Who won what at the Mountain Bike World Championships
© Bartek Wolinski
Watch video replays, see the best photos and find out the results when the athletes took on the treacherous track at the MTB Worlds in Leogang, Austria.
Replay all the racing from the 2020 World Championships:
Downhill World Championships
Deep ruts, treacherous conditions and carnage faced the downhill riders, as heavy rain overnight turned the Leogang track into a steep, sloppy and very slippery mess.
The tough conditions set things up for a memorable World Championships, as just getting to the bottom of the hill upright was the challenge of the day. One of the toughest World Championships to date, so many of the world's best fell during the day.
Watch the winning runs from the 2020 MTB World Championships in the player below. Don't want to know who won just yet? Read on for the full rundown first:
DH winning runs – Leogang
Fastest qualifier and Austrian local Vali Höll had a hard crash on the big road gap jump during the morning's practice and damaged her ankle, putting her out of the Women's final.
Writing on her social media after she said: "Had a crash this morning and I tore two ligaments and have a fracture in my ankle. My first 'big' injury ever, but I'm already fired for next year, I felt really confident over the last two weeks."
The woods section, or shall we call it 'rodeo' section, is where the race was won and lost. Deep ruts sucked any speed straight out of riders' wheels and, in some instances, jammed them to an instant halt, throwing the riders over the bars.
Eleonora Farina felt the full force of the mud, as her front wheel got so caked that she couldn't physically get it to spin around. The frustrated Italian could be heard cursing the mud, as she tried in vain to free the wheels from the gloop.
Defending world champion Myriam Nicole's tactic to retain her crown was to go all out. Aggressive from the start, the French rider held good momentum at the top, sailing over the big jumps. Carrying speed into the woods section, though, even 'Pompon' fell foul to the deep ruts, which sapped her speed and sent her sailing over the bars into the mud. Regaining her composure, she quickly continued down the track, putting in a run that would place her in the hot seat with the fastest time to date.
Tahnée Seagrave looked to be a challenger to Nicole's time and was lighting-up the splits green at the top of the track. The Brit's run came apart in the woods, though, with her front wheel washing away on the roots. Not losing much time, she was back on her bike again and navigating the slippery conditions really well until another crash saw her slide down the muddy slope away from her bike, struggling to climb back up the steep hill to reach it and carry on. This crash lost her all the time she'd previously gained and she ended up finishing down in 11th position, but it was a great first ride back for the British rider, who's battled to recover from two major injuries in the past two years.
Compared to some of the other riders on the track, Switzerland's Camille Balanche is a relative newcomer to downhill, with her athletic background rooted in hockey. Incredibly, after just three years of downhill racing, she managed to secure the first female downhill World Championships title for Switzerland.
Using completely different tactics to Nicole's flat-out attack, Balanche played a careful balancing game and was the first – and only – woman to make it through the woods section without crashing. Maintaining her composure and momentum, she crossed the line over three-seconds faster than Nicole, dethroning the 2019 champion and claiming the coveted rainbow stripes jersey, as Nicole walked away with the silver medal.
"The main goal was to make it to the bottom without crashing. I decided to take the safe line and not rush it, and it paid off. It's going to take some time for me to realise what just happened," said the delighted new world champ, as he achievement sunk in.
Monika Hrastnik struggled through the slick woods, keeping her legs out for balance and at some points running to get her wheels rolling again, but she managed to keep the pace high enough to secure the bronze medal, which will be a big boost for the Slovenian, as the World Cup season heads to her home race in Maribor next weekend.
|Gold||Camille Balanche (CHE)||5m 8.426s|
|Silver||Myriam Nicole (FRA)||5m 11.566s|
|Bronze||Monika Hrastnik (SLO)||5m 25.392s|
Like in the Women’s finals, the boggy woods section was where the Elite Men's contest would be won or loss. Germany's Johannes Fischbach was the best of the early starters on the treacherous course and was in the hot seat for quite a while, before his time was beaten by Australia's Jack Moir.
