USA Cycling/Rob Jones
Christopher Blevins, 23, took home the win in the cross-country short track race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Val di Sole, Italy, on August 26. It’s Blevins’s first world championship win.
This was also the first time the short track has been featured at world championships, though the format of racing has been included at world cup races since 2018. Short track courses are similar to those used in standard cross-country racing, but are far shorter—making for faster and more intense racing for 20 to 25 minutes.
Blevins expressed that he had been looking forward to the race, since he grew up competing in “countless” short track races in his hometown of Durango, Colorado.
“I grew up racing short tracks, and I’ve been dreaming of this race for a few years since it’s been in the World Cups. I didn’t know if I had a fighting chance at [the championship title],” Blevins said, according to a post by USA Cycling. “It’s just an honor to line up next to these guys. I stayed composed and had enough legs for the finish. I did surprise myself with the ride. It was an incredible ride.”
Blevins was able to keep his position within the top 10 leading racers for the entire race. He made his decisive move at the end, sprinting just two seconds ahead of Henrique Avancini of Brazil, who took second, and Maximilian Brandl of Germany, who placed third.
An American man hadn’t won an mountain bike world championship elite race since John Tomac in 1991.
“To bridge that gap between John and myself is literally a childhood dream come true. It’s been a long time coming. It won’t be that long again with all the young guys we have coming up in the U.S. This is an incredible feeling,” Blevins said.
Blevins also helped the U.S. team place second in the team relay race on August 25, and he went on to place third in the E-MTB race on August 27. He’ll take on the cross-country race on August 28 next.
In the elite women’s short track race, Sina Frei of Switzerland took first place, with Evie Richards of Britain in second and Pauline Ferrand Prevot of France in third. Haley Batten had the best U.S. women’s result with 14th place.
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