2022 MTB Worlds Day 3 1130x600
Team USA

Gibson Takes Bronze in Short Track World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  August 26, 2022

Blevins fought for the win until a crash took him out in the final meters of the race.

Day three of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships brought the Elite Short Track races. The U.S. was one of the countries to watch with defending World Champion Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Factory Racing) and Snowshoe World Cup Short Track winner Gwendalyn Gibson (Ramona, Calif.; Norco Bicycles). Rain earlier in the day made the track tackier for racing. The rain came down again in the middle of racing, making lines slicker than they had been in training. The chaos made for exciting racing, and the Americans put on a show for the crowds in Les Gets.

Elite Women’s Short Track

The American women took the starting line with Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.; SCOTT-SRAM Factory Racing) on the front row and Gibson, Kelsey Urban (Kentfield, Calif.; Team 31: Outride), Savilia Blunk (Inverness, Calif.; Orange Seal Off-Road Team), and Hannah Otto (Salt Lake City; Pivot Cycles/ DT Swiss) not far behind. From the gun, the team looked strong, with Courtney, Gibson, Urban, and Blunk all inside the top 15. The course was extremely fast, which made for tight racing. Gibson kept picking off riders one-by-one, working her way up from fifteenth to sitting comfortably in the top five. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) attacked on lap seven, stringing out the bunch. With the rain picking up in the middle of the race, the rock gardens became slick, with many front runners crashing. Gibsonstayed composed in her fight for the podium. Alessandra Keller (SUI) crashed early in the race but fought her way back into a podium position on the last lap. Gibson crossed the line in the bronze medal position, earning her first-ever World Championship medal.

She said, “It’s so special to get to have a really great performance in front of [my family] and this has just been a dream end to the season. I’m so happy.”

Gibson also commented on the ever-changing conditions in the 20-minutes of racing, and said, “I think you just had to stay smooth. The lines were the same but you had to stay a bit more cautious. The rocks were wet and that changed up the dynamic a bit. I think some riders took a spill on the wet rocks so I was like ‘just keep it up right, push it on the climbs, and I’ll be good.’”

Not only did Gibson have an incredible ride, but so did the rest of Team USA. Courtney, Blunk, and Urban all finished inside the top 15, riding to some of their best Short Track performances of the season. Those results ranked the women as the second-best team of the day behind the Swiss, who went second, fourth, and ninth.


1. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA) 21:56

2. Alessandra Keller (SUI) +0:18

3. Gwendalyn Gibson (Ramona, Calif.; Norco Bicycles) +0:21

8. Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif.; SCOTT-SRAM Factory Racing) +0:50

10. Savilia Blunk (Inverness, Calif.; Orange Seal Off-Road Team) +0:54

12. Kelsey Urban (Kentfield, Calif.; Team 31: Outride) +1:24

28. Hannah Otto (Salt Lake City; Pivot Cycles/ DT Swiss) -2 LAPS

Elite Men’s Short Track

Growing up in Durango, Blevins is no stranger to Short Track races, which earned him the World title last year. After a win at the Snowshoe World Cup, he went into the World Championships with a win under his belt and ready to defend his jersey. Starting with a front row call-up, Blevins never left the lead group. He followed every move and had incredible positioning all race. The continued rain changed the course making many of the spots in the rock gardens slick throughout the race. The leaders went down several times, but Blevinsavoided the chaos and stayed on his bike. It came down to the last lap, where Samuel Gaze (NZL) and Blevins picked up the pace to fight for the win. As they entered the last rock garden going into the finish straight, Blevins took the outside line in an attempt to hit the rock garden before Gaze. The two went side-by-side through it, with Blevins off the main line, hitting another rock past the obstacle knocking him to the ground. When he got back up, his bike was barely rideable, but he pedaled his way into the finish line in sixteenth. He rode the perfect race up until that point which is still something to be proud of.


1. Samuel Gaze (NZL) 22:21

2. Filippo Colombo (SUI) +0:03

3. Thomas Litscher (SUI) +0:07

16. Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Factory Racing) +0:30

The team will reset tomorrow and put their focus toward Sunday’s Cross-County race along with the rest of the Elite Men and Women. Tomorrow is downhill day in Les Gets with all racers taking their final runs. Watch live here.