Gaze claims eliminator World Cup in Cairns

New Zealander on top in first final appearance

New Zealand's Samuel Gaze, appearing in the first World Cup final of his career, took the men's title and the leader's jersey in the opening round of the eliminator World Cup, in Cairns, Australia. Gaze easily handled the muddy and wet conditions that had other riders crashing.

The technical 813-metre circuit was made even more difficult by the wet conditions, with riders sliding out in corners and on the roots as they desperately attempted to gain traction. The winning tactic proved to be getting the hole shot into the first corner before the climb. From there, it was a matter of avoiding mistakes in the downhill and keeping up the speed into the final long straightaway.

The men's competition saw a number of top contenders go out in the early rounds, a victim of crashes as they tried to push the limits in the muddy conditions. Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya), Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus XC) and Germany's Simon Gegenheimer all crashed out of competition.

Gaze rode from the front in each race, looking confident and in control. Joining him in the final were defending World Cup champion Daniel Federspiel (Oetztal Scott), world champion and Australian local Paul van der Ploeg and Emil Lindgren (Giant Pro XC).

Gaze got off to a very strong start, with van der Ploeg in second. Federspiel, usually a fast starter, hit the climb in fourth, but overtook Lindgren and then closed on van der Ploeg, when the world champion decided to take a slower line through the drop-off. While Gaze rolled across the finish with his hands in the air, Federspiel unleashed an explosive turn of speed in the final 100 metres to overtake van der Ploeg for second.

"I've been training for Nationals," said Gaze, "but I'm speechless; it's amazing to win. Australia and New Zealand have such a good relationship, so it's great to come over here with family and friends, and do well. It was hard out there; death by a thousand paper cuts. I knew how fast Daniel [Federspiel] was on that final straight, so I just had to go from the gun and give it everything I had. I'm just happy to come out on top."

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samuel Gaze (NZl)  
2Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team  
3Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)  
4Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro Xc Team  
5Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team  
6Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)  
7Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team  
8Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus Xc Team  
9Fabrice Mels (Bel) Salcano Alanya  
10Shaun Lewis (Aus)  
11Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team  
12Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro Xc Team  
13Tristan Ward (Aus)  
14Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team  
15Steffen Thum (Ger)  
Elite men eliminator World Cup standings after round 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Samuel Gaze* (NZl)60 pts
2Daniel Federspiel (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team40 
3Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)30 
4Emil Lindgren (Swe) Giant Pro XC Team25 
5Julian Schelb* (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team20 
6Simon Gegenheimer (Ger)18 
7Gregor Raggl* (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team16 
8Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Ger) Focus XC Team14 
9Fabrice Mels* (Bel) Salcano Alanya12 
10Shaun Lewis (Aus)10 
11Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team8 
12Fabian Giger (Swi) Giant Pro XC Team6 
13Tristan Ward* (Aus)4 
14Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) Versluys Team3 
15Steffen Thum (Ger)2 
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