Posted by Editoress on 08/30/13
Day 3 saw a total of six titles awarded; two each for Cross-country, Downhill and Trials. Italy and Switzerland each took their second world titles, with Italy's Gerhard Kerschbaumer taking the Under-23 Men's cross-country title and Jolanda Neff the Under-23 Women's. In the Junior Downhill, Tahnee Seagrave won the women's title for Great Britain, while Rude took the men's title. The Trials also awarded their first titles, with Tatiana Janickova of Slovakia winning the Elite women's category and Spain taking the Trials Team title.
Canada had three top-10 performances, with Maghalie Rochette scoring ninth place at her first Worlds in the women's Under-23, plus Mckay Vezina finishing seventh and Mark Wallace ninth in the Junior Men's Downhill.
The day began with the Downhill, and both Seagrave and Rude dominated their divisions. Tegan Molloy took the women's Hot Seat first, but was quickly displaced by her countrywoman Danielle Beecroft, who recorded the first sub-5 minute time for the Junior women. However, Seagrave, the top Junior woman on the World Cup circuit, came down next, obliterating Beecroft's time by over seven seconds to win her first rainbow jersey.
"I knew that I could win after my timed run [the day before]," explained Seagrave, "so I was cautious, because I was afraid of crashing. I just concentrated on pedaling in every section that I could. This [title] means everything to me, I've waited a long time for this."
Defending champion Holly Feniak of Canada did not start, still recovering from a concussion suffered earlier in the year.
Ben Hill of Australia was the first to crack the four minute and 30 second barrier, and he held the lead until team mate Aiden Varley bumped him by three seconds, with 30 riders to go. From that point the leading time dropped steadily by small increments, as riders struggled with strong gusting winds. Luca Shaw (USA) took the lead below 4:20, but the fastest riders were just getting started.
In the end, it was the three fastest riders from the seeding run who took the medal spots, with Michael Jones (Great Britain) starting third from last and taking bronze, and then Rude roaring in at a blazing fast 4:06, the only rider to go under 4:10. Loris Vergier (France), the fastest qualifier, managed to beat Jones by two seconds, but was still nearly six seconds behind Rude.
"I think the pedaling sections at the bottom of the course really worked for me," said Rude. "I just knew that when I got to the middle of the course I had to give it my all for the rest of the way."
Top finisher for Canada was Mckay Vezina in 7th. Mark Wallace finished 9th
We have an interview with Mckay Vezina posted Here.
Jolanda Neff, the defending Under-23 women's champion came into the cross-country as the overwhelming favourite, having spent most of the season racing successfully on the World Cup circuit against the Elite women. However, in the first two laps she had strong competition from Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, the French rider who has spent much of the season racing on the road. Neff finally dropped Ferrand-Prevot for good on the second lap, and then steadily extended her lead through the remaining three laps, recording the fastest splits for every lap. Yana Belomoyna (Ukraine) took the bronze medal.
"I didn't plan to go so hard at the Tree House [rock garden], but Pauline passed me just before, so I was angry and responded," explained Neff. "This is the first time that I have come to the world championships and not been sick in the month before, so had confidence, but since I haven't been racing these girls [in Under-23] all season, I was not sure what to expect."
We have an interview with Maghalie Rochette posted Here.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer took the lead of the Under-23 men's race by the first half lap and never relinquished it, despite rain moving in for the final two laps, making the rock sections slippery and treacherous. The rider expected to be his main competition, World Cup leader Markus Schulte-Luenzum of Germany, unfortunately suffered a flat on the second lap while with Kerschbaumer, and fell back to the high-20s after a slow wheel change, before making a tremendous chase back to finish tenth.
Schulte-Luenzum's misfortune opened the door to two other Italians to move into medal spot, twin brothers Luca and Daniele Braidot. Luca held onto second until crashing in the fifth lap and dropping out of the race, while Daniele faded as other riders moved to the fore. Julian Schelb (Germany), who was caught in a crash at the start, worked his way back from the high-20s to take silver, while Michiel van der Heijden (Netherlands) rode steadily up into third. Howard Grotts put in an impressive performance to record the top U.S. result in 12th place.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer wins
"When it started to rain, it was very difficult on the rock sections," commented Kerschbaumer. "But I knew that I had a big time advantage then, so I was very careful. It was not easy, but I managed to get through without crashing. This is my first [world title] since winning as a Junior in 2009, so it is very special for me to win again."
Antoine Caron was the top Canadian finisher in 23rd, one spot in front of Leandre Bouchard. We have an interview with Antoine Caron posted Here.
MTB World Championships August 28/13 - September 1/13, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
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