Canadian Cyclist


April 15/24 19:53 pm - Johnston Third at MTB World Cup Opener

Posted by Editoress on 04/15/24

The 2024 Mountain Bike World Cup got underway this past weekend in Mairipora, Brazil, for Round 1 of the XCC and XCO. Emilly Johnston (Trek Future Racing) had the top Canadian results, finishing third in the women's Under-23 XCO and fifth in the XCC.


Competition began on Friday with the Under-23 XCC races for women and men. In addition to Johnston's fifth, Ella MacPhee (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was 12th in the women, while Cole Punchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was 23rd and Zorak Paille (Pivot Cycles-OTE) was 27th in the men. Kira Böhm (Cube Factory Racing) won the women's race and Riley Amos (Trek Factory Racing-Pirelli) the men's.

Saturday saw the Elite XCCs take place, with Jennifer Jackson (Liv Factory) finishing ninth in the women and, in the men, Carter Woods (Giant Factory XC) was 18th and Gunnar Holmgren (KMC Ridley) was 30th. Evie Richards (Trek Factory-Pirelli) won the women's race in a late race attack, while world champion Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took the men's in a sprint finish.

Richards said: "It started off in quite a big group and then a couple of different girls went on the front and pushed. Kate [Courtney] made an attack, and I happened to be on her second wheel. I just pushed with the attack. I think she faded a bit at the top of one of the climbs and I came out of the descent with a lead. I just kept going at that speed to mantain the gap. I'm really pleased to start the season like that. I think you always have to improvise. We talked a lot about strategies and what would happen if different people attacked so I was well prepared going into it and was happy with that."

Gaze stated, "It's been a really difficult couple of weeks, it was really hard to focus on my job at some points, but I've come out here and put together a good performance. The start was super critical for me and a lot of the time I don't get lucky, but I have to say I got lucky in the start loop, and then from there it was just trying to recover the best I could before moving forward. The heat is such a factor here, it feels like I've swallowed a glass full of glass. I'm super happy, good signs for the next two weeks, happy to have a good start."
XCC results


With her third place in the Under-23 women's race, Emilly Johnston also met the Olympic selection criteria, the first woman to do so, with the only other Canadian in the race, Ella MacPhee (Pivot Cycles-OTE), finishing ninth. Kira Böhm (Cube Factory Racing) followed up her XCC win with a another in the XCO, 11 seconds ahead of Ginia Caluori (Willier-Vittoria Factory). In the Under-23 men, Riley Amos (Trek Factory) was the winner, followed by Bjorn Riley (Trek Future Racing), with Finn Treudler (Cube Factory Racing) taking third. Zorak Paille was the top Canadian in 11th, followed by Cole Punchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) in 39th and Simon Ruelland (Pivot Cycles-OTE) in 54th.

The Elite races saw Jenny Rissveds (Team 31 Ibis Cycles Continental) win for the women and Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory) for the men.

Rissveds played the long game, allowing the American duo of Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing) and Savilia Blunk (Decathlon Ford Racing Team) to battle for supremacy while she saved her power for the final lap, with a counterattack dropping Batten. Canadian champion Jackson was 14th, with Laurie Arseneault (Pittstop Racing) 46th.

After the race, Rissveds said: "It felt really good, I raced last weekend on the exact same course, and I was a little bit too excited. My goal was to feel the flow on the trails and to stay patient, so I had that in mind the whole race. Then Haley tried to attack me a few times on the last lap, but I still felt really strong and knew I still had some power left in my legs."

Blevins' Specialized Factory teammates Martín Vidaurre and Victor Koretzky attacked early to open a gap in the men's race, with Blevins in the chase group, that eventually joined the leaders so that by the start of the final lap there were still 13 riders in contention. Blevins attacked, chased by Filippo Colombo (Scott-SRAM), but held on to win, with his teammate Koretzky outsprinting Colombo for second place. Woods was the top Canadian, in 27th place, followed by Homgren in 41st, Leandre Bouchard (Foresco Holding Proco Rl Pro Team) 51st, Victor Verreault (Foresco Holding Proco Rl Pro Team) 60th and Raphael Auclair (Pivot Cycles-OTE) 81st.

"It's so surreal, I'm just kind of in a daze right now," admitted Blevins. "This sport's just so beautiful and when you're on days like this, there's no place I'd rather be in the world. I had a really bad day yesterday, and I think it's a lesson. In this sport you've just got to listen to your body, you can always get more out of it than you think."
XCO results


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