The Junior racers get underway
Left The Chinese racers dominated the U23 race.
Right You’d never guess it was raining
A fast start for the Under-23 field
All pics: Joolze Dymond
Day 2 at the Nissan UCI World Mountain Bike Championships and it just got wetter. Just the right conditions to decide two more titles and today it was the turn of the young ladies, with both the juniors and the under-23 women racing in two separate races.
First to be decided was the juniors, and with no clear favourite it was anyone’s guess who would take it. Three laps later and that winner was Alla Boyko, claiming the Ukraine’s first ever World Mountain Bike title ever. To say she was delighted was an understatement. Silver went to Czech rider Jitka Skarnitzlova with France’s Julie Bresset picking up bronze in a pretty tough race. And the GB girls? Annie Last rode a great race after a few weeks off due to illness to pick up a cracking 16th spot. Team mate Annabel Simpson disappointedly came home in 22nd after a strong start was diminished due to an unfortunate puncture.
It was a different story in the under-23 women’s race, with the Chinese riders Ren Chengyuan and Ying Liu being touted as the hot favourites and they didn’t disappoint. Despite a less than perfect start, the two Chinese women had the race eating out of their hands by the top of the first climb, with the rest of the field strung out behind them furiously trying to get back on terms with these two talented riders. It was clear that the fight was on for bronze with the two Chinese riders looking certain for Gold and Silver.
By lap four it was Liu who came home first having opened a three-minute gap on her team mate and defending Champion. I’m sure she was delighted, but just didn’t look it when crossing the line.
Meanwhile further down the line the race was on for third. That honour eventually went to Austrian Elisabeth Osl, who looked more pleased with her medal than either of the Chinese.
GB interest was in the form of Amy Hunt, who had a strong ride but never really got in tune with her climbing. She did however show her class on the descents and came home in 14th spot.
Elsewhere in the race village GB rider Chris Boyes made it through to the junior 20in wheel trials finals. And we got some great news – Liam Killeen will be riding the senior XC race on Saturday. The crowds are in for a treat especially as we’ve been told the rain might just stop by then…