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Cole Punchard slips to fourth place in muddy Crans-Montana World Cup

Saturday was a busy and muddy day at the Crans-Montana World Cup. While the elite short track races were mostly rain-free, the skies fell during the men's U23 XCO race. This benefited Canadian U23 national champion Cole Punchard, who achieved his best World Cup result to date with fourth place.

Amos on the attack

US duo Riley Amos (Trek Factory Racing) and Bjorn Riley (Trek Future Racing) are the stars of this year's U23 field. The pair rarely finished in the top two places on the podium in XCC or the longer XCO races.

After repeating that feat on Friday, their dominance seemed in doubt on Saturday. A crash late in the race left Riley with bent handlebars and forced to stop in the technical zone to straighten his bike. While Amos continued at the front, Riley's minor mechanical failure allowed Luca Martin (Orbea Factory Team) and Cole Punchard (Pivot Cycles-OTE) to return to the race.

However, Riley fought back, overtaking first Punchard and then Martin to regain second place.

Riley Amos takes another win and extends his overall lead. Björn Riley rescues himself from the mud to take an excellent second place. Martin secures third place.

Cole Punchard took fourth place, his personal best and a great result for the Canadian U23 National Champion from the small Canadian team competing against very well supported factory riders.

Ian Ackert (Trek Future Racing) finished 26th, Owen Clark (Armada) 38th, Mika Comaniuk (Pittstop Racing) 72nd, Noah Ramsay 92nd and Alexander Woodford 114th out of 128 starters. Zorak Paillé (Pittstop Racing) was eliminated.

Anna Harden

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