Durango’s Christopher Blevins among Americans in return to World Cup mountain biking

Christopher Blevins was back in form Thursday in the Czech Republic.

After a summer away from racing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Cycling Union resumed the World Cup mountain bike schedule this week with a pair of cross-country and short-track races in Nové Mesto na Morave.

Durango’s Christopher Blevins among Americans in return to World Cup mountain biking

Blevins finished the men’s under-23 category race in sixth place. Thomas Pidcock of the United Kingdom won in 1 hours, 24 minutes, 11 seconds, which was 27 seconds in front of Switzerland’s Alexandre Balmer. Blevins’ time was 1:22 behind that of Pidcock. He finished five seconds ahead of France’s Mathis Azzaro.

There were 87 riders in the field, and 81 finished. Blevins, a 2020 Olympic hopeful, was the only American in the race.

The women’s under-23 race saw American Haley Batten place third, 17 seconds behind winner Giorgia Marchet of Italy. The winning time was 1:27:45.

The elite men’s race was won by Simon Andreassen of Denmark. He finished in 1:34:39, nine seconds in front of France’s Maxime Marotte. Milan Vader of the Netherlands was third, 26 seconds back. Nino Schurter of Switzerland was fourth in 1:35:23. American Keegan Swenson of Utah placed 27th, a new personal best in the elite men’s field. He was 3:57 behind the winning time.

Loana Lecomte of France won the women’s elite race in 1:22:06, 31 seconds ahead of Anne Terpstra of the Netherlands. Pauline Ferrand Prevot of France was third, 37 seconds back.

American Kate Courtney of California placed sixth. She was 1:48 behind the winning time. U.S. rider Erin Huck was 18th, 5:27 down, while Hannah Finchamp was 46th in 1:33:24.

Fort Lewis College alumna Sofia Gomez-Villafañe placed 21s, 6:01 back. She represented her home country of Argentina.

Another World Cup race will be held this weekend in the Czech Republic ahead of next weekend’s world championships in Austria.

Also, a junior series race will be held this weekend. Those will feature Durango riders Riley Amos and Ruth Holcomb in their first career European races.

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