Annie Last produced a sensational and mature ride to claim fifth at the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. In her first year as an under-23 rider, Last showed great nerve to overcome a far from perfect race - we have the results, report and photos!
We received this text update from Helen Mortimer on Annie during the race:
"Brilliant ride by Annie to finish fifth in U-23 women. After a crash which snapped her shoe she battled in a small group which contained 4th-7th places and then rode a very mature race to claim fifth."
Over dinner on Aussie-time we had a chat with Phil Dixon - the Team GB Olympic Programme Coach. First question was his take on Annie Last's ride into fifth place.
"Annie's ride was outstanding, totally to plan in terms of performance. She had a good start even though she was still feeling a bit flat off the back of the team relay the previous day. Into the opening climb she was in fifth and at the first feed was with third and fourth place.
"Unfortunately Annie then had a big crash, totally over the bars on a technical drop off she had been cleaning all week. That shook her a bit but the biggest problem was that the sole of her shoe was now damaged. Even though she was straight back up it was enough to break her rhythm and cost her track position.
"After another lap Annie composed herself in the group from fourth to seventh and bought home fifth place which was a great result."
What's next for Annie?
"From here Annie goes to Champery and Schladming for her first World Cup races. Then it is the British XC Series finals, a C1 race in Holland and finally the Roc d'Azur in October"
And for tomorrows Junior men's race?
"Steve and Kenta are both going well so it'll be a good experience for them. Both still first year Juniors, building on the depth of the team."
The second Team GB rider - Lily Matthews - produced a solid ride in her first ever World Championships. To finish 25th in the World in the first year of international racing from competing nationally as an Expert in 2008 is nothing short of great improvement.
Women's Under-23 Report: UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Posted September 2 2009
Words And Photography By Rob Jones
The Under 23 Women crowned a new champion on Wednesday at the Mountain Bike World Championships. Poland's Aleksandra Dawidowicz, the European champion, convincingly rode away from the 34 rider field, with a time of one hour, 24 minutes and 32 seconds. Sweden's Alexandra Engen took the silver medal at one minute and 13 seconds, and Julie Bresset gave France its second medal of the day with third place at two minutes and 31 seconds. Great Britain's Annie Last rode a strong and consistent race to finish fifth, four minutes and 16 seconds behind Dawidowicz, while Lily Matthews was 25th, at 17:32.
At the start, Bresset jumped into the lead, closely followed by Dawidowicz, Engen and Canada's Emily Batty. These three overtook the French rider after she crashed, with Dawidowicz and Engen gapping Batty by the halfway point of the first lap as the Canadian began to suffered mechanical problems that would eventually drop her to 11th.
The front three were now set, with the two leaders steadily pulling away from Bresset, while Last, Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) and Barbara Benko (Hungary) battled behind for fourth, with the Swiss rider beating out the Brit by 13 seconds. On the third lap Dawidowicz finally dropped Engen for good, starting the final lap with a lead of 33 seconds, which she stretched to 1:13 by the finish line.
Last crashed on the first lap, but it didn't slow her down. "It was a really good race, actually. It is just such a hard race with that climb at the start, and there are no places to pass, so if you get stuck that's the pace you have to go. I felt good, it was a good race. I was with the Swiss girl [Stirnemann] at the start, but she got away on the last lap and then I had the Hungarian rider [Benko] with me in the last part of the lap, so it was a really good battle."
1 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland) 1:24:32
2 Alexandra Engen (Sweden) at 1:13
3 Julie Bresset (France) 2:31
4 Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) 4:03
5 Annie Last (Great Britain) 4:16
6 Barbara Benko (Hungary) 4:35
7 Paula Gorycka (Poland) 5:13
8 Vivianne Meyer (Switzerland) 5:31
9 Caroline Mani (France) 5:42
10 Vera Andreeva (Russian Federation) 5:43
11 Emily Batty (Canada) 5:43
12 Hanna Klein (Germany) 6:19
13 Julie Krasniak (France) 6:35
14 Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic) 6:45
15 Chloe Forsman (United States Of America) 7:23
16 Nataliya Krompets (Ukraine) 7:49
17 Maaike Polspoel (Belgium) 8:42
18 Amy Dombroski (United States Of America) 9:47
19 Sanne Cant (Belgium) 12:11
20 Irina Slobodyan (Ukraine) 13:32
21 Tingting Sui (People's Republic Of China) 13:48
22 Michelle Bellamy (New-Zealand) 13:49
23 Samara Sheppard (New-Zealand) 13:50
24 Evgenia Belozerova (Russian Federation) 16:30
25 Lily Matthews (Great Britain) 17:32
26 Therese Rhodes (Australia) 19:08
27 Katherine O'neill (New-Zealand) 21:43
28 Heletje Van Staden (Namibia) 22:48