Pauline Ferrand-Prevot kicked off her world championships campaign with a big win in Thursday’s short track cross country (XCC) race in Scotland. The French star fended off Puck Pieterse and a hard-charging Evie Richards to take the win in Glentress Forrest.
For Ferrand-Prevot, the win in the frenetic 20-minute race format is her first world championship title defense in a series of four world championships she won in 2022. Last year, she followed up her XCC rainbow jersey with wins in the Olympic cross country (XCO), cross country marathon (XCM) and gravel races. The French woman did not start Sunday’s XCM in Glasgow. That title went to Mona Mitterwallner of Austria. Ferrand-Prevot and her new Dogma XC hardtail, though, will be on the start line again on Saturday in Scotland for the XCO event.
Jenn Jackson was the top Canadian finisher in the elite women’s XCC, placing 21st. Laurie Arseneault and Sandra Walter followed in 31st and 34th place, respectively.
Gaze finds form for XCC gold
Sam Gaze has, until Thursday, not had the kind of season many think the Kiwi is capable of. The Alpecin Fenix is still fast, but not in the same shape that saw him out-sprint Nino Schurter a few years back. That all changed on Thursday in Glasgow. The New Zealand used his sprinting prowess to finesse Victor Koretzky and claim the XCC world championship title in the final meters.
Koretzky held on to earn silver for France. Luca Schwarzbauer was in third entering the final corner but, by the exit of that corner, Tom Pidcock emerged to claim the bronze medal. Schwarzbauer, having crashed as the two rubbed shoulders, or slightly more, would barely hold on to a top-10 by the time he picked himself up off the ground.
Léandre Bouchard had a strong showing in the XCC, taking the top Canadian spot in 15th. Gunnar Holmgren followed in 23rd, Peter Disera 28th and Sean Fincham 43rd.