Photo: Gary Perkin
After a record breaking season for the American Aaron Gwin, a World Champs win would have seemed a fitting end to an almost perfect year. However, this was not to be as the in-form Danny Hart, who over the final rounds of the World Cup began to demonstrate his real potential, came into to his own in the mud of Champery.
Hart gave a masterful demonstration of what downhill racing is all about as he careered down Champéry’s track undeterred by the torrential rain and treacherous conditions that graced the last day of racing at the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships.
At just 20 years old, the young but incredibly powerful athlete put on a technical performance that belied his age and earned him the title of World Champion. In front of a delighted crowd (and hysterical Freecaster commentary team!), Danny Hart set off at full speed, never losing control of his bike, even on sections that had seen veteran riders slip and slide off course.
He cut an astaonishing 11 seconds off the time set by Damien Spagnolo (FRA) who had waited in the hot seat during 10 riders before being relegated by Hart, who was bronze medalist as a Junior at the 2009 Worlds in Canberra. The three remaining starters could do nothing to match the performance of the young British rider. The only one who looked like getting close was the last rider of the day Aaron Gwin.
The 2011 World Cup winner was less than a second off Hart at the first intermediate time, but his hopes were dashed by two falls. Spagnolo remained in second place to take the silver medal, with bronze going to Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL).
Australia’s Troy Brosnan was the only Junior man to go under 4 minutes (3:51.503), winning his second consecutive World Champion title ahead of David Trummer (AUT). The bronze medal went to Guillaume Cauvin (FRA), who recorded the fastest time on the upper section of the course.
In the womens event France’s Emmeline Ragot showed her competitors a clean pair of heels, racing down the Champéry course in 4:54,012, the only woman to go under five minutes.
The former Juniors World Champion (in 2009) took the gold yesterday after two bronze medals in 2008 and 2010. The next fastest woman on the track was 2008 World Champion, Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton (5:09,303), who now adds a silver medal to her collection.
Canada’s Claire Buchar is this year’s bronze medalist. The 2010 World Champion Tracy Moseley (GBR) suffered a fall but climbed back on her bike to finish in ninth place.
In the Junior womens it was gold for Madsion/Saracen rider Manon Carpenter. The Junior women opened the competitions in the morning, with Manon adding to an already impressive season after her 10th place in the Elite category of the World Cup. Agnes Delest (FRA) took silver, and last year’s Juniors World Champion Lauren Rosser (CAN) bronze.
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