Posted by Editoress on 09/5/07
MTB World Championships Fort William, Scotland
Coverage sponsored by Maxxis
Today was the first full day of cross-country racing at the Mountain Bike World Championships, and riders were treated to traditional Scottish weather - drizzling rain and heavy mist all day. The conditions didn't have much impact on the racing, however, with riders praising the course and remarking on how difficult the climb was.
The Junior women were the first to race, and Ukrainian Alla Boyko took the title after a three lap race which saw multiple lead changes. French riders Julie Bresset and Claire Hassenfratz took control at the front of the race by the end of lap one, with Boyko, Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) and Jitka Skarnitzlova (Czech Republic) approximately 10 seconds behind.
A lap later, and Skarnitzlova had taken over the lead, with Boyko and Bresset chasing. The climb proved to be crucial, with Boyko moving into the lead and then holding on to win by 28 seconds over the Czech rider. Bresset faded on the final lap to finish 1:35 down on Boyko.
"I had hoped that I could win, but in the European Championships I was only tenth, so I wasn't so sure." said Boyko. "But after the start, on the climb, I knew I could win."
The Ukrainian also started well back in the field, after arriving at the line literally two minutes before the start when she had jersey problems.
"I didn't panic; I knew the course and that I would be okay. Because I arrived so late I guess there was not so much time to panic. The long climb was where I could pass and get to the front."
The top North American finisher was Canada's Andreanne Pichette, riding in her first world championships, and finishing 21st.
"I think it was a good race for me. I would have liked to do better, but it was my first time so I learned a lot and now know what I have to do to get better for the future. It is much faster than the races at home and there is no time to back off anywhere."
The obvious favourites for this race were the Chinese duo of Ren Chengyuan (the defending title holder) and Liu Ying, who finished 1-2 in that order last year in Rotorua, New Zealand. Ren, a World Cup winner and the leading U-23 rider on the World Cup circuit seemed likely to repeat, but it was team mate Liu who took the title after Ren faded in the second half of the race and then crashed on the last lap while chasing. Austria's Elisabeth Osl, a silver medalist as a Junior back in 2002, took a lock on third early in the race and held on for the bronze medal.
At the end of the first lap in the four lap race, Ren had a 10 second lead on Liu, with Osl, Eva Lechner (Italy), Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland), Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland) and Nina Homovec (Slovenia) together at 47 seconds.
"By the top of the climb I was always third," explained Osl "but by the bottom the group behind would catch me because I was more careful on the descent. I could tell I was the strongest in the group, so I was able to pull away on the final lap."
While the battle was going on for third behind them, the front pair were fighting out for the rainbow jersey. At the halfway point Ren was still in the lead, but couldn't drop her team mate. A lap later, and it was Liu slightly in front as the pair began the last lap, and by the finish the gap was an unexpected three and a half minutes.
"I crashed on the final lap" explained Ren "but that wasn't the reason that I lost. Today I just felt more tired than Liu. Yes, I am sad that I am not the champion again, but it was not my day today."
Liu said very little in the post-race press conference, except for expressing her confidence: "Yes, I expected to win today." However, the smiles which kept erupting on the face of a rider who is normally very reticent told a different story.
Canadian champion Emily Batty was the top North American in the race, finishing a career-high tenth. Batty rode consistently in 9th to 11th place to finish 11:27 down on Liu.
"I'm really pleased with my race. I finished 13th and 14th as a Junior (Under-19), and this race is longer and much faster. I pretty much held onto my position the whole race; I managed to get up to ninth for a little while but the other girl made surge and got back again."
- Tomorrow is the cross-country for the Junior Men, at four laps. There will be 89 riders at the start, but all the medal winners from last year have moved on to the U-23 ranks. Canada has two entries - Jeff Clarkson and Francis Morin. The race takes place at 9:30 am local time (4:30 am EDT/1:30 am PDT), and our coverage will begin at 5:00 am EDT.
|Junior Women : 25.64 kms (3 laps)|
|1. Alla Boyko (Ukraine)||1:25:14|
|2. Jitka Skarnitzlova (Czech Republic)||at 0:28|
|3. Julie Bresset (France)||1:35|
|4. Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland)||2:00|
|5. Claire Hassenfratz (France)||2:40|
|6. Vivianne Meyer (Switzerland)||2:50|
|7. Barbara Benko (Hungary)||3:31|
|8. Sanne Cant (Belgium)||3:47|
|9. Ines Thoma (Germany)||4:03|
|10. Camille Devi (France)||4:26|
|11. Katharina Haase (Germany)||4:41|
|12. Gesa Bruchmann (Germany)||5:36|
|13. Valentina Abril (Colombia)||6:38|
|14. Roselisa Palma (Italy)||6:48|
|15. Polona Batagelj (Slovenia)||8:16|
|16. Annie Last (Great Britain)||8:29|
|17. Marta Sulek (Poland)||9:43|
|18. Maaike Polspoel (Belgium)||11:47|
|19. Samara Sheppard (New Zealand)||11:56|
|20. Maria Babanova (Russian Federation)||13:22|
|21. Andreanne Pichette (Canada)||15:19|
|22. Annabel Simpson (Great Britain)||19:23|
|23. Stephanie White (United States Of America)||20:57|
|24. Melanie Palframan (South Africa)||21:58|
|25. Genee Steyn (South Africa)||22:27|
|26. Amy Cox (United States Of America)||28:21|
|U 23 Women: 34.2kms|
|1. Liu Ying (People's Republic Of China)||1:45:43|
|2. Chengyuan Ren (People's Republic Of China)||at 3:31|
|3. Elisabeth Osl (Austria)||5:20|
|4. Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic)||5:50|
|5. Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland)||6:17|
|6. Nina Homovec (Slovenia)||8:24|
|7. Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland)||10:04|
|8. Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia)||10:37|
|9. Hanna Klein (Germany)||10:42|
|10. Emily Batty (Canada)||11:27|
|11. Julie Krasniak (France)||12:45|
|12. Alexandra Engen (Sweden)||13:20|
|13. Caroline Mani (France)||13:40|
|14. Amy Hunt (Great Britain)||14:18|
|15. Eva Lechner (Italy)||15:33|
|16. Laura Metzler (France)||15:39|
|17. Nataliya Krompets (Ukraine)||16:12|
|18. Karolina Kozela (Poland)||17:24|
|19. Vera Andreeva (Russian Federation)||17:32|
|20. Agnes Naumann (Germany)||18:21|
|21. Liliya Zaytseva (Ukraine)||18:23|
|22. Francisca Campos Salas (Chile)||20:08|
|23. Bettina Schmid (Switzerland)||21:25|
|24. Caitlyn Tuel (United States Of America)||22:48|
|25. Chloe Forsman (United States Of America)||25:18|
|26. Judith Pollinger (Italy)||26:22|
|27. Semra Yetis (Turkey)||-1Lap|
|28. Carla Freysen (South Africa)||-2Laps|
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