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Sean Fincham Stellar 8th in Junior Men’s XCO @ MTB Worlds 2016 – Disera 12th, Holmgren 16th + PHOTOS and INTERVIEWS

by pedalmag.com
Sean Fincham  ©  Michal Cerveny
July 01, 2016 (Nové Mesto, CZE) – Team Canada’s Sean Fincham from B.C. earned a career-best 8th for a superb top-10 result in the 19.2km Junior Men’s XCO race with Quinton Disera 12th and Gunnar Holmgren 16th putting three Canucks in the top 20 on day one of the 2016 MTB World Championships in Nove Mesto.

Junior Men's podium  ©  Michal Cerveny

Thomas Bonnet (Fra), who led from the start, took the gold with Vital Albin (Sui) claiming second as Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) landed third on the podium. Canada’s last rider on the course, Victor Verreault, finished 33rd.

Junior Men's Start  ©  Michal Cerveny
Holmgren at the start  ©  Michal Cerveny
The 99-man deep field set a blistering pace during the race that featured start loop + 4 laps of a 4.1km course. Disera gave Canadian fans an immediate reason to cheer grabbing the holeshot before settling into the top 5 on the first lap as Bonnet took over the lead with three riders in tow. Further back in 16th, was Fincham who battled back from a bad start, as Holmgren was sitting in 33rd, and Verreault was 54th.

Quinton Disera  ©  Michal Cerveny

Mid-way through the first lap Disera was now sixth, a mere 13 seconds off Bonnet, as Fincham worked his way up to ninth and Holmgren also recovered from his soft start to sit in 19th with Verreault further back.

“At the start I found it kind of slow, but I felt really good and had a super fast start through the start loop and first lap being in the top five,” said Disera.

Up front Bonnet kept Albin and the USA’s Blevins, now 2nd and 3rd, at bay as France’s Axel Zingle dropping back into fourth. Disera and Fincham held their own while Holmgren moved up to 14th with Verreault in 47th.

Holmgren  ©  Michal Cerveny

As the riders headed out on the penultimate third lap, Disera and Fincham were together in ninth and 10th with Holmgren mere seconds behind in 13th. The battle up front was for silver as Bonnet had 40s on the pair behind. Meanwhile Johannessen was threatening Zingle as Verreault pushed up to 44th.

Through the third lap Fincham was able to pull ahead and move into 8th while Disera followed at seven seconds behind in 11th with Holmgren in 12th. “There were some attacks that I wasn’t able to follow,” explained Disera. “I found I was climbing tempo and didn’t have that extra kick after the start lap. The mid-race was a hurter, for sure. I was really trying to just minimize my losses.”

Bonnet began the final lap untouchable for the title barring a mishap as Albin dropped Blevins for the silver with Johannessen passing the American for 4th and Benjamin Le Ny (FRA) taking 5th.

Fincham, who was as high as 7th at one point, led home the Canucks in 8th as Disera shifted back to 12th and Holmgren was just behind in 14th for a 3-strong top 20 finish. Verreault made his way into the top 40, slotting in at 37th.

Bonnet at finish  ©  Michal Cerveny

“It was amazing – I still can’t believe it,” said Fincham. “The course is one of the best perhaps my favourite and the fans were great with all of the cheering it helped get you up the hills. It’s all still sinking in.”

“In the last lap, I was ready to fight for everything and just felt like I was balls-to-the-wall on everything,” added Disera. “In the end, it was bittersweet. But I’m happy about certain sections of my race, and I rode really clean as well – 12th is still freaking awesome and I’m glad I could do that with the maple leaf on my chest.”

Interview with Team Canada Coach Dan Proux

Full results here.

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