• The French were the only team to go under one hour in the Team Relay (Rob Jones)Source: Rob Jones
France took their third consecutive victory in the Team Relay on Thursday at the UCI Cross-country Mountain Bike World Championships, in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic.
Rob Jones

1 Jul 2016 - 10:24 AM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2016 - 10:25 AM

The host Czech team took a very popular silver medal, while Switzerland took bronze.  Australia finished tenth.

All three of the medal teams used the same order of riders: U23 Man, Junior Man, Elite Woman and finishing with their Elite Man (although Switzerland raced with an U23 woman instead of Elite). 

France was flawless in their execution, taking the lead with Victor Koretzky and never relinquishing it. Benjamin le Ny was their second rider, followed by reigning cross-country world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and finally Jordan Sarrou. Their winning time was 59 minutes and 49 seconds; the only team to go under one hour.

"We were confident of our abilities," said Koretzky. "It is special to win our third in a row. It took strong rides by everyone, to keep the lead through the while race."

The Czech team had a bit more of a struggle, finishing the first lap in sixth place, dropping to ninth on the second lap, and finally moving into contention with a very strong ride by Katerina Nash, who took them up to second. 2012 Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy maintained that position and gained a few seconds on Sarrou, to finish 16 seconds back.

"This medal was all due to Katka [Nash]," said Kulhavy. "She did all the work, I was merely holding the position. The French were just too strong today and could not be beaten."

The Swiss team also came back from ninth on the opening lap to fourth on the second and third, and finally into the bronze medal position on the last lap, 21 seconds down on the Czech team.

Dan McConnell and Tasman Nankervis moved Australia into third after the first two laps. Peta Mullens dropped to ninth in the third lap and Kian Lerch-MacKinnon lost one more position in the final lap, seeing the team finish the relay in tenth.