12 Mar 2018

Gaze makes mountain bike history

7:08 am on 12 March 2018

The mountain biker Sam Gaze has made history by becoming the first New Zealander to win an elite World Cup mountain bike title after winning the opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in Stellenbosch, in South Africa.

Compatriot Anton Cooper finished sixth.

The trio will all represent New Zealand at next month's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Gaze and Cooper were part of a six-strong team to pull clear of the pack on the first lap.

By the third lap Gaze and six time world champion Nino Shurter and established a gap on the rest of the field and from that point swapped the lead in a see-saw battle.

Gaze made his move on the final and withstood a number of attacks from Shurter before edging him in a sprint finish to claim a remarkable win.

Sam Gaze (right) heads off Nino Shurter in a sprint finish.

Sam Gaze (right) heads off Nino Shurter in a sprint finish. Photo: Robert Jones

Cooper finished sixth, two minutes behind the winner in a solid first-up effort.

Fellow New Zealander Ben Oliver was runner-up in theunder-23 race. The trio will represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next month.

New Zealand and Oceania champion Samara Sheppard did not finish in the women's elite race, withdrawing after one lap.