2017 UCI MTB world championships- medal opportunities slipped thru our fingers
With the UCI world championship the 2017 race season is in the books. After the world cup season finals in Val di Sole/ Italy we traveled all the way to Cairns/ Australia on the other site of the globe to attend every seasons highlight: the mountain bike world championships.
World championships differ a little bit to the world cup as this special event is a race with a national federation background, which means that the riders have the support thru the factory teams, but race for their Nation. Furthermore you are not racing for points, a good standing or a place on the podium- you race for one goal and one goal only, which is the rainbow jersey. In the cycling world this jersey is the highest award and it is the aim of every athlete to win the jersey at least once.
2016 was our year and MS Mondraker’s Danny Hart won the world champion title and the jersey just ahead of team member Laurie Greenland. For sure this got us in the extended circle of favorites, but the statistics of the races here in Cairns told us something different- a 21st place and an 11th place of Danny in 2014 and 2016 and a 15th place of Laurie in 2016 show that they would have to pull a fabulous run out of their sleeves to be on the top box of the podium. For Markus Pekoll it was the last appearance on top international level and with a 15th place of 2014 in his pocket, there was a small chance for another top 10 result at the end of his career.
The first training started horrible for the MS Mondraker team- both Laurie Greenland and Markus Pekoll crashed hard in the unique conditions of the very fast track in Cairns. While Laurie suffered some bigger abrasions, Markus crashed on his head, broke his helmet and had to skip a full on timed training run to recover for the race. Danny came thru the training session without bigger crashes and was able to work out a good setup for race day.
Instead of a qualification run at worlds riders just do a timed trainings run and while some riders show some others hide, which made the results a kind of irrelevant. Nevertheless the circle of favorites was clear and even we did not have those great results on this track in our bags, both Danny and Laurie had the potential to redo what they did in 2016.
With the unlucky number 13 Markus Pekoll was the first to come down. Affected by the crash a few days before, Markus showed a good run, but with the thought of the last race in his mind, he did not risk his neck in his very last race- Markus finished in 51st position.
Laurie Greenland was next to come and the first split time wasn’t too promising and indicated a crash scenario in the top section. This assumption proved true in the finish arena- Laurie slid out just after the last turn in the top part, which buried his ambitions to be on the podium again- Laurie finished in 21st place.
Last of the MS Mondraker Team to come down was again Danny Hart. He was second last rider to come down and later world champion Loic Bruni as well as local hero Mick Hannah, who already set times, which we know they will be hard to beat. Under the pressure to defend his title, Danny tried the almost impossible to defend his titles, but missed the chance to beat some of the strongest pedallers on the circuit- Danny got 16th.
1. Loic Bruni
2. Mick Hannah
3. Aaron Gwin
Below the line we are looking back to a season, which was not as successful as we have been in 2016. For sure we came to the world championships in Cairns to win the rainbow jersey or at least a medal, but this is racing- sometimes you win and sometimes we lose. Before 2016 we tried and were close sometimes and not winning the title doesn’t make us stop- we will come back and try again.