Champions crowned: The Downhill Worlds

A look back at some of the best images from an incredible day of racing in Vallnord.
By Faye Brozek

The World Championships never disappoint, it's the one race of the year where riders risk everything for a chance to win the coveted title and the famous rainbow stripes.

After some precarious days of training, the weather in Andorra eventually decided to play fair, with brilliant blue skies for race day.

© Bartek Woliński/Red Bull Content Pool
The scenic setting for the MTB World Champs in Vallnord, Andorra
The scenic setting for the MTB World Champs © Bartek Woliński

However, the damage had already been done to the track, the forest section had failed to dry out and caused havoc for the majority of the field. Carnage ensued. Yet one man and one woman were able to tame the beast, walking away with the World Championship titles.

Scroll down for photos and results – not seen the racing yet? Watch the replay here first.

Men’s Downhill

Josh Bryceland– Bronze

The deceptively 'lazy' appearance of Josh Bryceland shouldn't be mistaken for slowness. The British rider put in a clean run from top to bottom and got faster as he came down. Yet his speed wasn't up to that of the then hot-seat leader Minnaar and his blindingly-fast run. 

Josh Bryceland flies into the packed finish area in Vallnord at the World Championship finals
Josh Bryceland flies into the packed finish area © Bartek Woliński

Gregg Minnaar – Silver

Greg Minnaar was the first person to be able to knock British rider Mike Jones off the hot seat that he'd held for over 30 minutes. The South African stormed across the line with a sizeable +4.228s lead. However with five riders to go the question was would he be able to hold onto the top spot?

Greg Minnaar riding his way to a silver medal in Vallnord at the World Championship finals
Greg Minnaar riding his way to a silver medal © Bartek Woliński

Loïc Bruni –  Gold

All year Loïc Bruni has been within touching distance of the top World Cup podium spot, but never been able to secure the win. That all changed today. Bruni stormed out of the gate, tearing down the track at incredible speed, taking new lines on the rutted course. Having knocked current hot-seat leader Greg Minnaar off the top spot by over two seconds, it was a tense watch for the Frenchman as the final two riders came down the hill.

Scroll through shots from his World Champ winning run.

Australian, Troy Brosnan looked like he would be up for challenging Loïc's run as he hit the second split, but then a crash in the mud put an end to his threat.

Troy Brosnan slid out in the slippery mud during his race run in Vallnord at the World Championship finals
Brosnan slid out in the slippery mud © Bartek Woliński

The final man on the mountain, Aaron Gwin also fell foul in the forests and crashed off the course. As the crowds erupted Loïc Bruni not only took his first international win, but he won himself a World Championship title and the honour of the rainbow stripes that will now be with him for the rest of his career.

Aaron Gwin crashed during his race run in Vallnord at the World Championship finals
Aaron Gwin crashed during his race run © Bartek Woliński

A win has been a long time coming for Loic, but what a place to take it. He walks away with the World Championships title and the rainbow stripes. Scroll through his celebration shots below.

Men’s results

Women’s Downhill

Tracey Hannah – Bronze

Australian Tracey Hannah looked at home in the slippery forest sections and crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of the current hot seat holder Morgane Charre with only three riders left to challenge her time. 

Tracey Hannah storms down the Vallnord DH track at the World Championship finals
Tracey Hannah secured bronze © Bartek Woliński

Manon Carpenter – Silver

Manon Carpenter took the rainbow stripes last year, but the Welsh lady wasn't able to retain her World Championship title. Her run was fast and she crossed the line with an astonishing seven-second lead ahead of the rest of the field. However, this margin would only secure her the silver medal. Rachel Atherton was still to go at the top of the hill.

Manon Carpenter races down the Vallnord DH Track at the MTB World Championship finals
Manon Carpenter wasn't able to hold onto her title © Bartek Woliński

Rachel Atherton – Gold

Rachel Atherton has dominated the World Cup series all season and her 19-second lead in timed training gave us an indication of what was to come for the finals. 

Rachel Atherton riding to victory in Vallnord during the World Championship finals
Rachel Atherton riding to victory in Vallnord © Bartek Woliński

Her run was smooth and deceptively fast and she crossed the line +3.238s up, taking the gold for GB.

Flick through as she celebrates the third World Championship win of her career.

Women’s results

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