Italy outsprints France for team relay gold

The first event of the UCI cross country mountain bike world championships, the team relay, came down to a sprint between Italy and France on Thursday afternoon in Saalfelden, Austria. Italy's Luca Braidot triumphed over France's Maxime Marotte in the end. Manuel Fumic crossed the line solo to secure third place for Germany over a minute later.

The two top teams took different strategies in ordering their riders. France sent U23 Jordan Sarrou out first, then junior Victor Koretzky, elite female Julie Bresset and finally Marotte.

Italy, on the other hand, put its elite male Marco Fontana first, and he blazed off the front to establish an early advantage for his team. Junior Beltain Schmid and elite female Eva Lechner followed before U23 rider Braidot finished it off for the win.

"We won. It's great for Italy," said Fontana. "It's just the first day so let's keep on rolling this way."

"It was so hard," said Marotte. "For me it was difficult to overtake the Italian rider Braidot because I was second and not on the 'A' line. We had talked about the sprint with the French team beforehand, and we knew it was important to be first in to the stadium. The coach was right. Congratulations to the Italian team."

When asked to comment on the team's strategy on order of riders, Fontana said, "I think you can either race with the elite man first or very last. We had a start loop on the gravel and then hit the course where it was narrow and singletrack, so having an elite man first was a good strategy. I knew I could be in the front straightaway, and then I just did my pace, and I think it was a good one. The last one was U23 rider Luca, who has already showed that he can have a quick lap Most of the other teams had the U23 first, so it was a bit easier for me."

During lap three, France's Bresset was in the lead, however, she stopped at the pits as she rolled through at about the halfway point to receive mechanical assistance. Italy's Lechner passed her just as she was about to get underway again, and the French woman regained the lead over the Italian by the end of lap three.

"My tired was flat at the beginning of my run," said Bresset. "I had to stop and change my wheel." The race might not have come down to a sprint without the mechanical as it cost Bresset her lead at the time.

The German team was happy with its bronze medal. Its final rider Fumic said, "When it was my turn, I was sixth and I knew we could reach a bronze medal. The first two teams had good riders. In the end, I had a good run and had good legs. I think the German team is very satisfied with the bronze medal. The Germans, were were not so good in the first lap or two, but we got closer and closer toward the finish."

Spitz was also delighted with the medal, especially as it would motivate the younger riders on her team. Still beaming after her silver medal at the Olympic Games, she noted that Germany had not won a team relay medal since 2010 at Mont-Saint-Anne, even though it often had a strong team on paper each year at Worlds. "Each person has to have a good ride. No one on the team can have a big crash or mechanical or not feel well."

Although it had rained earlier in the day, the course dried out somewhat, but was more challenging than it had been all week so far. "It was raining this morning until lunch time, so it was a bit slippery, but some sections were still good and rideable and pretty fast," said Fontana. "The very first, steep descent was really slippery. Other than that, the course was nice and fast and technical."

