Great Britiain swept the podium at the elite women's downhill world championship in Hafjell, Norway on Sunday. 2014 World Cup overall champion Manon Carpenter clinched the title ahead of defending champion and top favorite Rachel Atherton. Tahnee Seagrave finished third.
"I didn't expect it to be honest. I struggled to go fast enough all week," said Carpenter. "I like the course, but seeing the other girls go through the rock garden was impressive. They were not using brakes, and I was trying to figure out how to do that."
"I wanted to have a perfect run. It was close, but I had almost resigned myself to coming second and then I finished and won the world championships."
As the 26 starters made their way down the mountain on an overcast, chilly day, rider after rider set a new fast time.
Vaea Verbeeck's 4:04:537 was the one that stuck the longest, but the Canadian was eventually bumped from the hot seat by American Jill Kintner, who rode more than 7.6 seconds faster and became the first woman to go sub-three minutes.
Then Seagrave clocked a 3:52.870, another 4.8 seconds faster than Kintner.
French woman Myriam Nicole was next down the mountain, but a crash slowed her progress. Tracy Hannah's time wasn't fast enough to get her a medal.
Carpenter rode flawlessly in her run, stopping the clock in 3:49.400 and the crowd awaited the defending world champ Atherton.
"When I got to the bottom, I figured that if Rachel beat me, it was fair play. I had almost a perfect run," said Carpenter. "I just managed to sneak it, but I had thought I would miss out by a tiny bit."
There was to be no third world title for Atherton. While she was ahead for much of the run, she lost ground on the lower section, finishing just 0.088 seconds slower than Carpenter.
"The racing in the world championships is special, but second place is not a nice position for me to finish," said Atherton. "I had a good run but I wasn't very confident the whole way down. I thought I was off pace. I hit a rock, making a little mistake, near the end. You can't afford to make any mistakes any more, but it's special to stand on the podium with three British girls."
Another top favorite, who would have been the last starter, Emmeline Ragot (France) did not start after breaking her wrist while training the previous day.
- Carpenter was the junior downhill world champion in Champery, Switzerland in 2011, but this was her first elite world title.
- Seagrave said that she had predicted the three-rider Great Britain podium. "It was cool that it ended up that way!" she said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Manon Carpenter (Great Britain)||0:03:49.400|
|2||Rachel Atherton (Great Britain)||0:00:00.088|
|3||Tahnee Seagrave (Great Britain)||0:00:03.463|
|4||Tracey Hannah (Australia)||0:00:06.455|
|5||Jill Kintner (United States Of America)||0:00:07.472|
|6||Vaea Verbeeck (Canada)||0:00:15.130|
|7||Morgane Charre (France)||0:00:15.642|
|8||Myriam Nicole (France)||0:00:16.500|
|9||Emilie Siegenthaler (Switzerland)||0:00:17.341|
|10||Anita Ager-Wick (Norway)||0:00:20.817|
|11||Micayla Gatto (Canada)||0:00:22.068|
|12||Casey Brown (Canada)||0:00:26.229|
|13||Jana Bartova (Czech Republic)||0:00:30.957|
|14||Zarja Cernilogar (Slovenia)||0:00:32.168|
|15||Veronique Sandler (New Zealand)||0:00:33.176|
|16||Steffi Marth (Germany)||0:00:41.966|
|17||Diana Marggraff (Ecuador)||0:00:43.415|
|18||Nicole Beege (Germany)||0:00:43.706|
|19||Josefine Björkman (Sweden)||0:00:49.644|
|20||Elke Rabeder (Austria)||0:00:54.178|
|21||Helene Thon Moland (Norway)||0:00:54.655|
|22||Katrin Karkhof (Germany)||0:00:55.411|
|23||Alison Zimmer (United States Of America)||0:01:22.948|
|24||Carina Cappellari (Switzerland)||0:01:39.579|
|25||Mariana Salazar Palomo (El Salvador)||0:05:11.016|
|DNS||Emmeline Ragot (France)|
|DNS||Alexandra Zhirnova (Russian Federation)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|4||United States Of America||24|