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Zorak Paillé thrives in u23 men’s XCO World Cup

Zorak Paillé thrives in u23 men's XCO World Cup

The first World Cup of 2024 is underway in Mairiporã, Brazil this weekend and the Canadians are already showing fantastic form. Zorak Paillé charged through the under-23 men’s XCO field on Saturday, nearly nabbing a top-10 finish. National champion Cole Punchard was riding near the top 10 before his race was derailled.

Under-23 men’s XCO: Mairiporã, Brazil

It was a frantic first lap in the under-23 men’s cross country. Multiple lead changes saw the front of the race shuffle continuously as riders struggled with pacing in the heat and with keeping air in their tires on the technical Brazilian course.

Passing through the first lap, Bjorn Riley (Trek Future Racing) and Riley Amos (Trek Factory Racing) were sitting in a lead group with Luca Martin (Orbea Factory Team). The course and Martin’s pace quickly spread out the field. The American’s and quasi-teammates on Trek were happy to sit in while Orbea’s Frenchman towed the two to a steadily growing advantage over the field.

The Canadians were off to a flying start. Cole Punchard moved from 17th on the opening lap into the top-10 by the end of the second. His Pivot Cycles-OTE teammate, Zorak Paillé, started in the mid-20s before marching his way forward through the field.

U.S. team tactics rule the day

On lap three of five, Finn Treudler (Cube Factory Racing) joined the leading trio. That quickly spurred Amos to launch an attack of his own. By the end of the lap, the U.S. racer had 10 seconds advantage over teh chasing trio.

With his fellow American up the road, Bjorn Riley was happy to let the Europeans put in the work to chase. On the fourth and penultimate lap, he launched an attack of his own. The clever teamwork made it a U.S. 1-2 on course going out onto the final lap. Amos held a six second advantage to Riley with another 7 seconds gap to Truedler in third. Martin, visibly showing the effort of leading much of the race, started to trail off.

Those gaps first grew, then faded. But Amos and Riley held their positions to the finish line. Riley Amos wins the first u23 World Cup XCO of 2024. Bjorn Riley finishes second. Finn Treudler rounds out the podium in third.

Zorak Paillé continued to move up through the field fantastically to take 11th. Punchard was held up on the third lap, moving from near the front to nearly the back of the field. The Canadian u23 national champion fought back to 39th by the finish line. It will be exciting to see what both riders can do when the World Cup…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…