Steve Peat wins DH World Championships – the mountain bike world rejoices

I can quite safely say that there will not be a single person in the mountain bike community who is not overjoyed for Great Britain’s Steve Peat today. After 4 silver medals and 16 attempts at the donning the coveted rainbow stripes he finally did it in Canberra. We could just leave the story there – I mean how can the words I write compete with the phrase – Steve Peat, World Champion. But, dear readers, let’s get on with how the day unfolded.

We were greeted with bluebird skies on raceday morning here, granted it was cold – frost on the ground and 1 degree celsius on the car’s temperature gauge. But we all knew the racing was going to be hotter than ever – I dont think I can remember a world champs where no one had an idea of who would win – I mean of course we had the usual suspects – anyone in the top 10 in the world could win.

First up were the juniors, and there were no real surprises in the women’s race with France’s Anais Pajot won her second world title continuing the tradition of French junior downhillers dominating that category – just think back to Anne-Caroline Chausson, Sabrina Jonnier, Emmeline Ragot etc.

France's Anais Pajot wins her 2nd Junior World Championship title

France's Anais Pajot wins her 2nd Junior World Championship title

In the mens’ race Kiwi Brook MacDonald beat out Aussie Shaun O’Connor and favorite Danny Hart of Great Britain.

Brook McDonald wins the Junior Mens Downhill World Championships

Brook McDonald wins the Junior Mens Downhill World Championships

The women’s race was next and Emmeline Ragot laid down a run that she has been threatening all season and took the title over favorite Tracy Moseley of Great Britain. Ragot, two time winner of Junior Women’s World Championship, knocked early leader USA’s Kathy Pruitt – also a former Junior World Champ – out of the the hotseat with a 2:50.00 dead and then had to wait nervously for both Moseley and former world champion and compatriot Jonnier to see if they could best her time.

First Moseley failed to do so, clocking 2:52.5, then Jonnier flatted in the rock section at the top of the course and crashed later and this secured the elite women’s title for Ragot.

Emmeline Ragot wins the Womens Downhill World Championships

Emmeline Ragot wins the Women's Downhill World Championships

All this was but a prelude of things to come, the men’s race. This had been one of the most open worlds in a long time, with all of us journos unable to pick an outright winner. Of course, we all had our guesses and everyone I’m sure might have been secretly rooting for Peaty to win. 

USA’s Brian Lopes – the third rider on course – set the early pace, and remained in the hotseat for a number of riders until he was eventually knocked out by compatriot Cody Warren. Warren would end up 13th on the day – the best placed U.S. rider. Australian Bryn Atkinson then set a time of 2:35.1 to take over the lead. Then the big man from Australia and crowd favorite Nathan Rennie blasted down the course to set the new benchmark of 2:34.3 and the crowd erupted. I’ve been at loud races before, but the cheer for Rennie taking the hotseat was something else – a marshall was standing right next to me blowing his whistle as riders pass – I didn’t hear it over the crowd!

The crowd at triple treat erupts as Nathan Rennie takes the hotseat

The crowd at triple treat erupts as Nathan Rennie takes the hotseat

Rennie stayed in the hotseat for next 11 riders – until two-time world champion and definite threat at any major championships – Fabien Barel of France came down and set the bar at 2:31.2. Another Aussie, Mick Hannah, then took 0.2 off that time to take the lead.

By this time the rate of time gains was slowing dramatically – we all knew this race would be won by a fraction of a second. Then the man, the legend that is Steve Peat came down and took 0.69 off Hannah’s time to take the lead. But no-one was celebrating just yet as Sam Hill, Greg Minnaar and last year’s World Champion Gee Atherton still had to do their runs.

Hill was next up but it wasn’t to be for the former multiple world champion- he was more than 2 and half seconds down on Peat. Just two riders to go now! Minnaar was always going to be a threat – and Peat himself always made him out as the dangerman. The South African has won Worlds before and he won here in Canberra last year – so he knows how its done. The crowd held their breath as Minnaar’s time flashed up on the screen – +0.05! Peat still had the lead with only Atherton to go.

South African Greg Minnaar was 2nd - just 0.05 down!

South African Greg Minnaar was 2nd - just 0.05 down!

Atherton was the rider who beat Peat last year in Val di Sole just when some people thought it was possible Peat could win there – so no-one in the crowd wanted to mention that Peat had the crown until the times came up on the board. But when the first split came up, Atherton was down, then the second split – down again! Now people were going crazy – could the title be Peaty’s? Atherton crosses the line – 6th place. Steve Peat is the 2009 Downhill World Champion and the crowd went mental!

