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Reigning mountain bike world champions in the short track cross-country discipline proved to be the best yet again, as Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (France) and Sam Gaze (New Zealand) repeated as world champions on Thursday.
The intense 20 minutes for the men and women were contested on the rough terrain and steep slopes in Glentress Forest of Scotland’s Tweed Valley, with multiple laps of just under 1km for the XCC championships.
Sam Gaze wins XCC Men
Sam Gaze (New Zealand) defended his short track cross-country title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on Thursday. Victor Koretzky (France) ignited a late sprint to make it a photo finish for the top two spots, the Frenchman settling for silver.
Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) made an aggressive inside pass alongside Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany) to claim the bronze. Schwarzbauer slipped out in that final corner and finished ninth.
“A very technical race. Just ride my tempo, I could sort of almost try to recover between climbs. To come into my best possible shape at World Championships, I’m really happy about it,” Gaze said.
“That climb, it was really an attritional race, super technical, super fast. It’s 20 minutes and not what you carry in the first part, but what you have for the last. It’s a really good course, and obviously, I’m really happy to finish it off and have my second world title in this event.”
The critical start for the 57-rider field was led by Latvia’s Martins Blum, with Henriqu da Silva Avancini (Brazil) on his back wheel. The tight, twisting track did not allow for many passing opportunities, and the peloton was strung out after two laps.
On the third loop, defending champion Gaze took the lead, joined by Koretzky and Schwarzbauer.
With 10 to go, gaps started to form off the back, Gaze looking relaxed with the high pace that had 14 riders close behind.
On the sixth lap of the race, it remained status quo with no moves taking place. Schwarzbauer set the pace while Da Silva Avancini watched from the sideline with an…