The return of an in-form Sam Gaze in Sea Otter Europe’s Super Cup Massi02-06-2019
The final day of the Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava Girona Bike Show boasted one of the highlights of the sports programme: the Super Cup Massi, the festival’s main event, with both men’s Elite and U-23 categories to play for. Blazing heat, scores of seasoned enthusiasts, and a track designed especially for enjoying thrilling races right down until the final moment were all the ingredients needed for a perfect day of racing.
Just a year ago, Sam Gaze (Specialized) took the same stage by storm after winning the Scott Marathon Cup the day before. However, the circumstances couldn’t have been more different. This time round, the New Zealand biker, who is based in Girona when in Europe, came to the race not knowing if he would have recovered enough from the fall he suffered at the start of the season. After competing in Santa Susanna far from his usual excellent level the race was vital in order to turn things around for the rest of the season.
From the word go, the big surprise was seeing how the stars of Saturday’s bike-marathon race got off to a flying start. Enrique Morcillo (Buff Scott) took the lead, whilst Hans Becking (DMT Racing) also set the pace for the breakaway group that gradually began to form. Unfortunately, Morcillo ended up with a puncture that would put an end to his exceptional start. Various riders then took turns leading until Sam Gaze decided to break up the race once and for all three laps from the end, opening up a gap that didn’t cease to grow and clinching a victory that held particular importance for him, both psychologically and in terms of the competition. ‘It's one of the most important victories of my career’, he explained at the finish line. ‘I loved the race and the spectators’ dedication’, concluded the Specialized rider.
After him, all was to play for between a group of young talents: Jofre Cullell (Megamo) remained hot on the heels of Gaze, whilst Mathis Azzaro (Absolute Absalon) and Thomas Griot (Massi) were close behind. The next group was formed of two riders from the BH Templo Cafés team, Carlos Coloma and Josep Duran.
The last lap saw positions chop and change with Griot managing to get the better of Cullell to take an incredible second place. Meanwhile, Azzaro foundered and eventually fell to sixth, whilst Carlos Coloma pushed forward to catch up Cullell and, thanks to a spectacular sprint, take third place overall, with Jofre Cullell coming fourth as the day’s best U-23.
In the rest of the categories, Francesc Barber (Primaflor Mondraker Rotor) sealed victory in the Cadets, and the French rider Matéo Bayet (Team Haute Garone VTT) took the top spot for Juniors. Meanwhile, other winners included Josep Enric Farriol (73 Tem XX) in the Master 30, Pablo Egeda (Biking Point) in the Master 40, Joan Antoni Asensio (Trevol Bikesports) in the Master 50 and Antonio Gomez (Pedal Sports) in the Master 60.
After the event comes the Copa Catalana Internacional Biking Point with its only race of the year with CRI in Vall de Boí on 15 and 16 June. The Super Cup Massi will be back in September with the classic Vallnord event, the crowning moment of the Super Cup Massi on a World Cup stage.