Killeen seventh, Beckingsale 26th in men's cross country
Posted September 4 2010
Liam Killeen rode through the men's cross country field to finish seventh at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
Since finishing fourth at the 2008 Worlds and fifth at the Beijing Olympics, Killeen has struggled to find form - parting company with Trek World Racing following a lacklustre 2009 due to injury and racing in national team kit throughout 2010, finishing no higher than 40th before the final round of the World Cup Series.
There was however a hint at Killeen's form at the final World Cup of the season in Windham last week, where the Malvern-based rider finished 12th - albeit in a depleted field compared to the European rounds earlier in the year.
This obviously did wonders for Killeen's confidence, as he rode from a poor grid position on the opening start loops, into the top twenty.
However, at the head of the race, Nino Schurter and Jaroslav Kulhavy were making fast progress, leading Killeen by over a minute on lap one, and doubling that gap by lap three.
Positions at the head of the race changed often due to mechanicals and puntures. Fontana had issues with his gears, while Absalon had one puncture and Schurter two punctures on a track characterised by exposed rocky and technical terrain.
The course was made even more treacherous due to heavy rain in the early stages, before bright sun turned conditions humid and rapidly dried the track.
It was at this stage Jose Hermida joined the front of the pack, alongside Burry Stander and Kulhavy. These three riders all seemed to avoid punctures.
In the closing stages it was Hermida who was most active, always attacking at the front, first distancing Stander and eventually on the final lap Kulhavy, crossing the line for his first ever World Championship victory.
Further back, Killeen continued his progress, taking advantage of fading riders and mechanical misfortune. From lap four he lost no time on the leaders posting lap times between fifth and third fastest in the second half of the race.
This resulted in seventh position overall, three minutes down on the winning time; two minutes of which was lost in the opening three laps.
Oli Beckingsale was the second British selection for the World Championships, and he finished 26th. Posting consistent 17 minute lap times, Beckingsale finished 9.39 down on Hermida.