The under 23 women crowned a new champion on Wednesday at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, when Poland's Aleksandra Dawidowicz convincingly rode away from the 34-rider field. Sweden's Alexandra Engen took the silver medal, and Julie Bresset gave France its second medal of the day with third place.
Canada's Emily Batty, a co-favourite with Dawidowicz, suffered mechanical problems in the first half of the race, dropping into the 20s before recovering somewhat to finish 11th and as the top North American.
At the start, Bresset jumped into the lead, closely followed by Dawidowicz, Engen and Batty. These three overtook the French rider after she crashed, with Dawidowicz and Engen gapping Batty by the halfway point of the first lap as the mechanical problems began to rear their head.
Batty dropped behind Bresset at the second pit, and stopped for mechanics to look at her rear derailleur, losing ten spots in the process, and nearly two minutes. It would take another stop in the pits on lap two (when she dropped to 19th) before the problem was finally traced to a loose rear derailleur cable, and Batty was able to get back into the race.
"It was bad luck I guess," said Batty. "I've had a really good year up to now, so this was my turn. But it is really frustrating because I was feeling really, really good today, and as I rode the course more and more this week I was getting into it."
The front three were now set, with the two leaders steadily pulling away from Bresset, while Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland), Annie Last (Great Britain) and Barbara Benko (Hungary) battled behind for fourth, although they continued to lose ground on the front three.
On the third lap, Dawidowicz finally dropped Engen for good, and she started the final lap with a lead of 33 seconds, which she stretched to 1:13 by the finish line. Bresset finished 2:31 back.
Dawidowicz saw her win as a step on her path to even stronger results. "Last year I was third, a month and a half ago I was European champion, and this year I am champion, so it is a very exciting year for me. Now I would like to be Olympic Champion, so I am looking toward the Olympics in London in 2012."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland)||1:24:32|
|2||Alexandra Engen (Sweden)||0:01:13|
|3||Julie Bresset (France)||0:02:31|
|4||Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland)||0:04:03|
|5||Annie Last (Great Britain)||0:04:16|
|6||Barbara Benko (Hungary)||0:04:35|
|7||Paula Gorycka (Poland)||0:05:13|
|8||Vivianne Meyer (Switzerland)||0:05:31|
|9||Caroline Mani (France)||0:05:42|
|10||Vera Andreeva (Russian Federation)||0:05:43|
|11||Emily Batty (Canada)|
|12||Hanna Klein (Germany)||0:06:19|
|13||Julie Krasniak (France)||0:06:35|
|14||Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic)||0:06:45|
|15||Chloe Forsman (United States Of America)||0:07:23|
|16||Nataliya Krompets (Ukraine)||0:07:49|
|17||Maaike Polspoel (Belgium)||0:08:42|
|18||Amy Dombroski (United States Of America)||0:09:47|
|19||Sanne Cant (Belgium)||0:12:11|
|20||Irina Slobodyan (Ukraine)||0:13:32|
|21||Tingting Sui (People's Republic of China)||0:13:48|
|22||Michelle Bellamy (New Zealand)||0:13:49|
|23||Samara Sheppard (New Zealand)||0:13:50|
|24||Evgenia Belozerova (Russian Federation)||0:16:30|
|25||Lily Matthews (Great Britain)||0:17:32|
|26||Therese Rhodes (Australia)||0:19:08|
|27||Katherine O'neill (New Zealand)||0:21:43|
|28||Heletje Van Staden (Namibia)||0:22:48|
|-1lap||Alexandra Gabriela Serrano Rodriguez (Ecuador)|
|-2laps||Gracie Elvin (Australia)|
|-3laps||Masami Noma (Japan)|
|DNF||Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia)|
|DNF||Mikaela Kofman (Canada)|
|DNF||Laura Valentina Abril Restrepo (Colombia)|
|DNS||Monique Avery (New Zealand)|