Brosnan defends world junior downhill title

2010 world junior downhill champion Troy Brosnan has successfully defended his world title overnight at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland, capping of an incredible weekend for Australian sport on the world stage.

Despite the muddy, slippery and treacherous conditions due to heavy rain fall in Champery, the 18-year-old Adelaide-based rider was by far a step above the rest, stopping the clock in 3:51.50.

The only junior to break four minutes, Brosnan was more than 12 seconds faster than silver medallist David Trummer (4:03.69) from Austria, whilst Guillaume Cauvin (4:15.94) of France earned bronze.

Impressively, Brosnan's time would have also placed him in the silver medal position in the elite men's competition – a very encouraging sign for the young talent and Australian mountain biking when he moves up into the senior ranks next year.

Whilst the majority of riders struggled to stay on two wheels during their run due to the treacherous conditions, Brosnan, who was the third last rider to come down the mountain, showed his class with a clean run to the finish.

"It was raining all morning but I wanted to attack it like it was dry. I didn't have any mistakes, and I won. I'm so happy. I can't believe it," said Brosnan, who retains the rainbow jersey.

"I had a good run today and tried to stay smooth. The other juniors crashed, but I kept it on my two wheels and came across the line in front.

"This season has been good. Getting the junior world championship capped off a good season.

"I couldn't ask for more. Going into next season with the big boys is going to be fun."

Australian head downhill coach Jared Rando couldn't be more impressed with the performance of his young charge.

"That's a huge achievement," Rando said. "Troy's performance was absolutely incredible, it's not normal racing for a junior. It's really special, and he's going to be one of the top riders in the future."

Three other Australian junior riders also placed in the top 20. Despite crashing up to the four times during the race, Australian champion Connor Fearon (+36.28) still managed to place 14th. Phil Piazza (+38.49) and David McMillan (+40.55) placed 16th and 18th respectively. Just outside the top 20 were Brandon Yrttiaho (+49.58) who clocked the 21st fastest time, Ben Power (+50.63) in 23rd position, followed by Joe Vejvoda (+1:08) in 34th place.

"The conditions for the race are something we very rarely experience in Australia, just with the rain and the style of track, it was quite challenging for all of the riders and for a lot of them it was the first time they'd ever raced in something like this," continued Rando.

"All the guys bar Troy had multiple crashes in their race run, and only approximately a quarter of the field made it down without crashing in both the elite and junior races."

In the elite men's downhill competition, defending champion Sam Hill, who has just recently returned to racing after a shoulder injury, finished a respectable seventh in 3:57.89.

"Sam Hill had an incredible performance," said Rando. "He'd spent very little time on the bike, and to comeback and to get the result he did on a difficult track is a very good performance. He's probably riding at 60% of his potential."

Three years after he won the junior downhill world championship, Danny Hart of Great Britain raced to his first elite title, clocking 3:41.98. Damien Spagnolo (3:53.68) of France and Sam Blenkinsop (3:54.98) from New Zealand earned the silver and bronze medals.

It was a tough day at the office for the three other Australian elite downhillers, with Michael Hannah (39th, +44.07), Rhys Willemse (41st, +44.60) and Shaun O'Connor (43rd, +45.89) all battling in the conditions.

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