Kiwi ends UCI MTB champion’s winning XCO run in South Africa season opener.
New Zealand’s Sam Gaze held off reigning UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country champion Nino Schurter in a thriller to start the new season in South Africa.
Gaze led going into the final sprint with Schurter slipping a pedal close to the finish line while Frenchman Maxime Marotte fell just short after a late comeback.
– The Stellenbosch victory is Gaze’s first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO elite win.
– The 22-year-old Gaze won the U23 XCO title at the 2017 World Championships at Val di Sole in Italy.
– Gaze’s thrilling triumph brings Schurter’s winning run of six UCI MTB XCO races in a row to an end.
– Gaze revealed, "It’s a dream come true. I grew up idolising guys like Nino. You always dream you can do it and it is a beautiful moment when you finally do it. I started to cramp up with a lap and a half to go and I put on a poker face. I got closer to the finish and knew I had to be in front to have the advantage in the sprint."
– Langvad won XCO gold at the 2016 World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
– Dentist Langvad has also won four marathon World Championship gold medals in a glittering career.
– The 33-year-old Langvad said, "It was a really good day for me on an intense course where it is easy to make small mistakes. I had a stick in my wheel plus I had to unclip and run. I always manage to keep my head composed and come back, though."
– World champion Jolanda Neff finished an excellent sixth despite a recent broken collarbone.
– The Specialized S-Racing pair were victorious on a dusty, drought-hit 4.4km track near to where Swiss star Schurter trains regularly and has a property.