Great Britain’s Ian Wilkinson put the team in the lead
The Swiss successfully defended their title
Left: The US languished near the back for nearly the whole race, but pulled through for bronze at the end. Right: Legendary commentary team Dan Jarvis and Chris Furber embark upon a week of continuous talking
Production of comedy hats has been ramped up especially for the Worlds
All pics: Joolze Dymond
Midges, rain, pipers, men in kilts, ‘jimmy’ wigs – just a few things that were lined up to welcome over 700 competitors representing the 50 nations who converged on Fort William for the kick off of the 2007 Nissan UCI World Mountain Bike Championship at Tuesday evening’s opening parade. GB of course got the biggest cheer…
Earlier in the day we saw the first of the many World Championship titles get decided with some close racing and some exciting moments in the XC Relay race.
15 national teams entered, with teams of four riders made up of one elite, one woman, one junior and one under-23 lined up to tackle a lap each. All eyes were on defending champions the Swiss, with Vogel, Litscher, Henzi and Schurter.
With the race underway it was the Swiss who took the early lead, closely followed by the Germans and to the delight of the crowd, our man Ian Bibby came home in 3rd to hand over to GB junior Alex Paton.
Lap two and it was the Swiss once more who came home first closely followed by Poland, with yet again team GB in 3rd!
Things were looking good on the medal front for GB, especially when Ian Wilkinson our 3rd man out came home after a blinding ride in 1st spot, closely followed by Germany and Italy with the Swiss now languishing down in 5th.
Now it was up to Jenny Copnall, last rider off for team GB, the weight of the nation on her shoulders as we all dared to hope that GB might kick the week off on the podium. However it was not to be. Despite riding a strong race, she stood no chance with Elite men like the USA’s Adam Craig chasing her down.
Eventually GB came home in 9th, with the Swiss blasting back into 1st to take the title. Poland settled for Silver and the USA, despite languishing in next to last all race, found themselves a bronze medal after Adam Craig’s lap. A mere 2 mins 54 secs separated GB from the Swiss at the end. Perhaps not the dream outcome we all hoped for, but all the team rode a cracking race.
As the week unfolds, hopefully team GB will be snapping at quite a few heels in the XC and hopefully of course, we’ll be bringing home the bacon in the DH… We’ll keep you posted.