LES GETS, France — Swiss champion Mathias Flueckiger and world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot cemented their status among favorites to win the mountain bike gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the short-track World Cup race in France on Friday.
Flueckiger bided his time behind early leader Ondrej Cink during the 20-minute race, which awards World Cup points but also sets the starting position for the Olympic-distance race Sunday. Flueckiger then went to the front with a big effort on the penultimate lap and held off the rest of the field to take first place.
World champion Jordan Sarrou of France chased him across in second place and Cink faded to third.
Ferrand-Prevot, who has made it clear her sole ambition this season is the Olympics, spent most of the race stalking reigning Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds. Ferrand-Prevot finally wrestled the lead away late and cruised away from second-place rider Sina Frei of Switzerland. Rissveds finished third.
The fourth race on the World Cup calendar is the final mountain bike race before the Summer Games later this month.