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France repeats with MTB Worlds team relay gold

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Podium: Denmark, France, Italy

Podium: Denmark, France, Italy
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Gioele Bertolini) finishes up for Ital

Gioele Bertolini) finishes up for Ital
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The start

The start
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Marco Aurelio Fontana, Victor Koretzky and Florian Vogel

Marco Aurelio Fontana, Victor Koretzky and Florian Vogel
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Victor Koretzky was the lead rider for France

Victor Koretzky was the lead rider for France
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Florian Vogel put Switzerland in the lead at the end of the 1st lap

Florian Vogel put Switzerland in the lead at the end of the 1st lap
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Simon Andreassen was the lead rider for Denmark

Simon Andreassen was the lead rider for Denmark
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Italy's Marco Fontana faded at the end of the lap after a very fast start

Italy's Marco Fontana faded at the end of the lap after a very fast start
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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France took the lead with Jordan Sarrou

France took the lead with Jordan Sarrou
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Francesco Bonetto was 2nd rider for Italy

Francesco Bonetto was 2nd rider for Italy
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Niels Rasmussen was 2nd rider for Denmark

Niels Rasmussen was 2nd rider for Denmark
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Michal Lami had a strong ride to move Slovakia up to 4th

Michal Lami had a strong ride to move Slovakia up to 4th
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jolanda Neff struggled

Jolanda Neff struggled
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Pauline Ferrand Prevot, 3rd rider for France

Pauline Ferrand Prevot, 3rd rider for France
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Eva Lechner, 3rd rider for Italy

Eva Lechner, 3rd rider for Italy
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Antoine Philipp flys the flag for French gold

Antoine Philipp flys the flag for French gold
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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ebastian Carstensen Fini closes for Denmark

ebastian Carstensen Fini closes for Denmark
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Members of Team France

Members of Team France
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Team France proudly show off the gold

Team France proudly show off the gold
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Cross-country riders had their first opportunity on Wednesday at the world championships in Vallnord, Andorra, to test out the race course with the Team Relay competition. France retained the title they had won last year, but were put under pressure by a surprisingly strong team from Denmark. Italy finished third.

23 countries lined up for the Team Relay, with each country entering four riders - one each from elite men, elite women, U23 men and junior men - who would each do a lap of the 4.2 kilometre cross-country circuit. Countries can send the riders off in whichever order they desire, but the majority of top teams start with their faster riders (Elite or Under 23 man), and run their female competitor in the third slot.

Italy, Switzerland and France immediately opened a gap on the rest of the field, with Florian Vogel giving Switzerland a seven second lead over Italy and nine seconds over France. Denmark was sitting fourth at this point, with a remarkable ride from the reigning Junior world champion for cross-country and cyclo-cross, Simon Andreassen.

On the second lap France took the lead with Jordan Sarrou overtaking Swiss woman Jolanda Neff. France would keep the lead to the finish, while Neff would fall back to 13th, racing mostly among Elite and Under 23 men. Denmark moved up to third on this lap, behind Italy.

Lap 3 saw France's Pauline Ferrand-Prevot manage to hold off a strong challenge by Denmark's Annika Langvad to hand off to Junior man Antoine Philipp, who came in 24 seconds ahead of Denmark's Sebastian Carstensen Fini. Italy, who had dropped to fourth after the third lap, recovered to take bronze.

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot had a scare before her lap, explaining "During my warm up I crashed [she had a bandage on her chin when she raced], so I was kind of panicked to start. I just tried to calm and not risk our medal. At the start I tried not to overpace myself, so I felt good [later in the lap] and could go harder. I am pleased to keep the jersey."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1France0:52:45
2Denmark0:00:24
3Italy0:01:01
4Switzerland0:01:17
5Germany0:01:25
6Belgium0:01:49
7Sweden0:02:08
8Canada0:02:21
9Colombia0:02:38
10Spain0:02:46
11United States Of America0:02:49
12Poland0:03:02
13Ukraine0:03:14
14Hungary0:04:00
15Slovakia0:04:14
16Russian Federation0:04:25
17South Africa0:05:19
18Austria0:05:34
19Czech Republic0:05:39
20Australia0:05:58
21Japan0:06:03
22Israel0:06:29
23Argentina0:06:46

 

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