Sep 16, 2014 AUTHOR: Alan Milway
World Champions Crowned!
Following a successful World Cup Season, the final race of the season was the World Championships, held in Hafjell, Norway.
With athletes in Junior men, Elite women, and Elite Men categories all were in the hunt for medals.
This event transcends mountain biking, as mainstream media can appreciate what the term ‘World Champion’ means and athletes are all extra motivated for this race. I was too! Throughout the week I was spending a great deal of time looking at lines and filming sections. This proved to be somewhat controversial and I was surprised at the bad mouthing I received for this – for almost ‘taking it too seriously’. Obviously this was hardly a deterrent and the hard work and analysis ultimately proved worthwhile.
Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes both have won World Cup events this season and were certainly favoured for podium positions. However 1 run can be cruel and Taylor crashed, whilst Martin punctured. Very disappointing and frustrating for riders and teams alike – but that is racing.
Manon Carpenter has had a stellar year, winning the World Cup series. Rachel Atherton has shown devastating skill and speed throughout the year but has been severely hampered by illness which has left her short of energy and frustrated at the limitations it has brought. Both were clearly fastest in practice and Rachel looked more comfortable in the technical sections, carrying very good speed. Come race runs Manon set a blistering time to put her in the hot seat, with only Rachel to come. As Rachel came on to screen you could see the run was not what she was looking for, and there were mistakes. Crossing the line the time was so close -0.08sec in favour of Manon. New World Champion.
A race that showed this really is all or nothing for these men. Many mistakes throughout and crashes from some of the main challengers, including Greg Minnaar, Danny Hart and Sam Hill. Gee was then on track and was riding fast, but not mistake free. He looked ragged and saved a close crash in the technical woods. He blasted on to the hot seat and held this to the last man. Josh Bryceland is current world Cup champion and has had a great year, riding high on confidence and skill. He was up at the split time but then launched far too far on the last jump to crash land and limp across the line just behind Gee’s time. Gee Atherton World Champion again. Other results were also impressive with Matt Simmonds 9th, Sam Dale 11th, and Andrew Neethling 21st.
The season has been one of the most exciting for years, with multiple winners and such close racing. The preparation that started in darkest December turned to racing and sustaining health and form, and now takes a back seat for a little while to recover and refresh, before all eyes are on World Cup 1, 2015.