Bike

The moments that mattered at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

The world champions from the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships have been crowned. Find out who won and get the best of the action from Les Gets in France right here.
Written by Rajiv Desai
9 min readPublished on
Men's XCO athlete race at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.
© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto
The downhillers and cross-country riders had a brief respite from the pressures of World Cup racing with the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships this weekend. The one-off race is a huge deal. Win this race, and you go down in the history books, while also picking up some pretty nice benefits along the way.
When you become world champion, you get awarded the coveted rainbow stripes jersey, which you get to wear for the next year. You also get a nice gold medal. Second- and third-placed riders in a race don't go home empty-handed either, with silver and bronze medals given out.

6 min

Why are the World Champs different?

Eliot Jackson is back on track in Val di Sole to explain the ins and outs of the UCI MTB World Championships.

English

The World Championships have races for Juniors and Elite for downhill (DH). Cross-country (XCO) has races for Juniors, U23 and Elite, while for the Short Track (XCC) the World Championship is an Elite race only. Scroll down to find out what happened at some of these races from Les Gets and catch replays of the races by clicking the relevant event page links below (geo-restrictions apply)
01

SuperBruni decimated the field in the men's downhill

Loïc Bruni became the men's downhill world champion for the fifth time in front of an ecstatic home crowd that took celebrating a French victory to a new level. Bruni, starting fourth from last, took over the lead of the race from Australian Troy Brosnan with an electrifying run that was right on the limit. So committed was he that he nearly came off his bike on the second corner after he left the start gate. The Frenchman was more relaxed on the rest of the run and came in nearly 4s faster than Brosnan.
Loïc Bruni racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

When he needs to Bruni can put together something quite special in a run

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Bruni then had to wait on the hotseat for three more French riders to go down. These men were Benoît Coulanges, Loris Vergier and, last man down, Amaury Pierron. Vergier and Pierron couldn't quite match Bruni's pace, but they did slide into the medal positions with both of them beating Brosnan's time. Vergier finished third, taking the bronze, while Pierron slotted into silver after going nearly a second faster than Vergier. Pierron was, however, 2.5s back on Bruni's winning time. The scenes at the end of the race were truly epic with the French fans descending on the finish area and Bruni having to be protected by the French police from fans eager to get close to their hero.
Amaury Pierron racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Pierron for once didn't have an answer to a Bruni run

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Loris Vergier racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Vergier put in his best race performance of the season

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Bruni's season to date had been hugely frustrating. Shoulder injuries, including soreness from a dislocated shoulder just three weeks ago, have left him with very little time to find any rhythm on his bike and his form hasn't been there. However, Bruni, like Pierron, is known for putting in one-off runs that can be simply mercurial in nature. And this run was very special. It was also the first time Bruni had ever won a UCI race in France. What a time to do it!

MTB World Championships – Men's Elite Downhill

Rank

Person

Country

TIme

1

France

3m 20.478s

2

Amaury Pierron

France

3m 23.049s

3

Loris Vergier

France

3m 23.864s

02

Redemption at a senior Worlds for Vali Höll

Vali Höll's relationships with the Worlds as an Elite racer hadn't been the best until this moment. In Höll's first appearance in Leogang in 2020 she broke her ankle in practice, while last year in Val di Sole she finished a disappointing 12th. Those experiences are now well and truly wiped from her memory after she took the women's downhill World Championship title.
Vali Höll celebrates her Worlds win at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Höll celebrates the win with family and friends

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

As the dust settled on a dramatic women's final, Höll admitted that she wasn't quite sure how she won this Les Gets World Championship but sometimes it's best not to question the ifs, why and buts. Germany's Nina Hoffmann had been sitting in the hotseat with a time that looked hard to beat on a blown-out dusty track, but Höll managed to be inside Hoffmann's time by 0.906s to take the title. Hoffmann had been superfast at the bottom section of the course as it left the woods, and it was here where Höll was losing time to the German, having been up by over 4s on Hoffman's time at the third intermediate split further up the course.
Vali Höll racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Höll relaxed into her run

