What. A. Race. The 2017 UCI Downhill Worlds Championships in Cairns will go down as a classic.
Wow, what an incredible race to see out the 2017 Downhill season here in Cairns, Australia. Lee Miller was on hand to wade through the jungle to capture the action Down Under.
The rains that have plagued this course in previous years showed no sign of spoiling the Australian party here this week, instead it was a Frenchman and Canadian that turned up and crushed the hopes of the thousands of spectators that lined the Smithfield mountain bike track.
Just as they did the last time World Champs came down under, the French showed their mountain biking prowess and got off to an early start with Melanie Chappaz taking the Junior women’s title.
Team GB struck back in the men’s field and showed that there’s no rest up in the production line of talent that our small nation somehow produces, with Matt Walker and Joe Breedon taking First and Second respectively. In total team GB had no less than 4 juniors in the top ten, an incredible result.
With Rachel Atherton ruled out with a broken collarbone it seemed like a three way showdown between Tahnee Seagrave, Miriam Nicole and Tracey Hannah would be on the cards for the gold medal. Canadian Miranda Miller didn’t read the script though and surprised everyone by taking the win.
Confusion of sorts after the race as a puzzled Miriam Nicole was left scratching her head at being 47 seconds back despite a clean run, however the timing error was quickly rectified and Pom Pom was moved up into second bumping Tracey down into third despite a crash.
In the Elite men’s field a strong Aussie team was perhaps fronted by Cairns local Sik Mick Hannah who looked to be on the form of his life all week. It wasn’t to be though for Mick with Frenchman Loic Bruni leaving him devastated with another second place while Loic celebrated his second World Championships win.
Aaron Gwin rounded out the podium in third despite admittedly having a bad run and forgetting to disable his rear shock lock out after the whoops section.
It was a tough day at the office all round with many riders showing visible tangles with the dust on their National jerseys and the hidden dust covered rocks claiming more than a few inner tubes, including Greg Minnaar for the second race in a row.