Sam Gaze punches both hands in the air with index fingers up as he outsprints a small group to win the XCC at the Val di Sole Mountain Bike World Cup.

Pieterse and Gaze win Val di Sole XCC with superior sprints

Aggressive, tactical racing highlights the midpoint of the World Cup season.

Ryan Simonovich
by Ryan Simonovich 14.06.2024 Photography by
Piper Albrecht
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It was a clean sweep for Alpecin-Deceuninck as Puck Pieterse and Sam Gaze won the short track races at Val di Sole as the mountain bike World Cup reaches the midpoint of its season in the mountains of Italy. 

The light green jersey of Chiara Teocchi dashed off the start line, joined by Martina Berta, Laura Stigger, Linda Indergand, and Jenny Rissveds. Loana Lecomte crashed at the start and would be a non-factor in the race. The American contingent of Haley Batten and Savilia Blunk also were seen hanging in the top-10. 

A few laps in, Pieterse moved into position and so did Evie Richards and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, who is said to be switching to Visma-Lease a Bike’s road program next season. 

Pieterse put in an attack that was marked by Teocchi. Shortly after, US national champion Savilia Blunk hit the front and Pieterse attacked again, followed by Ferrand-Prévot. That trio gained a small lead that would come back together heading into the final lap. 

It looked as if Pieterse was doing too much work in the wind, and Ferrand-Prévot overtook her with half a lap to go. But Pieterse hung in and sprinted around the world champion to take another victory, and Blunk rolled in for third. 

Puck Pieterse raises an arm in the air as she pulls away from Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to win the XCC at the Val di Sole Mountain Bike World Cup.
Pieterse looked like she was doing too much work but had more than enough left for the sprint against Ferrand-Prévot.

Simon Andreassen sprinted off the line in the men’s race, followed by Gaze, Filippo Colombo, Jordan Sarrou, and Nino Schurter. Riders like Charlie Aldridge mixed it up at the front but nobody could gain a gap. 

Nobody, that is, until Luca Braidot went solo with just over halfway to go. There was some looking around behind, but an upping of the pace from the likes of Sebastian Fini helped bring Braidot back over the course of a couple laps. 

Colombo made final contact with the leader and was immediately followed by a dig from his teammate Schurter. Jens Schuermans attacked into the final lap, perhaps a final bid to go solo before the seemingly inevitable sprint. 

The world champion jersey of Gaze moved up into second wheel behind Schuermans and dusted the sprint for another victory for Alpecin. Action continues Sunday with the XCO.

Women’s XCC Results 

  1. Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 
  2. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Ineos Grenadiers) 
  3. Savilia Blunk (Decathlon Ford) 
  4. Candice Lill (privateer) 
  5. Alessandra Keller (Thömus maxon) 
  6. Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing) 
  7. Rebecca Henderson (Primaflor Mondraker Genuins) 
  8. Chiarra Teocchi (Orbea Factory Racing) 
  9. Linda Indergand (Liv Factory Racing) 
  10. Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) 

Men’s XCC Results 

  1. Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 
  2. Victor Koretzky (Specialized Factory Racing) 
  3. Jens Schuermens (Giant Factory Off-Road) 
  4. Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) 
  5. Filippo Colombo (Scott-SRAM) 
  6. Sebastian Fini (Lapierre Mavic Unity) 
  7. Jordan Sarrou (Team BMC) 
  8. Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) 
  9. Pierre de Froidmont (Orbea Factory Racing) 
  10. Mathias Flückiger (Thömus maxon) 

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