Willow Koerber won the 2010 Cyclingnews Reader Poll with a resounding 4009 votes or 23.9% of the total. The American captured the hearts of many with her gutsy ride two years in a row at the cross country mountain bike world championships.
In 2009, Koerber raced to a career-best performance, a bronze medal, at Worlds. Again and again in 2010, she proved her medal was no fluke by backing it up with memorable performances such as second places at the Dalby and Houffalize World Cups as well as third place at Champery, 10th at Val di Sole and sixth at Windham. Overall, she earned second place in the World Cup.
What readers may remember most was the final 10 minutes of her world championship race. While Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) rode away to the finish, Koerber, Catharine Pendrel (Canada) and Irina Kalentieva (Russia) waged a fierce battle for the remaining medal spots.
Koerber was riding well in second place, but slipped near the end of the final lap, crashing and losing a spot to Pendrel. She lost another spot to Kalentieva and her medal chances started to look much slimmer.
"My boyfriend Myles was on the right as I passed him and he said, 'Don't give up on a medal." I was almost in tears thinking 'what just happened?'" said Koerber. "I'd gone from silver to fourth. He could see the pain in my eyes, and I was fighting as hard as I could."
"I got inspired to make that final pass before the last flyer," said Koerber. "I'm not sure how I did it. I just got fire from somewhere and saw red and attacked. It was close." Koerber's third placed matched her third place of last year at worlds in Canberra.
American Georgia Gould finished second in the Reader Poll with 2424 votes or 14.4%. Gould had a good year both on the domestic and the international scene. She finished a career best second place in the Offenburg World Cup and also took fourth at Dalby, seventh at Val di Sole and third at Windham. She finished fourth in the overall World Cup standings.
Again and again, Gould rode away from her competition on the domestic pro circuit, and she ended the season with a US Pro XCT overall victory.
Downhiller Tracy Moseley finished third in the Reader Poll with 1819 votes or 10.8 percent. The veteran British downhiller earned her first-ever career elite downhill world championship in 2010.
"I've had a long career and I've been trying to win this for many years," said a delighted Moseley after her win, "and I've finally got this white jersey on my shoulders."
Honorable mention goes to French downhiller Sabrina Jonnier and Australian four cross star Caroline Buchanan. Jonnier won the 2010 downhill World Cup overall while Buchanan successfully defended her four cross World Championship title.
Cyclingnews Reader Poll results - Best female mountain biker
Willow Koerber, 4009 (23.9%)
Georgia Gould, 2424 (14.4%)
Tracy Moseley, 1819 (10.8%)
Sabrina Jonnier 1465 (8.7%)
Caroline Buchanan, 1458 (8.7%)
Eva Lechner, 1395 (8.3%)
Catharine Pendrel, 1391 (8.3%)
Maja Wloszczowska, 1311 (7.8%)
Anita Molcik, 761 (4.5%)
Alexandra Engen, 754 (4.5%)