Denmark's Simon Andreassen dominated the junior men's cross country race from start to finish at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on Thursday in Hafjell, Norway. Behind him, the battle was for the remaining medals, of which Egan Bernal (Colombia) earned the silver ahead of Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany) with the bronze.
"It was a great day. I felt perfect. This was my biggest goal of the season, and I'm happy to complete it," said Andreassen. "I felt a lot of pressure at the start because I won a lot of races this year so people were expecting me to go fast today. I felt good before the race so I was ready to give it my best."
From the very start, Andreassen sprinted off the front and he already had 15 seconds over his closest chaser as of halfway through the first lap of the five-lap race.
"My plan was to go full speed in the first part of the race so I could get a gap and ride alone and pick my own lines and not be with other riders," said Andreassen. "The first two laps, I went full speed, then I slowed down a little and rode safely."
Several riders chased, initially including Neilo Perrin Ganier (France), Milan Vader (Netherlands), Bernal, and Hugo Pigon (France).
As some riders who went out too hard started to fade, Andreassen continued to ride strongly at the front and steadily per his strategy.
Behind the Dane, Bernal had a slight gap on Vader. Then David Horvath (Germany) chased ahead of Hugo Briatta (France).
Eventually Vader and Bernal were together while the two Germans - Schwarzbauer and Horvath - were also keeping each other company a bit further back.
With two laps to go, Andreassen had a comfortable 1:30 lead, which just kept growing despite a slow leaking flat tire on the last lap.
"I had a little flat on the first uphill and it kept getting worse," said Andreassen after he was observed running a technical downhill instead of riding it. He'd also run it on the penultimate lap, but said in the first instance, he was just being cautious.
On the final lap, Vader surged to get away from Bernal, but the Dutch rider couldn't sustain the effort and was later passed by both Bernal and Schwarzbauer.
Pan Am bronze medallist Bernal, a first-year junior, rode consistently throughout the race, and in the end, he got the better of Schwarzbauer.
"It's been the best day of my life. I wasn't expecting this big of a result," said Bernal. "I was expecting a top 10, but a medal is a big thing for Colombia. We have no support and paid to get ourselves here. Everything is different than you'd think it is. It's very important for us and I'm really happy."
"There are lots of talented kids in Colombia, especially among the juniors, who are growing up strong. We don't have all the support we'd like to have to get international experience and this shows the talent of the Colombian people, not just on the road like Nairo Quintana."
On the other hand, third place finisher Schwarzbauer was not particularly happy with the bronze medal.
"I worked so hard in the last weeks, and it was not what I expected. Now I'm not that happy although I'm happy I didn't have punctures or a crash," he said. "Maybe I did too much to prepare for Worlds? It was my good technique on the downhills that saved me today."
US rider Neilson Powless put in a good ride to finish eighth, despite a last lap crash in the final descent that cost him one place. The American had steadily moved up throughout the race, looking strong throughout.
"The start was super intense and we were running almost the whole first climb," said Powless. "I tried to stay calm - I knew that was going to happen. I had practiced running my bike up that section, including where to get off and where to get back on.
"I knew it was going to be a long race and just rode my own race, kept my own rhythm and didn't go outside of myself. It paid off and it was a good day."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Simon Andreassen (Denmark)||1:08:49|
|2||Egan Bernal (Colombia)||0:00:37|
|2||Egan Bernal (Colombia)|
|3||Luca Schwarzbauer (Germany)||0:00:38|
|4||Milan Vader (Netherlands)||0:01:19|
|5||David Horvath (Germany)||0:02:30|
