France took its second gold medal of the World Championships when favourite
Sabrina Jonnier survived a big slide and overcame pedal problems to record
the fastest time in the junior women.
18 year old Jonnier, the reigning European champion and already an experienced competitor
on the world cup circuit, lost five seconds after failing a corner. Scrambling back
on her shoe clogged with mud and she couldn’t get full contact again until the final
jump before the finish line, but her time, 6mins 17.82seconds was good enough for
a rainbow jersey.
“It was important to me to win today,” Sabrina said, “It’s
my last year in juniors, and I’ve missed the gold twice already. I went slower at
the top in the mud, then got quicker and quicker.”
The silver medal was taken by upcoming downhiller Kathy Pruitt (USA),
who overtook a number of girls who started ahead of her finish 8.49 seconds slower
than Jonnier. Helen Gaskell of Great Britain managed a clean run to
finish at 9.91, following plenty of slips and slide in practice.
France, which competes with the US to dominate women’s downhilling, was expected
to get two medals. 16 year old Céline Gros seeded fastest, but had
a bad run and missed out in fourth with a 11.29 second deficit.
Conditions on the course had been wet and muddy all week and the morning of the event
strong winds and thick fog at the start line spurred the riders to get down as quickly
as possible. 13 competitors ran from eight countries.
This report from the UCI.