) at 4:19, 39.

Under-23: Riley Amos (USA) 1:14.31, 1; Luca Martin (FRA) at 17s, 2; Luke Wiedmann (USA) at 34s, 3. Also: Ethan Rose, NZL, Trek Factory) at 3:47, 20; Bailey Fredericksen at 4 laps, 144.

Female Elite: Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) 1:2444, 1; Haley Batten (USA) at 1:02, 2; Alessandra Keller (SUI) at 1:1, 3. Also: Jess Manchester (NZL) at 3 laps, 77.

Under-23: Isabella Holmgren (CAN) 1:15,54m 1; Madigan Munro (USA) at 2:03, 2; Emily Johnston (CAN) at 2:24, 3. Also: Amelie Mackay (NSL) at 3 laps, 69.

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