Emmeline Ragot earned France another medal at the world championships in Champery, Switzerland, on Sunday afternoon when she won the elite women's downhill race. Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) rode to a silver medal while Claire Buchar (Canada) took bronze.
"I knew this course well as I won it here last year," said Ragot. "I was pushing hard, and the circumstances helped me to clinch this title. I was going for it."
The women raced in steady, soaking rain, which made an already technical course even more slippery.
Casey Brown (Canada) was the first rider to almost crack six minutes as she clocked in at 6:00.217.
A few riders later, her teammate Buchar would fly down the mountain to set a new best time of 5:21.965.
"I didn't race any World Cups this year, and so I was thrown into the deep end. I came over here with big motivation," said Buchar, who dedicated her win to a teammate, Nick Geddis, who is currently battling leukemia. "It was an achievement to come over here and win a bronze after not racing over here all year." Buchar had sat out the World Cup season due to a lack of sufficient sponsorship to fund the expense of a European campaign.
Neither of the two four cross medallists in the race - Celine Gros (France) nor Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain) - could beat Buchar's time although Miriam Ruchti (Switzerland) and Mio Suemasa (Japan) came close, each moving into second position at the time they finished.
It was the sixth to last rider, Ragot, who would set the fastest time, with a 4:54.012. She was the only woman to go under five minutes.
"Today I tried to ride smart, and I knew that if I didn't crash, I would have the possibility of winning," said Ragot. "I did not crash. I tried to ride smooth and I didn't put attacks on my bike. I was a bit slow down some parts but it worked out." It was a good way for her to end a season which had begun with a knee injury.
Another favorite, Sabrina Jonnier (France) would not have the best run although she did finish fifth with a 5:24.329. Still another Frenchwoman Myriam Nicole, was next, earning herself a fourth at 5:22.306.
Ragot's time was holding up with three racers remaining in the line-up.
Next up was Atherton, who set a new second best time of 5:09.303, with a solid looking run.
"I came into this race expecting or at least hoping to get a podium," said Atherton. "The conditions today were savage, and it completely changed the whole race. Without a crash, who knows what would have happened, but I'm happy with second place." Atherton is still working her way back to full form after injury kept her out of competition last year and earlier this year.
Pugin did not start, so that left only defending champion Tracy Moseley (Great Britain). She went down a few times during her run, including getting caught in the netting during one of the incidents. She finished ninth at 5:38.163.
"I had four crashes," said Moseley. "What happened was they built a crazy track and then it rained. It was a sad way to lose my jersey, but you have to win to keep it."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Emmeline Ragot (France)||0:04:54.012|
|2||Rachel Atherton (Great Britain)||0:00:15.291|
|3||Claire Buchar (Canada)||0:00:27.953|
|4||Myriam Nicole (France)||0:00:28.294|
|5||Sabrina Jonnier (France)||0:00:30.317|
|6||Mio Suemasa (Japan)||0:00:37.723|
|7||Petra Bernhard (Austria)||0:00:38.370|
|8||Emilie Siegenthaler (Switzerland)||0:00:43.941|
|9||Tracy Moseley (Great Britain)||0:00:44.151|
|10||Miriam Ruchti (Switzerland)||0:00:49.112|
|11||Harriet Rucknagel (Germany)||0:01:04.222|
|12||Casey Brown (Canada)||0:01:06.205|
|13||Miranda Miller (Canada)||0:01:09.717|
|14||Jacqueline Harmony (United States Of America)||0:01:25.422|
|15||Katherine Short (Canada)||0:01:35.570|
|16||Elke Rabeder (Austria)||0:01:39.968|
|17||Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain)||0:01:48.874|
|18||Sandra Rubesam (Germany)||0:01:52.436|
|19||Amy Laird (New Zealand)||0:04:17.802|
|20||Céline Gros (France)||0:15:56.235|
|DNS||Floriane Pugin (France)|
|DNS||Anita Ager-Wick (Norway)|
|DNS||Joanna Petterson (United States Of America)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|8||United States Of America||7|