What a magnificent weekend for British mountain biking. Three races, three British winners and a whole host of other great stuff went down in Saalfelden-Leogang, Austria for the UCI DH MTB World Cup Round 4 and the 4X World Championships.
4X World Championship – Leogang
The 4X World Championships is a one off competition organised by the UCI. There are equivalent events for the other MTB disciplines too, with the Downhill World Championships taking place in September 2014.
Riders compete by nationality rather than in commercial teams with the winner presented with the much-coveted rainbow striped jersey. The winner is then allowed to wear this jersey when competing in the same discipline for the next year, and can include the rainbow stripes motif in all their future kit.
Great Britain was one of the few countries to send a full team of 5 ladies to compete at this event including Katy Curd, Cara Murray, Heather Kay, Liz Fowler and Claire Curtis. All eyes were on Curd; she dominated the 2013 4X Pro Tour but found a win at the World Championships elusive, with victory snatched from her grasp last year by Australian rider Caroline Buchanan. Curd’s main competition for the 2014 World Championships came from Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) and Steffi Marth (Germany), with Buchanan not competing this year.
Curd qualified 3rd despite a puncture, and lined up alongside Beerten, Marth and Helene Fruhwirth of Austria for the Big Final. The racing was rapid and intense, with Curd snatching the lead from Beerten at the final corner to take the World Champion title. Beerten placed 2nd, and Marth in 3rd. It will be very hard to wipe the grin from Katy’s face this year, a well-deserved win!
Katy Curd (Great Britain)
Anneke Beerten (Netherlands)
Steffi Marth (Germany)
Helene Valerie Fruhwirth (Austria)
Lucia OETJEN (Switzerland)
Dana Elena Schweika (Germany)
Julia Lackas (Germany)
Tanja Hendysiak (Germany)
Find out more about 4X MTB Racing and how to get involved.
MTB DH World Cup – Round 4, Leogang
The season has been exciting and unpredictable so far this year, with a different winner for each round. This has kept the chase for the overall title wide open.
The track at Leogang holds lots of wide bike park style sections and jumps interspersed with old school, technical rooty wooded segments. There were mixed feelings from the competitors towards the course, but with dry conditions the short track meant all riders had to go hard and fast to get those crucial milliseconds.
Manon Carpenter, who took her first win at Round 1 in Pietermaritzburg, qualified fastest which boded well for the final.
American Jill Kitner was in the hot seat until British rider Tahnee Seagrave came down, and put another 4 seconds on top of Kintners time. This guaranteed the young rider a place on the podium, her first since moving up from Juniors to Elites.
It was musical chairs on the hot seat as each subsequent rider topped the time of the one before. Myriam Nicole came down next, beating Seagraves time, and she herself was knocked from the podium by Rachel Atherton.
Atherton, the current World Champion, has been suffering from a viral infection since South Africa, and although she was a whopping 4 seconds up at the first split this reduced to just 1 second by split 2 – still enough to put her in the hot seat, and impressive considering she isn’t on top form.
Emmeline Ragot who took the win at Round 3 in Fort William, Scotland, last weekend didn’t quite manage to get the run she was after and came in 1.6 seconds back from Atherton. Manon Carpenter was last down the hill, and she looked visibly quicker and smoother than the other women.
She grew her advantage as she rode the course from 1.7 seconds up by the second split to an amazing 2.6 seconds. The 21-year-old Welsh woman went flying into first place, and took her second World Cup win of the year.
So that makes three British women on the podium! It’s worth giving the men a mention too because there was a further victory here for Brit Josh Bryceland, who took his first World Cup win in a field of exceptionally strong riders.
— Manon Carpenter (@ManonCarpenter) June 16, 2014
Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen ) 3:42:517
Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) +2.699
Myriam Nicole (Commencal) +4.208
Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) +4.310
Tahnee Seagrave (FMD Racing) +7.936
See the full results at the UCI Results Page.
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