Sam Gaze closes a perfect weekend at Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava Girona in a spectacular race


Girona’s Super Cup Massi brought to an end an extensive, jam-packed and exciting programme of activities for Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava Girona. After the women’s categories had battled it out on Saturday afternoon – the French rider Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was the big winner – Sunday was the turn of the men’s categories. Three separate races so that each one could compete in the best possible conditions.

Although the track, which was full of twists and turns, lacked gradient, it was nonetheless very physically and technically demanding. It was the perfect stage to present the best cross-country riders in the world to the large crowds of spectators that Sea Otter Europe attracts. As it was the penultimate round of the Super Cup Massi and the third-to-last of the Copa Catalana Internacional Biking Point, the competition was key to see who would tally up the points to be the overall winner of both championships.

The main event had a clear favourite in Sam Gaze (Specialized), a rider who has had huge influence this year, and his mere presence meant he was the man to watch out for, even despite having competed in the tough Marathon Cup by Scott & Taymory the day before, which he went on to win.

The Sea Otter Europe race was not one that will be forgotten anytime soon. Catriel Soto (MMR) was the first to raise the bar and break away from the group of favourites. The Argentine performed exceptionally well bearing in mind that he had competed in South America the week before, and everything that entails. David Valero (MMR) once again saw his race determined by a poor start, which forced him to use up more pedal power than he would have wished at the start of the race. Among the riders also vying for first place were Carlos Coloma and Daniel MacConnell, both from Primaflor-Mondraker-Rotor, but above all, Sam Gaze (Specialized), who commanded the group with an extraordinary performance and complete control of his rival’s movements.

Not even the strain from the previous day could put a stop to Gaze, who put his all into the home straight and opened up a narrow but sufficient gap for him to win once again and demonstrate that he is a notch above the rest: two races and two victories. “I’m really happy to win on both days. It was a really tough, tactical race with an amazing atmosphere,” said the winner, who wrapped up a perfect weekend.

On the last stretch, MacConnell caught everyone by surprise to take second place, with the tenacious and robust Valero completing a podium in which first and second place have both had a taste of winning a World Cup, something that Valero has come close to on several occasions. Without a doubt, we were witness to a race with the best riders in the world, which is not something you see everyday.

Meanwhile, fifth place went to the young German rider Lukas Baum (Maloja Rocky Mountain). Although, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jofre Cullell (Megamo) is the talented biker that keeps on proving that he is surely destined to do great things in XCO. Not only did he win in the Sub-23 category, but he also came seventh overall.

Victor Koreztky (KMC-Ekoi-SR Suntour) manages to hang on to the overall leadership of the Super Cup Massi with MacConnell hot on his heels. Meanwhile, Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory Cycling) is the frontrunner of the Copa Catalana Internacional Biking Point.

The battle of the year reoccurs in the Junior category and illustrious winners in the Master categories

Carlos Canal (Academia Postal-Maceda) and David Campos (Primaflor-Mondraker-Rotor) once again battled it out, something that is becoming a regular fixture this season. This time around, the Galician came out on top, beating Campos and the French rider Antonie Rostang (Team Madewis Pernes) by a good margin.

Meanwhile, the Cadet category was proof that the younger generation are stepping up to the mark. First and second place were taken by two riders in their first year, both newcomers to the category. Francesc Barber (Ciutadella Penya Ciclista) was the fastest ahead of Adrian Cuellar (Bsix Bikes), who also played a starring role in Friday’s Eliminator. Juan Perez (La Torreta Bike) completed the podium.

Pablo Egeda (Biking Point) in Master-30, Tomás Misser (Orbea Sport Club) in Master-40 and Tinker Juárez (Cannondale Factory Racing) all did as was expected. Three illustrious winners that continue to prove that Sea Otter Europe is replete with international MTB stars.

After this event, the Super Cup Massi comes to a close with the final event in Vallnord on 1 September, an opportunity to compete on a World Cup stage for the hundreds of bikers following the championship. The Copa Catalana Internacional will take place next week with its final double event (with CRI on the Saturday) in Vall de Boí before bringing its programme to a close also in Vallnord.

Sam Gaze closes a perfect weekend at Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava Girona in a spectacular race