|6||Hugo Briatta (France)||0:02:48|
|7||Neilo Perrin Ganier (France)||0:03:53|
|8||Neilson Powless (United States Of America)||0:03:55|
|9||Moreno Pellizzon (Italy)||0:03:56|
|10||Filippo Colombo (Switzerland)||0:04:02|
|11||David Ashby-Coventry (New Zealand)||0:04:16|
|12||Marc Andre Fortier (Canada)||0:04:22|
|13||Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Norway)||0:04:26|
|14||Hugo Pigeon (France)||0:04:29|
|15||Wout Alleman (Belgium)||0:04:40|
|16||Jan Rajchart (Czech Republic)||0:04:43|
|17||Maximilian Brandl (Germany)||0:04:47|
|18||Niels Derveaux (Belgium)||0:04:50|
|19||Matej Prudek (Czech Republic)||0:04:55|
|20||Alessandro Naspi (Italy)|
|21||Antoine Philipp (France)||0:05:25|
|22||Stanislav Antonov (Russian Federation)||0:05:48|
|23||Noah Bloechlinger (Switzerland)||0:05:57|
|24||Felix Ritzinger (Austria)||0:06:05|
|25||Thomas Craig (Great Britain)||0:06:14|
|26||Lucas Dubau (France)||0:06:31|
|27||Arsenty Vavilov (Russian Federation)||0:06:40|
|28||Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Great Britain)||0:06:50|
|29||Marceli Boguslawski (Poland)||0:06:57|
|30||Joshua Dubau (France)||0:06:58|
|31||Frazer Clacherty (Great Britain)||0:07:03|
|32||Erik Haegstad (Norway)||0:07:22|
|33||Robin Hofmann (Germany)||0:07:36|
|34||Pierre De Froidmont (Belgium)||0:07:50|
|35||Jack Compton (New Zealand)||0:08:02|
|36||Matej Ulik (Slovakia)||0:08:36|
|37||Max Wiklund-Hellstadius (Sweden)||0:08:39|
|38||Mitchell Greenway (Australia)||0:08:45|
|39||Rok Naglic (Slovenia)||0:08:59|
|40||Jose Gerardo Ulloa (Mexico)||0:09:06|
|41||Rhys Verner (Canada)||0:09:09|
|42||Eirik Pettersen (Norway)||0:09:27|
|43||Jonas Lindberg (Denmark)||0:09:33|
|44||Nikolay Melnikov (Russian Federation)||0:09:41|
|45||Manuel Cid De La Paz (Argentina)||0:09:45|
|46||Garrett Gerchar (United States Of America)|
|47||Sigurd Salberg Pedersen (Norway)||0:09:55|
|48||Martin Setterberg (Sweden)||0:10:05|
|49||Petter Fagerhaug (Norway)||0:10:13|
|50||Guy Leshem (Israel)||0:10:23|
|51||Dmitry Aleksandrov (Russian Federation)||0:10:42|
|52||Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria (Mexico)||0:10:46|
|53||Felix Belhumeur (Canada)||0:10:52|
|54||Jozsef Krisztian Kadi (Hungary)||0:11:03|
|55||Thibault Daniel (France)||0:11:12|
|56||Alan Hatherly (South Africa)||0:11:18|
|57||Filip Sklenarik (Slovakia)||0:11:27|
|58||Landen Beckner (United States Of America)||0:11:33|
|59||Anders Bregnhoj (Denmark)||0:13:37|
|60||Juan Jose Rincon (Colombia)||0:37:17|
|60||Juan Jose Rincon (Colombia)|
|-1lap||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)|
|-1lap||Rodrigo Serafin (Portugal)|
|-1lap||Reece Tucknott (Australia)|
|-1lap||Marton Dina (Hungary)|
|-1lap||Marius Grondahl Andresen (Norway)|
|-1lap||Zsombor Palumby (Hungary)|
|-1lap||Carson Beckett (United States Of America)|
|-1lap||Nick Van Pol (Belgium)|
|-1lap||Felix Burke (Canada)|
|-1lap||Guillaume Larose-Gingras (Canada)|
|-1lap||Ainur Akhmetov (Russian Federation)|
|-1lap||Javier Jimenez Pascual (Spain)|
|-1lap||Luke Brame (Australia)|
|-1lap||Masaki Yamada (Japan)|
|-1lap||Kirill Smirnov (Russian Federation)|
|-1lap||Gonzalo Artal Lokman (Argentina)|
|-1lap||Felix Smalley (Australia)|
|-2laps||Tomass Iljenko (Latvia)|
|-2laps||Rodrigo Navarro (Argentina)|
|-2laps||Robin Thyrstedt (Sweden)|
|-2laps||Yunus Emre Yilmaz (Turkey)|
|-2laps||Daniel Dina (Hungary)|
|-2laps||Ben Oliver (New Zealand)|
|-2laps||Jose Luciano Martinez Ronconi (Argentina)|
|-2laps||Kostiantyn Prykhodko (Ukraine)|
|-2laps||Tobias Eise (Germany)|
|-3laps||Sandro Trevisani (Switzerland)|
|-3laps||Kirill Tarassov (Estonia)|
|DNF||Peter Zupancic (Slovenia)|
|DNF||Sasu Halme (Finland)|
|DNF||Leonardo Aparecido Cruvinel Da Cruz (Brazil)|
|DNF||Gareth Cannon (New Zealand)|
|DNF||Hans Kristian Rudland (Norway)|
|DNF||Ramon Lauener (Switzerland)|
|DNF||Michael Potter (Australia)|
|DNF||Sean Bennett (United States Of America)|
|DNF||Roman Lehky (Czech Republic)|
|DNS||Tristan De Lange (Namibia)|
|DNS||Ari Hirabayashi (Japan)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|9||United States Of America||182|
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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