After three days of meetings, parties and new product at Eurobike we hit the autobahn in the Burgtec mobile and headed to our next stop, Leogang, Austria for the 2012 UCI World Championships. Arriving on Friday afternoon we were greeted with torrential rain, filthy media bods scattered across the soaking pits and rather content riders having too much fun on their bikes. Saturday morning revealed a change in the weather, which continued into Sunday for finals where things got real hot, real quick.
With the junior girls on the mountain by mid morning and the elite men by mid afternoon, it was going to be a long day of bicycle racing, schnitzel consumption and sun screen. You should all know the results by now and hopefully your thirst for visual goodness is still there as we’ve got a few articles coming your way over the next few days starting with this one…
Stunning, absolutely stunning – Austria is hands down one of the most beautiful and well kept places in Europe and when the clouds lifted on Sunday, they revealed breathtaking scenery that was in a league of its own.
The next Troy Brosnan? Connor Fearnon has been smashing it domestically for a few seasons now and with a season of international racing behind him, the speed met the experience and the young Aussie took third on the day. Check the new Fox lid, how nice???
Richie Rude is a machine! The big lad’s presence on a bike is frightening and when he puts that perfect run from top to bottom together like we all know he can, shit the bed he will smash it big time. Red Flagged on his run and up by a mile at the split, Ritchie had to go back to the top and hit it again. What could have been? Yeti know a thing or too about talent spotting now don’t they – silver medal for the big American.
The next CG? I have no doubt in my mind that Loic Bruni will put French DH well and truly back on the map. Cool kid, popular with the media and senior riders and with style for miles and the mad speed to boot, this won’t be his last podium or indeed his last rainbow stripes jersey – natural talent and a gold medal, your 2012 Junior Mens World Champion!
This was mental. Totally unannounced and during the women’s finals – half the spectators sat by the 4X/ Slope track shit themselves as a Red Bull plane buzzed the crowd to then soar back to the sky while performing all manor of aerial tricks and wild maneuvers along the way. Only in Austria!
Manon Carpenter silenced any doubts (if there were any) that she is going to be the next big thing in women’s DH. First year in seniors and a medal to add to the collection. Bronze this time, but it won’t take long – bulletproof talent!
Easily the favourite for the title, Emmeline Ragot had to settle for silver this time, but this won’t be her last worlds podium that’s for sure.
With only one World Cup podium in her career, privateer Morgane Charre smashed it and claimed the top step of the podium and also became the first female athlete to do so on flat pedals! Get this girl on a proper team and lets see what happens… 2012 UCI Downhill Champion and the proof that you can’t always be sure who’ll get the job done on the day.
Elite Men – Ben Reid, style for miles!
Mitch Delfs and some random German hitting the big booters on Saturday.
Matt Simmonds has been having one of his best seasons to date and with all the hard work this Shropshire lad has been putting in, it’s starting to pay off. Making team GB is no small feat in itself…
Bryn’s reception into the arena was mental – I guess the Aussie has a big following in Austria? 13th spot and a solid result by anyone’s reckoning, but we all know he’s got more in the tank. Roll on 2013!
Words fail to come together when describing this chap, but one word is always favoured above all the others; legend. Check the knee pads…
NEKO!!! Gotta love this guy. After a rough season Neko made the cut and did the USA proud – 27th is a good result, but no where near what he’s capable of – oozing in natural ability and under Gwin’s guidance, Neko Mulally will be smashing podiums before you know it. Loving the patriotic Oakley Crowbars!
Solid result for the giant Kiwi with a 16th spot on the results table and still with a lot to show, Cam Cole will be hungry to finish the season off with a bang in Norway. Check the hub!
I don’t think Leogang was gnarly enough for Slugger who seems to thrive when things get wild and steep. 14th spot is bang on and looking forward to seeing where he’ll be next season and on what bike…
On it! Sam Dale made team GB and swapped life in the van for a comfy hotel for the week end. Someone sign this lad onto a proper team!
Wish we’d had a pic of Stevie in the custom Canada themed Fox Push kit that he was wearing on Saturday morning. Fox’s Mike Redding got the custom department to make Stevie, Josh and Needles some one off worlds kit – pissed we didn’t get the shots for you so sorry about that one. Oh well, he still looked the biz and one of the boys to beat come Sunday afternoon.
Das ist gut ja? Austria is pretty rad by all accounts.
Sam Dale smashing it across the line and keeping the hot seat warm for quite some time – second fastest Brit of the day too. 12th place is bang on and we ain’t seen nothing yet. Podium in 2013? I reckon so…
Sheffield Steel at full compression! Check the bike out – everything from the custom Burgtec stem to match the patriotic V10, not to mention the stunning lid from TLD and the most bitchin kit we’ve ever seen from Royal. If this was your 20th World Champs, you’d shout about it too!
A crash further up the track hampered Peaty’s chance of a top result in Leogang, but this is worlds and it’s all or nothing. Check the first pic with the saddle leaving his bike – carnage!
No retirement speech, just a guy stoked on racing bicycles
Custom Union Jack 100% goggles for Matt Simmonds, but 24th on the day is not where he would’ve wanted to be. Norway will be interesting with a few of the fast boys looking for a result they know they can get, to round the season off.
The crowds were out in force on Sunday, but who cares with a back drop like that!
Sik Mick getting rad. Fastest time in practice and just off the podium in finals – legend!!!
There was a lot of talk in the pits about this young man. Stevie Smith is gonna win one of these things really soon, it’s just when and where? Third place this time, but there’s plenty of time for the young Canadian… It also needs to be said, hands down nicest looking bike on the mountain! Article coming on that one…
All or nothing! Josh was in the running for a podium, but slipped on a corner quite far up the course and dashed any chances of a medal. Next time…
Braap! Sam Hill was flying all week end and with talk of a reinvigorated Sam hungry for titles, all eyes were on the Specialized factory star to smash the clock. 5th place this time and on a track that was pretty much one line with plenty of pedaling – had this been on a steeper track with more lines? No point procrastinating as that’s racing… Check the Troy Lee Designs paint job on his D3 – nicest looking lid on the mountain all week end? Yup!!!
Another favourite for the title this year – Brook Macdonald taking 8th spot. To say we haven’t seen half of what Brook can do on a downhill bike and against the clock, is an understatement. Flat pedal thunder!!!
You could just tell Gee was hungry for the win here and with a track that suited the prepared and physically more astute rider, there were quite a few bets on for another rainbow jersey for the GT Factory rider. Next time…
With Gwin’s mechanical, Minnaar took the race and the jersey. Although a little bit of an anti-climax from a spectators standpoint, Greg is probably the best there is and if anyone can and will step it up to a race like this and win, well, Greg’s that guy. Cool, calm and at the end of the day, he got the job done. 2012 UCI Downhill World Champion – the legend that is Greg Minnaar.
Who wants dirt on the lens? Minnaar’s last tear off as just ‘another’ elite rider as come Norway, he’ll be wearing the most coveted jersey in cycling.