If you ever needed a demonstration of just how strong the UK Women's MTB field is, then the racing at the 2014 MTB World Championships in Hafjell, Norway, was the place to see it. The skills, technical prowess and athleticism of the women representing the UK was phenomenal, and they've got the medals to prove it.
Great Britain fielded a team of 25 riders, including 9 women, across Downhill and Cross Country categories. Women were represented in nearly all categories and levels in each discipline, with one notable absence; this year, no women were fielded in the Junior Downhill category.
The weather was dry and warm, the courses technical, the racing fast and the crashes many. Not only were the races broadcast live via Red Bull TV, but they are also available to watch again, so if you haven't seen them, grab a cuppa and settle down for some incredible action.
If you follow the World Cup, you'll notice that the UCI rankings are slightly different the World Cup rankings, as they UCI takes into account points won in other races like National or European race series.
You can find out more about the women competing with our Introduction to the 2014 MTB World Championship Team.
2014 Cross Country World Championships
Team GB fielded 6 riders in the XC Category, spread across the Elite, Under 23 and Junior titles. The course at Hafjell is punishing, and one of the most technical seen this year.
The course featured steep switchback climbs almost directly up a piste, followed by rooty rocky descents worthy of a downhill track, and indeed the XC course runs right next to the DH course in parts.
Boding well for the future, Evie Richards and Isla Short both placed in the top 10 in the Junior XC World Championships. Teammate Ffion James placed 13th, in a very strong field of riders. With results like these, it seems the future is looking bright for the next generation of Team GB cyclists.
In the Under 23 race, Alice Barnes rode hard to take another top-10 spot, placing 7th ahead of French rider Pauline Ferrand Prevot. Teammate Beth Crumpton placed 17th, a good result as she prepares for the upcoming Olympics, as both Beth and Alice are part of the British Cycling Olympic Training Academy.
Annie Last, who has only just returned to racing after over a year and a half out of the sport due to a back injury, was also on excellent form. Cross country is a huge sport with a lot of development support on the continent, and Annie had a very tough field to compete with. She just lost out on a top ten position, placing 12th overall, but again it's a great result in one of her first few races back.
2014 Downhill World Championships
It was always going to be an amazing race. As the last big event of the year, where it's all about medals and not points, riders tend to go flat out and this year was no different. The course can only be described as gnarly - huge rocks gardens, narrow and super-rutted root strewn sections through trees, and fast open off-camber turns.
With French contender Emmeline Ragot out of the race with a broken hand acquired in practice, all eyes were on Rachel Atherton, the defending champion, and Manon Carpenter, the newly crowned World Cup Champion.
The racing was down the wire. Both Manon and Rachel put in amazing runs, with very little to spot between them. In the end, Manon had the edge and rode to victory, taking the rainbow stripes and giving her what's known as 'The Double', World Champion and World Cup Champion in the same year. The podium was rounded off with fellow Brit Tahnee Seagrave. Racing her first year as an elite, the former Junior World Champion has shown that she can more than hold her own with the Elite Women.
Missed the action? Watch again on Red Bull TV.
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