This was quite possibly one of the most stirring victories ever and I feel priveleged and proud to have been a part of it. I have to say emotions ran high here yesterday and whenever someone was asked how they felt they choked up – me included.

Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Mick Hannah salute the crowds

Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Mick Hannah salute the crowds

Everyone wanted their photo taken with the new world champion! USA's Kyle Strait and Cody Warren get their audience with the king.

Everyone wanted their photo taken with the new world champion! USA's Kyle Strait and Cody Warren get their audience with the king.

There is no better way to end this than:

Steve Peat, World Champion.

\\ Results ////

1 Steve Peat (Great Britain) 0:02:30.3

2 Greg Minnaar (South Africa) 0:02:30.4

3 Michael Hannah (Australia) 0:02:31.0

4 Fabien Barel (France) 0:02:31.2

5 Samuel Hill (Australia) 0:02:33.0

6 Gee Atherton (Great Britain) 0:02:34.3

7 Nathan Rennie (Australia) 0:02:34.3

8 Justin Leov (New-Zealand) 0:02:34.3

9 Chris Kovarik (Australia) 0:02:34.4

10 Steve Smith (Canada) 0:02:34.5

11 Bryn Atkinson (Australia) 0:02:35.1

12 Jared Graves (Australia) 0:02:35.3

13 Cody Warren (United States Of America) 0:02:36.0

14 Aurélien Giordanengo (France) 0:02:36.0

15 Kyle Strait (United States Of America) 0:02:36.3

16 Jared Rando (Australia) 0:02:36.6

17 Samuel Blenkinsop (New-Zealand) 0:02:37.5

18 Brian Lopes (United States Of America) 0:02:37.6

19 Filip Polc (Slovakia) 0:02:37.8

20 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Colombia) 0:02:37.9

21 Aaron Gwin (United States Of America) 0:02:38.1

22 Duncan Riffle (United States Of America) 0:02:38.5

23 Marc Beaumont (Great Britain) 0:02:38.5

24 Brendan Fairclough (Great Britain) 0:02:38.7

25 David Vazquez Lopez (Spain) 0:02:39.4

26 Adam Vagner (Czech Republic) 0:02:39.6

27 Mitchell Delfs (Australia) 0:02:39.6

28 Josh Bryceland (Great Britain) 0:02:39.6

29 Matthew Scoles (New-Zealand) 0:02:39.7

30 Jamie Biluk (Canada) 0:02:39.9

31 Lorenzo Suding (Italy) 0:02:40.0

32 Joey Schusler (United States Of America) 0:02:40.0

33 Nick Beer (Switzerland) 0:02:40.1

34 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spain) 0:02:40.1

35 Markolf Berchtold (Brazil) 0:02:40.2

36 Kieran Bennett (New-Zealand) 0:02:40.3

37 Nathan Rankin (New-Zealand) 0:02:40.8

38 Romain Saladini (France) 0:02:41.3

39 Luke Strobel (United States Of America) 0:02:41.8

40 Robin Wallner (Sweden) 0:02:42.3

41 Dean Tennant (Canada) 0:02:42.4

42 Simon Garstin (Canada) 0:02:43.7

43 Marcel Beer (Switzerland) 0:02:43.7

44 Nejc Rutar (Slovenia) 0:02:44.6

45 Rob Fraser (Canada) 0:02:46.2

46 Cameron Cole (New-Zealand) 0:02:46.7

47 Matej Vitko (Slovakia) 0:02:46.9

48 Junya Nagata (Japan) 0:02:47.3

49 Camilo Andres Sanchez Paez (Colombia) 0:02:48.2

50 Wyn Masters (New-Zealand) 0:02:51.9

51 King Man Tsui (Hong-Kong, China) 0:02:55.4

52 Anderson Camargo Rey (Colombia) 0:03:00.3

53 Shu Sum Lau (Hong-Kong, China) 0:03:00.3

54 Maximilian Bender (Germany) 0:03:04.2

55 Kim Fung Yip (Hong-Kong, China) 0:03:13.1

56 Chiu Wong Hon (Hong-Kong, China) 0:03:13.5

57 Daniel Alvarez Villa (Colombia) 0:03:27.8

58 Mickael Pascal (France) 0:04:01.4

DNS Andrew Neethling (South Africa)

