Australia's Nathan Rennie won the men's junior downhill race with a winning run of 5 minutes, 16.82 seconds and delivered his nation's first gold. "I said to myself I'm going to go so fast I crash, or go so fast I'm going to win," said Rennie, third in last year's worlds, adding: "I won." Rennie, an 18-year-old from Sydney, won the rainbow jersey easily out of a field of 58 riders, beating Great Britain's David Wardell by 10.46 seconds, and Australian teammate Jarrod Rando, who crossed the line to take the bronze at 10.50 seconds back.
For the second-straight day, rain and wind once again marred the world competition. Seeding runs on Thursday were run in the dry. By race time Saturday morning, the steep rocky sections of the upper part of the Are downhill course were even more treacherous in the wet. "It was a sloppy up there. I was a little faster in the upper section. I held my line through the rocky section," Rennie said.
Rennie was fastest at the intermediate time check and covered the 3.2-km course with an average speed of 38.29 km/h. But Rennie wasn't fastest in qualifying. In fact, he was seventh out of the gate on race day. The fastest qualifying time and starting last was teammate Rando. "The run was good, pretty muddy. I had a clean run and it went smooth. I didn't fall," said Rando.
The strong French squad was absent from the medal count. Finisher first and second last year, the top French rider Saturday was Jacky Sery in 13th at 31.78 back. Wardell's second-place run was exceptional. The young up-and-coming English rider had never beaten the French before, but on this day, the strong pedaler made up time on the lower half of the course to take his first world championships medal. Czech rider Adam Vagner, fourth at 14.19 back, and Philip Polc, a Slovakian rider in fifth at 15.81 back, confirmed the rising prowess of riders from eastern Europe, already seen here in the cross country events yesterday.
This report from the UCI.