Skip to main content

Gaze claims eliminator World Cup in Cairns

Image 1 of 8

Samuel Gaze wins

Samuel Gaze wins
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 2 of 8

World Cup leader Samuel Gaze

World Cup leader Samuel Gaze
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 3 of 8

Daniel Federspiel (Ötztal Scott Racing Team) leading Julian Schelb (Multivan Merida Biking Team) and Matthias Stirnemann (Stockli Pro Team)

Daniel Federspiel (Ötztal Scott Racing Team) leading Julian Schelb (Multivan Merida Biking Team) and Matthias Stirnemann (Stockli Pro Team)
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 4 of 8

Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) leads World Champ Paul van der Ploeg through a slippery corner

Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) leads World Champ Paul van der Ploeg through a slippery corner
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 5 of 8

Samuel Gaze overtakes Paul van der Ploeg on the rocks

Samuel Gaze overtakes Paul van der Ploeg on the rocks
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 6 of 8

Samuel Gaze out front

Samuel Gaze out front
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 7 of 8

Samuel Gaze out front

Samuel Gaze out front
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
Image 8 of 8

Podium: Emil Lindgren, Daniel Federspiel , Samuel Gaze, Paul van der Ploeg, Julian Schelb

Podium: Emil Lindgren, Daniel Federspiel , Samuel Gaze, Paul van der Ploeg, Julian Schelb
(Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)

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) Team
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)60pts
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

Latest on Cyclingnews