\\ Womens Results ////

1 Emmeline Ragot (France) 0:02:50.0

2 Tracy Moseley (Great Britain) 0:02:52.5

3 Kathleen Pruitt (United States Of America) 0:02:54.9

4 Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain) 0:02:56.8

5 Floriane Pugin (France) 0:02:57.4

6 Claire Buchar (Canada) 0:02:59.4

7 Micayla Gatto (Canada) 0:02:59.4

8 Mio Suemasa (Japan) 0:02:59.6

9 Melissa Buhl (United States Of America) 0:03:01.7

10 Joanna Petterson (South Africa) 0:03:03.3

11 Céline Gros (France) 0:03:03.5

12 Anita Molcik (Austria) 0:03:03.8

13 Miranda Miller (Canada) 0:03:04.3

14 Emilie Siegenthaler (Switzerland) 0:03:08.4

15 Claire Whiteman (Australia) 0:03:08.7

16 Harriet Harper (New-Zealand) 0:03:09.9

17 Julia Boer (Hungary) 0:03:13.1

18 Gabrielle Molloy (New-Zealand) 0:03:13.9

19 Cara Smith (Australia) 0:03:17.6

20 Amy Laird (New-Zealand) 0:03:19.6

21 Sarah Booth (Australia) 0:03:22.8

22 Tomoko Iizuka (Japan) 0:03:27.2

23 Anka Martin (South Africa) 0:03:36.4

24 Olivia Johnston (New-Zealand) 0:03:38.0

25 Sabrina Jonnier (France) 0:04:21.5

DNF Diana Marggraff (Ecuador)

\\ Junior Men ////

1 Brook Macdonald (New-Zealand) 0:02:36.5

2 Shaun O’Connor (Australia) 0:02:37.7

3 Danny Hart (Great Britain) 0:02:38.8

4 Rhys Willemse (Australia) 0:02:39.3

5 Bernard Kerr (Great Britain) 0:02:40.3

6 Harry Heath (Great Britain) 0:02:41.2

7 George Brannigan (New-Zealand) 0:02:42.0

8 Daniel Heads (New-Zealand) 0:02:42.9

9 Tamryn Murrell (Australia) 0:02:43.0

10 Antony Moore (Australia) 0:02:44.5

11 Ivan Oziol (France) 0:02:44.5

12 Arran Gannicott (Great Britain) 0:02:44.9

13 Richard Leacock (New-Zealand) 0:02:45.1

14 Gareth Brewin (Great Britain) 0:02:45.6

15 Geoffrey Ulmer (United States Of America) 0:02:46.1

16 Mitch Ropelato (United States Of America) 0:02:46.4

17 Iago Garay Tamayo (Spain) 0:02:46.8

18 Rupert Chapman (New-Zealand) 0:02:46.9

19 Kim Petersson (Sweden) 0:02:47.1

20 Andréa Gamenara (Italy) 0:02:47.6

21 Ziga Pandur (Slovenia) 0:02:48.6

22 Timothy Bentley (South Africa) 0:02:48.7

23 Shawn Neer (United States Of America) 0:02:49.2

24 Tyler Allison (Canada) 0:02:49.4

25 Trenton Zoobkoff (Canada) 0:02:51.4

26 Patrick Thome (France) 0:02:52.2

27 Remi Gauvin (Canada) 0:02:53.8

28 Wolfgang Eysholdt (Germany) 0:02:53.9

29 Martin Hanak (Czech Republic) 0:02:55.1

30 Luciano Worl (United States Of America) 0:02:56.0

31 Erik Kimmel (Czech Republic) 0:02:56.3

32 Santa Kushima (Japan) 0:02:56.5

33 Kazuki Shimizu (Japan) 0:02:58.5

34 Ethan Helliwell (New-Zealand) 0:02:59.3

35 Kyle Marshall (Canada) 0:02:59.7

36 Hajime Imoto (Japan) 0:03:02.1

37 Laurie Dinham (Australia) 0:05:20.2

38 Aari Barrett (New-Zealand) 0:05:32.0

DNF Kevin Aiello (United States Of America)

DNS William Gower (Australia)

DNS Hans Hadley (Australia)

DNS Chayse Marshall (Canada)

\\ Junior Women ////

1 Anais Pajot (France) 0:03:11.9

3 Julie Berteaux (France) 0:03:16.3

4 Holly Baarspul (Australia) 0:03:20.2

7 Alia Marcellini (Italy) 0:03:21.8

8 Georgia Wight (New-Zealand) 0:03:30.5

2 Fanny Lombard (France) 0:03:30.5

6 Leoni-Caro. Dickerhoff (Germany) 0:03:41.7