Full Results

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Team relay cross country
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Italy0:51:54
Row 1 - Cell 0 Marco Aurelio Fontana (ME)Row 1 - Cell 2
Row 2 - Cell 0 Beltain Schmid (MJ)Row 2 - Cell 2
Row 3 - Cell 0 Eva Lechner (WE)Row 3 - Cell 2
Row 4 - Cell 0 Luca Braidot (MU)Row 4 - Cell 2
2France0:51:55
Row 6 - Cell 0 Jordan Sarrou (MU)Row 6 - Cell 2
Row 7 - Cell 0 Victor Koretzky (MJ)Row 7 - Cell 2
Row 8 - Cell 0 Julie Bresset (WE)Row 8 - Cell 2
Row 9 - Cell 0 Maxime Marotte (ME)Row 9 - Cell 2
3Germany0:53:17
Row 11 - Cell 0 Markus Schulte-Luenzum (MU)Row 11 - Cell 2
Row 12 - Cell 0 Martin Frey (MJ)Row 12 - Cell 2
Row 13 - Cell 0 Sabine Spitz (WE)Row 13 - Cell 2
Row 14 - Cell 0 Manuel Fumic (ME)Row 14 - Cell 2
4Swizterland0:53:53
Row 16 - Cell 0 Reto Indergand (MU)Row 16 - Cell 2
Row 17 - Cell 0 Dominic Zumstein (MJ)Row 17 - Cell 2
Row 18 - Cell 0 Katrin Leumann (WE)Row 18 - Cell 2
Row 19 - Cell 0 Ralph Naef (ME)Row 19 - Cell 2
5Canada0:53:57
Row 21 - Cell 0 Geoff Kabush (ME)Row 21 - Cell 2
Row 22 - Cell 0 Mitchell Bailey (MU)Row 22 - Cell 2
Row 23 - Cell 0 Catharine Pendrel (WE)Row 23 - Cell 2
Row 24 - Cell 0 Marc-Antoine Nadon (MJ)Row 24 - Cell 2
6Sweden0:54:41
Row 26 - Cell 0 Olof Jonsson (MU)Row 26 - Cell 2
Row 27 - Cell 0 Emil Linde (MJ)Row 27 - Cell 2
Row 28 - Cell 0 Alexandra Engen (WE)Row 28 - Cell 2
Row 29 - Cell 0 Emil Lindgren (ME)Row 29 - Cell 2
7United States of America0:55:26
Row 31 - Cell 0 Russell Finsterwald (MU)Row 31 - Cell 2
Row 32 - Cell 0 Keegan Swenson (MJ)Row 32 - Cell 2
Row 33 - Cell 0 Lea Davison (WE)Row 33 - Cell 2
Row 34 - Cell 0 Todd Wells (ME)Row 34 - Cell 2
8Ukraine0:55:29
Row 36 - Cell 0 Sergji Rysenko (ME)Row 36 - Cell 2
Row 37 - Cell 0 Yana Belomoyna (WU)Row 37 - Cell 2
Row 38 - Cell 0 Artem Shevtsov (MJ)Row 38 - Cell 2
Row 39 - Cell 0 Mykhaylo Batsutsa (MU)Row 39 - Cell 2
9Netherlands0:55:37
Row 41 - Cell 0 Michiel Van Der Heijden (MU)Row 41 - Cell 2
Row 42 - Cell 0 Jesper Slik (MJ)Row 42 - Cell 2
Row 43 - Cell 0 Anne Terpstra (WU)Row 43 - Cell 2
Row 44 - Cell 0 Rudi Van Houts (ME)Row 44 - Cell 2
10Austria0:56:05
Row 46 - Cell 0 Karl Markt (ME)Row 46 - Cell 2
Row 47 - Cell 0 Michael Mayer (MJ)Row 47 - Cell 2
Row 48 - Cell 0 Elisabeth Osl (WE)Row 48 - Cell 2
Row 49 - Cell 0 Gregor Raggl (MU)Row 49 - Cell 2
11South Africa0:56:40
Row 51 - Cell 0 Burry Stander (ME)Row 51 - Cell 2
Row 52 - Cell 0 Paul Rodenbach (MJ)Row 52 - Cell 2
Row 53 - Cell 0 Rourke Croeser (MU)Row 53 - Cell 2
Row 54 - Cell 0 Candice Neethling (WU)Row 54 - Cell 2
12Brazil0:57:36
Row 56 - Cell 0 Frederico Mariano (MU)Row 56 - Cell 2
Row 57 - Cell 0 Nicolas Sessler (MJ)Row 57 - Cell 2
Row 58 - Cell 0 Raiza Goulao-Henrique (WU)Row 58 - Cell 2
Row 59 - Cell 0 Ricardo Pscheidt (ME)Row 59 - Cell 2
13Portugal0:57:48
Row 61 - Cell 0 Mario Luis Miranda Costa (MU)Row 61 - Cell 2
Row 62 - Cell 0 Amado Goncalco Duarte Basilio (MJ)Row 62 - Cell 2
Row 63 - Cell 0 Joana Barbosa (WE)Row 63 - Cell 2
Row 64 - Cell 0 Ruben Almeida (ME)Row 64 - Cell 2
14Australia0:57:55
Row 66 - Cell 0 Daniel Mcconnell (ME)Row 66 - Cell 2
Row 67 - Cell 0 Ben Bradley (MJ)Row 67 - Cell 2
Row 68 - Cell 0 Rowena Fry (WE)Row 68 - Cell 2
Row 69 - Cell 0 Jack Haig (MU)Row 69 - Cell 2
15Japan0:59:08
Row 71 - Cell 0 Kohei Yamamoto (ME)Row 71 - Cell 2
Row 72 - Cell 0 Yoshitaka Nakahara (MU)Row 72 - Cell 2
Row 73 - Cell 0 Rie Katayama (WE)Row 73 - Cell 2
Row 74 - Cell 0 Kohei Maeda (MJ)Row 74 - Cell 2
16Serbia1:01:25
Row 76 - Cell 0 Bojan Djurdjic (ME)Row 76 - Cell 2
Row 77 - Cell 0 Marko Popovic (MU)Row 77 - Cell 2
Row 78 - Cell 0 Slobodan Stankovic (MJ)Row 78 - Cell 2
Row 79 - Cell 0 Jovana Crnogorac (WU)Row 79 - Cell 2
17Slovakia1:01:29
Row 81 - Cell 0 Michal Lami (ME)Row 81 - Cell 2
Row 82 - Cell 0 Frantisek Lami (MU)Row 82 - Cell 2
Row 83 - Cell 0 Janka Stevkova (WE)Row 83 - Cell 2
Row 84 - Cell 0 Ondrej Glajza (MJ)Row 84 - Cell 2
18Chile1:01:41
Row 86 - Cell 0 Daniela Rojas (WU)Row 86 - Cell 2
Row 87 - Cell 0 Cristobal Silva Ibaceta (ME)Row 87 - Cell 2
Row 88 - Cell 0 Felipe Rodrigo Garry Rojas (MJ)Row 88 - Cell 2
Row 89 - Cell 0 Patricio Maximiliano Farias Diaz (MU)Row 89 - Cell 2
DSQCzech RepublicRow 90 - Cell 2
Row 91 - Cell 0 Ondrej Cink (MU)Row 91 - Cell 2
Row 92 - Cell 0 Katerina Nash (WE)Row 92 - Cell 2
Row 93 - Cell 0 Martin Stosek (MJ)Row 93 - Cell 2
Row 94 - Cell 0 Jaroslav Kulhavy (ME)Row 94 - Cell 2
DSQSpainRow 95 - Cell 2
Row 96 - Cell 0 Cristofer Bosque Ruano (MU)Row 96 - Cell 2
Row 97 - Cell 0 Javier Cerdeno (MJ)Row 97 - Cell 2
Row 98 - Cell 0 Anna Villar Argente (WE)Row 98 - Cell 2
Row 99 - Cell 0 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (ME)Row 99 - Cell 2
DNSGreat BritainRow 100 - Cell 2
Row 101 - Cell 0 David Fletcher (ME)Row 101 - Cell 2
Row 102 - Cell 0 Steven James (MU)Row 102 - Cell 2
Row 103 - Cell 0 Michael Thompson (MJ)Row 103 - Cell 2
Row 104 - Cell 0 Lee Craigie (WE)Row 104 - Cell 2

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