Britain’s Steve Peat missed the Gold medal by just over half a second in the Elite Men’s Downhill category at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Spain. Surprise winner was the USA’s Myles Rockwell, ranked 25 in the world and last a world Medalist in Métabief, France, way back in 1993.
One of the stories of the day was the failure of France’s Nicholas Vouilloz, Champion for the last five years, to pick up a medal. The Frenchman could only manage a distant 8th, over five seconds behind Rockwell, in a tight race, where the first five places were covered by little more than one and a half seconds.
Sheffield-born Peat’s success, one week before his twenty-sixth birthday, confirms his status as one of the sport’s super-stars. Runner up in the 1999 World Cup series, he missed a chance to pick up a medal at the ’99 Worlds after breaking bones in a practice crash in America. Determined to make his mark this year, he was fastest qualifier in Thursday’s seeding runs.
Steve Peat becomes the first British downhiller to win a medal at the Senior World Championships and the first Senior British medallist in any Mountain Bike discipline since David Baker picked up bronze in the Cross-County in 1992.
Of the other British riders, the best were Rob Warner in 21st and Nigel Page in 24th, both riding well despite nursing broke bones in their hands. Scotland’s Crawford Carrick-Anderson was going well until transmission problems slowed him dramatically.
GB Team Manager Simon Burney was delighted by Steve’s ride:
”It was very tense waiting down at the finish. As top seed, Steve was off last. Gerwin Peters led for some time. Vouilloz came down and it was a surprise to see him so slow. He didn’t loose enough time to have crashed. Pascal went quickest, briefly, then Myles went into the lead. De Bever failed to beat him and it was all down to Steve. We could see him for about the last 17 seconds of his run. He was clearly on the pace. It was horrible watching and very, very tense. Only after we’d checked the time did we know for certain he’d got Silver.”
1 Myles Rockwell USA 3 mins 55.01 seconds
2 Steve Peat Gbr 3:55.59
3 Mickael Pascal Fra 3:55.69
4 Gerwin Peters Ned 3:56.53
5 Eric Carter USA 3:56.56
6 Bas De Bever Ned 3:58.04
7 Cedric Gracia Fra 3:58.93
8 Nicolas Vouilloz Fra 4:00.16
9 David Vazquez Esp 4:00.25
10 Chris Kovarik Aus 4:00.34
21 Rob Warner Gbr 4:04.38
24 Nigel Page Gbr 4:06.22
27 Tim Ponting Gbr 4:06.52
32 Will Longden Gbr 4:07.62
47 Glyn O’Brien Irl 4:11.94
49 Crawford Carrick-Anderson Gbr 4:12.35
96 Ed Moseley Gbr 4:45.31
Philip Ingham, reporting for the British Cycling Federation