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Nina Hoffmann racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

A mistake where her foot came off the pedals in her run lost Hoffmann time

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Hoffmann took the silver medal, while home hope Myriam Nicole took the bronze. Nicole was naturally disappointed that she hadn't won after her plan to play safe on her run didn't quite yield the fast time she was looking for.
Women's DH podium at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

That gold medal sure tastes sweet

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

MTB World Championships – Women's Elite Downhill

Rank

Person

Country

Time

1

Austria

3m 53.857s

2

Nina Hoffmann

Germany

3m 54.763s

3

France

3m 57.304s

03

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot comes away from these Worlds with a very golden glow

This World Championships week proved to be perfect in every way for Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. The Frenchwoman took both the World Championship XCO and XCC titles, winning both in dominant style. With the win in the XCO, Ferrand-Prévot has now become a four-time XCO World Champion. She shares that accomplishment with the great Norwegian Gunn-Rita-Dahle.
Ferrand-Prévot, who was riding a hardtail mountain bike, took control of the race from the first lap, going full gas on the first climb on the course and building a gap straight away. From there she never looked back, steadily building more and more time into an ever evolving chasing group. In the end, she crossed the line 1m 38s ahead of silver medalist Jolanda Neff. Ferrand-Prévot admitted at the end of the race, that it was her game plan to go hard from the start to break the race up as soon as possible.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot racing at the 2022 XCO MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Ferrand-Prévot ploughed a lonely furrow for much of the race

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot seen at the women's podium ceremony for the 2022 XCO MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

She showed appreciation to the her home crowd at the podium ceremony

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Neff had a race of many parts. She started well but then fell away before coming up to and passing the chasing group that had been Switzerland's Alessandra Keller and Haley Batten of the USA. Batten would eventually finish third.

MTB World Championships – Women's Elite XCO

Rank

Person

Country

Time

1

France

1h 22m 08s

2

Jolanda Neff

Switzerland

1h 23m 43s

3

Haley Batten

USA

1h 24m 21s

04

The gold trail for Ferrand-Prévot started with the XCC

Short Track (XCC) made its debut as a World Championship event last year in Val di Sole with Sina Frei and Christopher Blevins being crowned the first World Champions. The format is popular with spectators and the crowds here in Les Gets turned out in their thousands to cheer on home hope Ferrand-Prévot. She didn't disappoint them.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot racing XCC at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Ferrand-Prévot went full gas once she got a buildable gap

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

In a dominant display, Ferrand-Prévot gapped the field on lap 7 of a 9 lap race and won comfortably. With this win, Ferrand-Prévot has now become a senior World Champion in four different UCI cycling disciplines: XCC, XCO, cyclo-cross and road cycling.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot as seen at the end of the XCC race at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

A contented Ferrand-Prévot after the race

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Swiss athlete Alessandra Keller recovered from a tumble earlier in the race to finish second and take the silver medal. America's Gwendolyn Gibson backed up her recent good form in World Cup races in North America by finishing third to claim the bronze.

MTB World Championship – Women's Elite XCC

Rank

Person

Country

Time

2

Alessandra Keller

Switzerland

22m 14s

3

Gwendalyn Gibson

USA

22m 17s

05

Nino Schurter is now a 10-time XCO World Champion

The men's XCO race was billed as Nino Schurter versus Britain's Tom Pidicock, and for a while the race was very much living up to that promise. Pidcock would not be in the shake-up for the gold medal in the end, but for Schurter there was glory. The Swiss legend attacked a leading group that contained himself, Pidcock, Luca Braidot and David Valero-Serrano on lap 6 of 7 with only Valero-Serrano able to go with him. On the final lap, Schurter managed to gap the Spaniard in the final descent on the course, and he rolled in to take the victory. Pidcock went into the pits later on in lap 6 for a rear tyre change and was unable to catch up with Braidot again, and the Italian held on for third place.

