Koretzky claims junior men's cross country title

Victor Koretzky raced to his second world championship gold medal in 24 hours by winning the junior men's cross country on Thursday afternoon. The young Frenchman was also part of the gold-medal winning team relay squad for France on Wednesday. Anton Cooper (New Zealand) outsprinted Andrey Fonseca (Costa Rica) by one second for the silver medal.

"Talking to my mom before the race, I was looking for a third place so am shocked by my great result," said Koretzky, who finished in 1:07:18. "I was aiming for the podium. The victory was not in my plan, but I was feeling well and had strong support out there."

Overnight thunderstorms made an already technically challenging course even more so. Wet roots and rocks meant riders were slipping and crashing all over the place in the woods.

Grant Ferguson (Great Britain) charged to the front and crossed the line first after the start loop. Fonseca and Andri Frischknecht (Switzerland) led the chase, but it was on lap 1 that Koretzky took to the front, gaining an 18-second advantage over Ferguson and Fonseca. Maxime Urruty (France), Dominic Zumstein (Switzerland) and Howard Grotts (United States) followed.

"I had a good start. On the descent I was in third wheel, but there was a bit of a crash, and I was able to get in front coming into the first lap," said Ferguson, who rides plenty of wet, technical terrain at home in Scotland. "Then I just tried my best."

Cooper, the winner of the last two junior World Cup challenge races, was noticeably absent at the front in the first half of the race. He had a rough start, crossing the line in 13th place after the prologue loop.

Koretzky steadily opened up his lead over Urruty and Fonseca, but on the third lap, Urruty suffered mechanical trouble. He had to run the climbs though he could still ride the descents until he got to the next tech zone. The problem would cost the young Frenchman a medal - he went on to finish ninth.

With just over one lap to go, Koretzky was left with a 1:30 lead over Fonseca and a bit more of a lead over Zumstein, Ferguson and Cooper.

"It was not an easy ride. I did not have a great start, so I had to fight my way back up in the standings with Ferguson and Fonseca pushing hard, but I was able to catch up and build some momentum then once I had a big advantage, I was able to hold it," said Koretzky. "I was more confident after our team's success yesterday."

With a phenomenal second half of the race, Cooper had moved up into the top five and he capped his performance off with a strong final lap where he caught Fonseca on the last climb. It wasn't until 500m to go though that Cooper sprinted around Fonseca.

"It's probably the hardest I ever had to ride," said Cooper, who had struggled early on, but persisted to work his way back toward the front.

"It was so tough to catch Andrey in the last lap, I had him in my sights for a lap or so. The race didn't go entirely my way today, but I'm proud with how I rode."

Cooper dashed to silver ahead of Fonseca, but both riders were clearly pleased to bring home their respective medals for New Zealand and Costa Rica, two nations not seen very often on world championship cross country podiums.

"In New Zealand, cross country is not as strong as downhill," said Cooper, "so this is a huge result for New Zealand. I don't think any New Zealander has ever gotten a second place in cross country mountain biking. It will go a long way to improving junior riding in New Zealand. It will give a lot of encouragement to younger riders there."

An overjoyed Fonseca said, "I'm so emotional. You can't imagine what this means for Costa Rica and our federation. I was so exhausted at the end. But to be on the podium is a great moment for me. I'm proud for our country. This is the first time Costa Rica is on the podium.

"Of course we had some promising results on the World Cup, but this is fantastic, I was not expecting this. It's a moment of joy for all of us. The mountain bike circuit is good within Costa Rica for us, but we don't get much attention internationally. This should open the door for riders from my country to compete with the rest of the world."

Ferguson held on for a solid fourth place at 1:48 while Zumstein locked up fifth in 2:18.

Race notes

Howard Grotts put in an impressive top-10 performance for the United States of America. He finished eighth at 3:15 after Koretzky despite struggling in the wet and slippery conditions. "I was going down all over the place. I had a good start and was with the lead pack and then I made some dabs here and there and got passed. But then I'd make up time so I would yo yo a bit." Grotts is in his final year as junior.  It was the first time a junior had broken the top 10 at MTB Worlds since Walker Ferguson won the title in 2000.

Top Canadian Thomas Neron finished 36th after a fairly clean run with no mechanicals and one crash.

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Full Results
1Victor Koretzky (France)1:07:18
2Anton Cooper (New Zealand)0:01:18
3Andrey Fonseca (Costa Rica)0:01:19
4Grant Ferguson (Great Britain)0:01:48
5Dominic Zumstein (Switzerland)0:02:18
6Kevin Panhuyzen (Belgium)0:02:44
7Lorenzo Samparisi (Italy)0:03:02
8Howard Grotts (United States of America)0:03:15
9Maxime Urruty (France)0:03:22
10Christian Pfäffle (Germany)0:03:28
11Thibault Geneste (France)0:03:34
12Lars Forster (Switzerland)0:03:41
13Loic Doubey (France)0:04:03
14Andri Frischknecht (Switzerland)0:04:11
15Fredrik Fang Liland (Norway)0:04:43
16Michael Mayer (Austria)0:05:36
17Ben Zwiehoff (Germany)0:06:08
18Edoardo Bonetto (Italy)0:06:10
19Boris Cara (Belgium)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Rok Korosec (Slovenia)0:06:26
21Florian Chenaux (Switzerland)0:06:28
22Matteo Olivotto (Italy)0:06:31
23Brendon Davids (South Africa)0:06:32
24Luis Rojas (Argentina)0:06:46
25Romain Seigle (France)0:06:54
26Martin Frey (Germany)0:06:55
27Mathew Waghorn (New Zealand)0:07:16
28Sondre Kristiansen (Norway)0:07:24
29Fabien Doubey (France)0:07:39
30Louis Wolf (Germany)0:08:03
31Tom Bradshaw (New Zealand)0:08:08
32Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spain)0:08:14
33Gert Heyns (South Africa)0:08:22
34Nicolas Scheire (Belgium)0:08:34
35Frantisek Lami (Slovakia)0:08:51
36Thomas Neron (Canada)0:08:52
37Pieter Geluykens (Belgium)0:09:01
38Miguel Londono Naranjo (Colombia)Row 37 - Cell 2
39Nigel Mcdowell (New Zealand)0:09:17
40Alexey Krylov (Russian Federation)0:09:24
41Tobias Spescha (Switzerland)0:09:29
42Jack Haig (Australia)0:09:46
43Andres Alpizar (Costa Rica)0:09:53
44Artem Shevtsov (Ukraine)Row 43 - Cell 2
45William Alexi (Brazil)0:10:10
46Didier Bats (Belgium)0:10:18
47Guy Niv (Israel)0:10:23
48Thijs Zuurbier (Netherlands)0:10:44
49Alexandre Vialle (Canada)0:10:45
50Mark Kuyan (Russian Federation)0:11:13
51Kevin Ingratta (Argentina)0:11:22
52Jozef Bebcak (Slovakia)0:11:49
53Karl Henrik Nordbakken (Norway)0:11:53
54Toki Sawada (Japan)0:12:04
55Egor Kropachev (Russian Federation)0:12:13
56Martin Stosek (Czech Republic)0:12:35
57Milan Dolezal (Czech Republic)0:12:36
58Peteris Janevics (Latvia)0:12:37
59Richard Cypress Gorry (United States of America)0:12:38
60Billy Sewell (Australia)0:12:39
61Emil Linde (Sweden)0:12:45
62Valentin Berset (Switzerland)0:12:53
63Michal Kowalczyk (Poland)0:13:01
64Aaron Beck (Germany)0:13:04
65Dmitry Andreev (Russian Federation)0:13:16
66Alexander Meyland (Australia)0:13:24
67Christoph Mick (Austria)0:14:12
68Gregor Dimic (Slovenia)0:14:35
69Gonçalo Duarte Basilio Amado (Portugal)0:15:22
70Peter Fenyvesi (Hungary)-1lap
71Ruslan Boredskiy (Russian Federation)Row 70 - Cell 2
72Omer Shubi (Israel)Row 71 - Cell 2
73Nikita Chubukov (Russian Federation)Row 72 - Cell 2
74Sebastian Anguita (Chile)Row 73 - Cell 2
75Marc-Antoine Nadon (Canada)Row 74 - Cell 2
76Casey Williams (United States of America)Row 75 - Cell 2
77Diogo Andre Figueiredo (Portugal)Row 76 - Cell 2
78Robi Sujevic (Croatia)Row 77 - Cell 2
79Gergo Meggyesi (Hungary)Row 78 - Cell 2
80Konrad Gorzelak (Poland)Row 79 - Cell 2
81Christos Loizou (Cyprus)-2laps
82Daniel McDonald (Australia)Row 81 - Cell 2
83Felipe Rodrigo Garry Rojas (Chile)Row 82 - Cell 2
84Radim Kovar (Czech Republic)Row 83 - Cell 2
85Christopher Aitken (Australia)Row 84 - Cell 2
DNFBartlomiej Wawak (Poland)Row 85 - Cell 2
DNFNicolas Sessler (Brazil)Row 86 - Cell 2
DNFElias Hagspiel (Austria)Row 87 - Cell 2
DNFKeegan Swenson (United States of America)Row 88 - Cell 2
DNFJochen Weisenseel (Germany)Row 89 - Cell 2
DNFJens Schuermans (Belgium)Row 90 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Roberts (South Africa)Row 91 - Cell 2
DNFMalte Finke (Germany)Row 92 - Cell 2
DNFLuiz Cocuzzi (Brazil)Row 93 - Cell 2
DNFBence Szalontay (Hungary)Row 94 - Cell 2
DNFAntonio Santos Ridao (Spain)Row 95 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew Sumpton (Great Britain)Row 96 - Cell 2
DNSSandro Munoz (Venezuela)Row 97 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Nations results
2Switzerland263Row 1 - Cell 3
3Italy247Row 2 - Cell 3
4Germany241Row 3 - Cell 3
5Belgium235Row 4 - Cell 3
6New Zealand234Row 5 - Cell 3
7Norway198Row 6 - Cell 3
8United States of America151Row 7 - Cell 3
9Costa Rica150Row 8 - Cell 3
10Russian Federation149Row 9 - Cell 3
11South Africa140Row 10 - Cell 3
12Canada134Row 11 - Cell 3
13Australia126Row 12 - Cell 3
14Argentina121Row 13 - Cell 3
15Austria113Row 14 - Cell 3
16Slovakia109Row 15 - Cell 3
17Slovenia108Row 16 - Cell 3
18Czech Republic97Row 17 - Cell 3
19Great Britain94Row 18 - Cell 3
20Israel77Row 19 - Cell 3
21Spain66Row 20 - Cell 3
22Colombia60Row 21 - Cell 3
23Ukraine54Row 22 - Cell 3
24Brazil53Row 23 - Cell 3
25Poland53Row 24 - Cell 3
26Netherlands50Row 25 - Cell 3
27Portugal50Row 26 - Cell 3
28Hungary47Row 27 - Cell 3
29Japan44Row 28 - Cell 3
30Latvia40Row 29 - Cell 3
31Chile39Row 30 - Cell 3
32Sweden37Row 31 - Cell 3
33Croatia20Row 32 - Cell 3
34Cyprus17Row 33 - Cell 3

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.

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