Jordan Sarrou stunned the favourites to win the elite men’s cross-country title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang-Salzburgerland, Austria, today.
He escaped a wobble on the final descent unscathed to beat Switzerland’s Mathias Flückiger by 45 seconds and his compatriot Titouan Carod by 55.
Italy’s Luca Braidot was fourth, 1:23 back, followed by former U23 world champion Ondrey Cink at 1:37.
Nino Schurter, who had a tumble early on after a touch of wheels, continued to lose time throughout the race to place a disappointing ninth – 2:33 behind Sarrou.
The Swiss maestro was gunning for a ninth title and was one of the pre-race favourites.
“The plan was to start fast and to be really smooth with the mechanics,” said Sarrou, who gave the wet conditions plenty of respect.
“I did my pace and was really focused on my ride and I can’t believe it, I’m world champion,” said the clearly stunned Frenchman, who took the lead early on and never looked like relinquising it.
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“I’m in a dream. I can’t believe it, I have no words,” he said in the post-race interview.
“I just want to thank my crew, my federation, my team and all my support, I can’t believe it.”
In the women’s race, France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prevot won her third title.