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Canada’s Iles Takes Historic Win with Manson 2nd at Downhill Worlds as Atherton and Hart Win Elite Titles + PHOTOS

report by the UCI
Iles World Champ  ©  Michal Cerveny
September 11, 2016 (Val di Sole, Italy) – The 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships concluded on Sunday in Val di Sole, Italy, with the Downhill, where rainbow jerseys were awarded in the Junior and Elite categories. Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) capped a perfect season by successfully defending the Elite Women’s title, while Danny Hart (Great Britain) won the Men’s title. In the Junior categories, Finnley Iles (Canada) won the Men’s, with host Italy’s Alessia Missiaggia winning the Junior Women.

Junior Men's podium  ©  Fraser Britton

The Junior Men saw an incredible 1-2 finish for Canada, with World Cup champion Iles the only rider to go under three minutes and 50 seconds, at 3:47.405 for an amazing historic win for Canada. His compatriot Magnus Manson took the silver medal, 3.796 seconds back, followed by France’s Gaetan Vigier, at 4.610 seconds. Canada’s Henry Fitzgerald finished 29th while Adam Robbins was 55th

Iles  ©  Fraser Britton
Manson  ©  Michal Cerveny

“It’s just amazing. This whole week’s been hectic and to come down with a good time like that I’m just over the moon. Canada 1-2 is the best we could have hoped for this year,” commented Iles who won the World Cup overall title as well for another Canadian first. Manson’s phenomenal podium run was a career-best result as well for a historic finish for Canada at the DH Worlds. “It feels great to share the podium with Finn… it’s been a long time coming,” said Manson.

Brief interview with Iles and Manson

Manson wins silver  ©  Michal Cerveny
Manson and Iles celebrate  ©  Michal Cerveny

In the Junior women’s competition, Missiaggia was by far the fastest, finishing 11.946 seconds ahead of Samantha Kingshill (USA), with Flora Lesoin (France) in third, at 25.960 seconds.

Junior Women's podium  ©  Fraser Britton
Atherton is on an unprecedented winning streak, with 13 consecutive World Cup wins, including sweeping the 2016 series, and now her second straight world title, the fourth of her career. Atherton was the fastest at all points on the rough and dusty track, leading at both intermediate splits, and finishing with a time of four minutes and 20.187 seconds. Mio Suemasa (Japan), the second rider off, set the early fast time, which stood up until Myriam Nicole of France, who has had a strong comeback after early season injury, bumped her out of the Hot Seat.

Atherton  ©  Michal Cerveny

Manon Carpenter (Great Britain), starting second from last, crashed in the first turn, taking her out of podium contention. Nicole’s time held up until Atherton, the final rider, came down, 3.114 seconds faster. Tracey Hannah (Australia) repeated in third place – her fourth third place – at 9.453 seconds.

Miller  ©  Fraser Britton
“I cannot actually believe it,” said Atherton, “I was like, ‘I’m sure Tracey will win, she was just riding so good in the dry dust’. I thought throw it to the wind, I just didn’t care if I crashed, I’ve had such a good year. This track is wild, absolutely mad. You just can’t ride it, you just have to go. You can’t even ride it, you just fall, a controlled fall all the way down. It’s just so rad like. Racing is mad. You just switch on, there’s nothing else like it. I wish everyone could experience it.”

Canada’s Miranda Miller claimed 10th while fellow Canuck Georgia Astle finished 13th.

Astle  ©  Michal Cerveny

“Yes, for sure [it is the end to great season]. Winning all the World Cups? You could say it’s the perfect end to the perfect season. I’m absolutely knackered and I’m glad it’s the last race, but half of me is sad. As soon as the season is over, it’s in the history books, it’s done and you can never go back. I will probably never be as good as I am now, so I’m happy and going to try and enjoy the moment. Thanks everyone for your support it means so much,” concluded Atherton.

Elite Women's podium  ©  Fraser Britton

Former Junior world champion Laurie Greenland (Great Britain), riding with 20 riders to go, was the first to beat the seeding run time of Danny Hart (Great Britain), and continued to hold the lead as the top-ten began their runs, with Florent Payet (France) sitting in second. At five to go, Loic Bruni (France), the defending world champion, had a puncture part way down. Greg Minnaar (South Africa) had a strong start, moving into the third at the second split, but then faltered to finish seventh.

Hart  ©  Fraser Britton

Finally Hart, who came into the championships with three consecutive World Cup wins, started with three to go, and blazed into the lead, fastest on all points of the course, to take the lead by nearly three seconds. Troy Brosnan (Australia) slotted in fourth, and World Cup champion Aaron Gwin (USA), the final starter, flatted shortly after the start, allowing Hart to claim his second world title, followed by Greenland and Payet.

Three Canadians were on the start line as Mark Wallace put down a strong run finishing 11th while reigning Canadian DH champ Kirk McDowell placed 27th and Max Scharf was 50th.

Wallace  ©  Fraser Britton
Scharf  ©  Fraser Britton

“After the year I’ve had I could believe it [was possible to win],” said Hart. “I’ve been working hard and this has always been a big goal of mine, but I took the pressure off this week. I thought ‘well, I’ve won the last three World Cups, lets just ride the course and see what happens’…. and I took the win.”

Elite Men's podium  ©  Fraser Britton

“The last few months have been massive, because the last five years [since his world title in 2011] has just been just a pain. I’m thinking ‘What’s going on here? Why can’t I get back to it?’. And then it all came at once. Just getting back to where I was has been a hard mission. All those saying I’m a one hit wonder, well I’ve done it four times in a row and there’s not many done that.”


Atherton and Hart  ©  Michal Cerveny

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