For a third straight year, Cory Wallace is the 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike World Champion.
The Jasper, Alberta endurance racer has traveled around the world to train for the last year, spending time in Nepal, South America, Southeast Asia, Israel and all over B.C. in preparation for defending his 24Hr title.
Wallace wins a hat trick
Wallace was on the road again for the race. After winning titles in Finale Ligure, Italy in 2017 and Fort William, U.K. in 2018, 24Hr racing headed south to Brazil for 2019. In Costa Rica, Brazil, Wallace won again to complete a natural hat trick of 24Hr titles.
“Every competition is unique. The first title was special because I took the throne from Jason English. The second achievement was important for the sake of affirmation and the third here in Costa Rica is the icing on the cake,” said Cory. “Being a champion three times is unreal. It seems like yesterday I won the title for the first time. I’m glad to be here in Brazil and, like the other foreigners, being able to help raise the level of Brazilian mountain biking.”
While he was been consistently successful at 24Hr racing, Wallace’s third title didn’t come unchallenged. Brazil’s Mario Veríssimo started fast, intent on stealing the title from Cory on home soil. Wallace worked with the U.S.A.’s Taylor Lideen to reel in the Brazilian. When they did, Lideen ended up forced from the race due to injury.
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3x 24HR world champion! 👊😄Very challenging conditions in the heat. Strong competition on course. 460+km for the win!•• Pictures and post credit to @candooreactor ✌️ @konabikes @clifbar @squirtcyclingproducts @7meshinc @girocycling @julboeyewearna @wildernesstrailbikes @rideshimano @balancepointracing @wemboofficial #wembo2019 #triplethreat #hattrick
Wallace pushed the pace through the nighttime hours go gain his advantage over Veríssimo, and win his third straight 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike World Championships.
“This year’s World Championship had a course that required patience. Most of the time we cycled very fast. In the end, it’s always a mind race where you live each part in a way. The circuit began with lots of trees and single track, then the profile changed with wind on open dirt roads” Wallace said after the race.
All in, Wallace rode 465 km on the Mato Grosso course to claim his third-straight win. In that time, the Canadian racked up a staggering 8,200 m of elevation gain, just 600 m shy of the full elevation of Mt. Everest.
Veríssimo held on for second, with Paraguayan Ernesto Mora rounding out the podium in third.
Gaia Ravaioli regains her crown
After winning her first 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike World Championships at home in Italy in 2017, Gaia Ravaioli arrived in Costa Rica, Brazil intent on regaining her title.
The Italian led from start to finish, completing over 400 km of racing on her way to winning the women’s solo event.
“I am really happy for this achievement, mainly because in 2018 I lost the world champion jersey in Scotland. I promised myself that I would win this title. I trained very hard and focused a lot on this race. It’s a dream come true,” Gaia cheered.
Brazilian riders Lucinei Marega and Hildebranda Leal finished in second and third, after pre-race favourite Elena Novikova of the Ukraine slowed down following a heavy crash.
“The route was very fast,” Ravaioli said following the race. “The organization was perfect in terms of logistics and safety of the track. The people in Brazil are amazing, very human and warm. Thank you so much for being so well received.”
You can watch Cory Wallace’s interview at minute 28:00 in the video below.