UCI World Championships: Sam Gaze takes back-to-back short track MTB rainbows

New Zealander beats Victor Koretzky and Tom Pidcock to win second title

Clock17:30, Thursday 10th August 2023
Sam Gaze celebrates short track victory with a New Zealand flag

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Sam Gaze celebrates short track victory with a New Zealand flag

New Zealand’s Sam Gaze took his second short track mountain biking (XCC) title in succession on Thursday evening, going clear on the final lap in Glentress to successfully defend his rainbow jersey earnt in this race in 2022.

Victor Koretzky (France) made an impressive return to mountain biking to sprint to second, just behind Gaze, whilst Great Britain’s Tom Pidcock took third after colliding with Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany) on the final corner.

Making his intentions of defending his title clear from the start, Gaze spent almost all of the 11-lap race on the front of the bunch, setting the pace and controlling proceedings before attacking on the climb during the final lap.

The powerful 27-year-old immediately got a jump on the rest of the lead group, and managed to hold off the chase from Koretzky to cross the line half just in front of the French rider and emphatically celebrate his third world title in less than 12 months.

“It was a very technical race,” Gaze said at the finish. “For me I felt like it was probably safest to ride it from the front and just ride my tempo so I knew that I could almost try and recover a little bit between the climbs. I’ve been struggling with my condition all season, and it almost feels like nothing’s been working, so to come into my best possible shape for the World Championships, I’m really happy about it.”

Most of the race went by without incident, taking in a shorter, less technical version of the Glentress course, but a crash in the final corner did affect the eventual result. Going into the final corner, in a group chasing down Gaze, Tom Pidcock undertook pre-race favourite Luca Schwarzbauer,

After starting relatively far down the grid as a rider with fewer ranking points, Pidcock had spent much of the race moving up towards the front group to bring himself within medal-winning contention, and only had to move past Schwarzbauer to take the bronze medal.

The likes of Gaze, Koretzky and Pidcock will now be looking ahead to Saturday’s cross-country Olympic (XCO) race, where another rainbow jersey is on offer, and where they will all certainly be amongst the riders to watch.

Race Results

1

nz flag

GAZE Samuel

20' 27"

2

fr flag

KORETZKY Victor

"

3

gb flag

PIDCOCK Tom

+ 2"

4

za flag

HATHERLY Alan

+ 4"

5

dk flag

FINI CARSTENSEN Sebastian

"

6

lv flag

BLUMS Martins

+ 8"

7

es flag

CULLELL Jofré

"

8

ch flag

LITSCHER Thomas

"

9

de flag

SCHWARZBAUER Luca

+ 9"

10

nz flag

COOPER Anton

+ 11"

Provided by FirstCycling

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