Great Britain's Tracy Moseley won the rainbow jersey for the first time in her elite career at the women's downhill world championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, on Sunday afternoon. Moseley finished ahead of two French women: World Cup winner Sabrina Jonnier and last year's world champion Emmeline Ragot.
"I've had a long career and I've been trying to win this for many years," said a delighted Moseley, "and I've finally got this white jersey on my shoulders."
Moseley sat sandwiched between two French riders at the post-race press conference. She's been used to racing the fast French women all season.
"I've been the sole Brit amongst the French riders for most of the year with Rach (Atherton) out for injury," said Moseley. "I've been the one to have to fight the French. I knew Sabrina is really good on this track, we've been racing together since 1997. It's no surprise for me to find myself amongst these two."
"Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of my favorite courses, but you never know until you actually get to the race," said the new world champion. " This morning I tried to put all thoughts away. This season I've not been racing as well as I've been practicing."
"My biggest goal today was to put together my perfect race run - to be able to walk away and not feel like I could have done any better." She did just that.
1995 downhill World Champion Leigh Donovan was the first elite woman down the mountain. The 38-year-old was racing women 10 to 20 years her junior, yet she clocked a time of 5:34.05, which held up as 17 more women made their ways down the slope. Donovan, now a mom and businesswoman, made a comeback for this season. At the Sea Otter Classic in the spring, she had told Cyclingnews that her goal was to make the US worlds team.
Another former World Champion, Rachel Atherton, of Great Britain set the new best time of 5:33.80, but two riders later, she was knocked out of the hot seat by Mio Suemasa (Japan). In between them Canadian Claire Buchar went, but she had problems during her run and was not as fast as she would have liked to be.
Myriam Nicole (France) couldn't unseat Suemasa, but Moseley did. She blasted to a time of 5:17.47. Former World Champion Jonnier came within 7.5 seconds, which was good enough for second. Her compatriot, Floriane Pugin could not got faster and then Ragot, the last woman down the mountain, clocked a time third best at 10.6 seconds slower than Moseley.
Jonnier was disappointed not to win gold, but was happy to take the silver medal. "Mont-Sainte-Anne is my favorite track, and I've done well the past few years. I really wanted to win today, but I had a good season and a good World Cup." She won the overall title last weekend in Windham, New York. Jonnier raced the junior world championships when it was held here in 1998.
The women faced a course made wet by rains the previous two days. On the afternoon of the race, intermittent showers kept the track from drying.
"The course was really good during the week when it was dry and since yesterday, it's been raining off and on so this morning, the first flat was really boggy," said Jonnier. "With it raining on and off, it was hard to know what to expect out there."
Ragot may have lost her rainbow jersey, but she said she was content to have had it for the past year and would try again next year. "Yeah, there was pressure coming into today, but I just did the best I could."
Commenting on the strength of the French women's downhill program, especially after two junior women had also medalled earlier in the day, Ragot said, "We have a good federation. We women just fight every time. We push each other."
Donovan's time was good enough to place her in eighth and as the top American ahead of Jill Kintner in 10th, Melissa Buhl in 16th, and Jacqueline Harmony in 18th.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tracy Moseley (Great Britain)||0:05:17.47|
|2||Sabrina Jonnier (France)||0:00:07.50|
|3||Emmeline Ragot (France)||0:00:10.64|
|4||Floriane Pugin (France)||0:00:12.34|
|5||Mio Suemasa (Japan)||0:00:12.79|
|6||Myriam Nicole (France)||0:00:13.98|
|7||Rachel Atherton (Great Britain)||0:00:16.33|
|8||Leigh Donovan (United States Of America)||0:00:16.58|
|9||Claire Buchar (Canada)||0:00:18.12|
|10||Jill Kintner (United States Of America)||0:00:20.82|
|11||Anita Ager-Wick (Norway)||0:00:22.92|
|12||Petra Bernhard (Austria)||0:00:26.81|
|13||Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain)||0:00:27.20|
|14||Emilie Siegenthaler (Switzerland)||0:00:34.20|
|15||Harriet Rucknagel (Germany)||0:00:37.26|
|16||Melissa Buhl (United States Of America)||0:00:38.01|
|17||Anita Molcik (Austria)||0:00:38.24|
|18||Jacqueline Harmony (United States Of America)||0:00:39.95|
|19||Anne Laplante (Canada)||0:00:51.08|
|20||Luana Maria De Souza Oliveira (Brazil)||0:00:51.17|
|21||Micayla Gatto (Canada)||0:00:53.57|
|22||Rebecca Mcqueen (Canada)||0:01:09.80|
|23||Miranda Miller (Canada)||0:03:59.52|
|DNF||Tomoko Iizuka (Japan)|
|DNS||Vaea Verbeek (Canada)|
|DNS||Kjersten Lone (Canada)|