Anyone who attacked the wooded area and managed to stay on their bike would be rewarded with a good time. Great Britain's Reece Wilson epitomised that approach. He was fast going into the woods and then smooth through it. Wilson picked out the fastest line in there while managing to keep his feet on the pedals and his momentum through the section meant he carried great speed into the bottom half of the course, crossing the finish line over seven-seconds faster than Moir and into first place.
There were still 31 riders to go after Wilson, but the British rider had set quite the benchmark. His countryman, Bernard Kerr, was the next racer to put in a notable performance, slotting into second behind Wilson, who watched on from the finish area as successive riders crashed or ran off course. Aaron Gwin was one who wasn't enjoying the conditions and the American would eventually finish 26th. Two riders who'd been faster than Wilson's splits before the woods were France's Thibault Daprela and Slovenian rider Jure Žabjek, but the woods bit back and they both went down while on good runs.
The next racer to make an impact on the leaderboard was Rémi Thirion. Like his French colleague Daprela, Thirion's approach in the woods was to go all out and take risks. It was very much a rodeo ride from him at times, but somehow Thirion stayed on his bike. A slow top section however meant that he was six seconds slower than Wilson's time at the finish line. That time meant he was now in second place, though.
Thirion would go from second to third after Austria’s David Trummer put together a dream run on the home turf of Leogang. A fast top section coupled with a clean ride through the wood saw him power into second behind Wilson.
The last 10 riders on course was full of talent. Surely the likes of Loris Vergier, Greg Minnaar, Danny Hart, Troy Brosnan or Loïc Bruni could better Wilson's time. Top qualifier Vergier was the fastest of everyone at the first split on the course, but, like most, he came unstuck in the woods. Minnaar crashed heavily early in his run, which effectively ended his challenge, while Danny Hart didn't carry good speed on his ride and Brosnan was fast and smooth before hitting a tree as he entered the woods. That mistake killed his chances.
So, to the last man down: Bruni. If anyone could pull out a seemingly impossible ride, it was the defending three-time world champ. It wasn't to be this time, though, as he got bogged down in the woods and lost considerable time trying to get going.
At that moment, Wilson realised he was the 2020 world champion and his emotions began to flow. Commenting on his remarkable win, Wilson said: "I can’t believe it. I've worked really hard and here we are."
|Gold||Reece Wilson (GBR)||3m 51.243s|
|Silver||David Trummer (AUT)||3m 54.440s|
|Bronze||Rémi Thirion (FRA)||3m 57.196s|
Cross-country World Championships
Severely steep climbs, root-laden technical descents and a course rutted and sticky with mud made the new Leogang cross-country (XCO) World Champs course one of the most difficult tracks we’ve seen in years. The newly-cut track was built specifically for this event and featured two main steep climbs and a very technical descent, which looked more like a downhill course than an XCO one! With a tough course and even tougher track conditions, it was set to be a spectacular race for the rainbow jersey.
Take a look at the track with Emily Batty:
Leogang XCO course preview with Emily Batty
Defending World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot established her position at the front of the race early on, opening up a fair gap during the start loop.
Britain’s Evie Richards had a good start and after her two short track wins in Nové Město eyes were on the young Brit to see what she’d deliver. However, this track is very different to the Czech one and, despite holding a strong position initially, Richards soon dropped back as Ferrand-Prévot’s pace split apart the competition.
Australia’s Rebecca McConnell was the closest to front-runner Ferrand-Prévot, but she wasn’t able to match the pace of the leader – seeing Ferrand-Prévot open up a lead of 56 seconds after the first lap alone.
The experienced Frenchwoman has a number of World Championships under her belt, spanning a variety of different disciplines, and it was clear she was using all her skills and expertise to navigate this race.
Ferrand-Prévot’s lead grew as the race progressed and she crossed the finish line nearly three minutes ahead of anyone else to retain her title and secure her third XCO World Championship win.