MTB World Championships – Men's Elite XCO

Rank

Person

Country

Time

1

Nino Schurter

Switzerland

1h 21m 13s

2

David Valero-Serrano

Spain

1h 21m 22s

3

Luca Braidot

Italy

1h 21m 42s

06

Sam Gaze keeps calm to become the men's XCC World Champion

The last few World Cup seasons have been one of frustration for New Zealander Sam Gaze but he more than made up for it in the men's XCC race by collecting a gold medal and becoming the World Champion. Gaze battled for the win with last year's XCC World Champion Christopher Blevins on the final and 10th lap. Both can put in explosive bursts of power, and they did so here, freeing themselves from Swiss chasers Filippo Colombo and Thomas Litscher on that final lap.
Sam Gaze and Christopher Blevins lead the men's XCC race at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Gaze and Blevins put down the power

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

With the final turn to the finishing straight awaiting them both, Blevins made a move to try and get in front of Gaze through a maze of rocks in the last rock garden, but with space limited the American headed straight into a rock. Gaze calmly passed through and rolled across the line to take the win without any more drama.
Colombo and Litscher took the silver and bronze medals, finishing second and third respectively. Some well-known athletes elected to miss the XCC race, including Nino Schurter, Tom Pidcock and Vlad Dascălu.
Sam Gaze crosses the finish line first at the UCI MTB XCC World Champs in Les Gets, 2022.

Gaze's moment to saviour

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

MTB World Championship – Men's Elite XCC

Rank

Person

Country

Time

1

Sam Gaze

New Zealand

22m 21s

2

Filippo Colombo

Switzerland

22m 24s

3

Thomas Litscher

Switzerland

22m 28s

07

Junior success for Gracey Hemstreet

The Canadian due of Jackson Goldstone and Gracey Hemstreet were among the favourites to become World Champions in the respective men's and women's Junior categories. The two future talents had contrasting races. Hemstreet recorded the second best time in the women's race to take home a silver medal. Goldstone crashed on his run, ultimately finishing 14th and out of the medals.
Gracey Hemstreet racing at the 2022 DH MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Hemstreet has a big future ahead of her

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

The men's win went to Britain's Jordan Williams, who's been Goldstone's main challenger at the World Cup races this season. Goldstone shouldn't be too disappointed, he is after all the Junior World Cup Champion this season, having wrapped up the overall title in Mont-Sainte-Anne earlier in August. The women's win went to Jenna Hastings of New Zealand.
Jackson Goldstone as seen at the end of the men's  2022 DH Junior MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Goldstone cut a frustrated figure once he finished his run

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

MTB World Championships – Junior Downhill

Rank

Person

Country

Time

1

Jenna Hastings

New Zealand

4m 18.541s

2

Gracey Hemstreet

Canada

4m 20.411s

3

Valentina Roa Sanchez

Columbia

4m 34.485s

08

We had the usual World's fashion parade

The World Championships have routinely become the place where imagination and creative juices let fly, and we see colourful changes in the kit that the athletes wear and custom paintjobs of the bikes they ride. It's more of a downhill thing to do, but athletes in the cross-country category do sometimes get involved with new bike frame decal from their team's bike sponsor.
Brook Macdonald and his MTB as seen at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Mondraker go bold with neon colours this World Champs

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Downhill athletes have to wear national kit during qualification and finals, but they can wear whatever they want when they take to practice. Some go for a play on national colours, while others just use Worlds as an excuse to come out with some outlandish kit designs
Laurie Greenland and his MTB as seen at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Laurie Greenland's kit and bike is a tribute to his mum

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Laurie Greenland with his new helmet as seen at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

His mother’s maiden name (MacQueen) features on his helmet

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Being French, Loïc Bruni wanted to make a statement at this race with his race bike and his helmet
Vali Höll's bike is a deep red to match the red of the Austrian flag, while Jackson Goldstone's bike includes a mark of respect for countryman Stevie Smith
Vali Höll's MTB as seen at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Striking lava red for Höll's Trek Session

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Jackson Goldstone's MTB as seen at the 2022 MTB World Championships in Les Gets, France.

Jackson Goldstone's Stevie Smith tribute on his Santa Cruz V10

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Check out the best of the rest in the gallery below: