Great Britain’s Gee Atherton took silver in a thrilling Elite Men’s Downhill final while in the Elite Women’s event, Manon Carpenter took a hugely impressive bronze as injury blunted Rachel Atherton’s challenge. South Africa’s Greg Minnaar took the men’s world title while Morgane Charre took the women’s.
In the women’s competition, Charre’s run was superlative, carving ten seconds off the previous quickest time of Micayla Gatto of Canada, breaking the maple leaf stranglehold of the top four placings.
Carpenter was up by 0.3 seconds on her first split but it was in the mid section that Charre’s run was peerless and at the second split, Carpenter had dropped to second position, eventually finishing around a second and a half back on Charre and dropping into second.
Emmeline Ragot was next to go and slotted into second behind her compatriot, pushing Carpenter into bronze medal position and it looked as if she would be edged out by Rachel Atherton, who was last to run. However, Atherton clearly looked to be in some discomfort out on the course, a second down at the first split and over 5 seconds down at the second; Atherton slotted into fifth, meaning Carpenter hung onto bronze, with Charre taking the gold and Ragot the silver.
Hot on the heels of the women’s runs came the men’s with Sam Dale providing the first interest for GB fans, taking the hot-seat early on, posting 3:28.294. Next up for GB was the evergreen Steve Peat, who was on a hot ride until a crash into the barriers put paid to his efforts. Meanwhile Frenchman Florent Payet had taken Dale’s lead, with first Michael Hannah of Australia then Steve Smith of Canada pushing Dale out of the medals - Dale eventually finishing 12th, while Peat's crash left him down in 36th place, two places behind GB's Joe Smith in 34th.
Great Britain’s Josh Bryceland was on a flyer until a crash in the midsection ruined his run, dropping him down to 75th place while Matt Simmonds put in a solid ride, eventually good enough for 24th. So with reigning champion Danny Hart ruled out through injury it was left to Gee Atherton to bring it home for GB.
Atherton started hot and was a second up on Canada’s Smith at the first split, an advantage he was to retain at the second timing point. Atherton was flying on the pedally Leogang track and eventually increased on his early advantage to take the top spot with only South Africa’s Greg Minnaar and USA’s Aaron Gwin to run.
However, Atherton’s spell in the hot seat was short-lived as Minnaar rode a masterful run to go top, taking the fight to Gwin in the final run of the day. However a problem for Gwin early on saw the American coast down much of the course and the celebrations began for Minnaar before Gwin had even crossed the line.
1 Greg Minnaar (South Africa) 0:03:21.790
2 Gee Atherton (Great Britain) 0:00:00.581
3 Steve Smith (Canada) 0:00:01.214
4 Michael Hannah (Australia) 0:00:02.140
5 Samuel Hill (Australia) 0:00:03.406
6 Damien Spagnolo (France) 0:00:03.859
7 Florent Payet (France) 0:00:04.227
8 Brook Macdonald (New Zealand) 0:00:04.861
9 Markus Pekoll (Austria) 0:00:05.774
10 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Colombia) 0:00:06.064
12 Sam Dale (Great Britain) 0:00:06.504
14 Marc Beaumont (Great Britain) 0:00:07.101
24 Matthew Simmonds (Great Britain) 0:00:08.904
34 Joseph Smith (Great Britain) 0:00:11.099
36 Steve Peat (Great Britain) 0:00:11.971
75 Josh Bryceland (Great Britain) 0:00:26.763
1 Morgane Charre (France) 0:03:50.654
2 Emmeline Ragot (France) 0:00:01.199
3 Manon Carpenter (Great Britain) 0:00:01.490
4 Floriane Pugin (France) 0:00:01.617
5 Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) 0:00:05.894
6 Micayla Gatto (Canada) 0:00:09.537
7 Casey Brown (Canada) 0:00:09.611
8 Miriam Ruchti (Switzerland) 0:00:12.558
9 Claire Buchar (Canada) 0:00:13.920
10 Tracy Moseley (Great Britain) 0:00:14.145
1 Loic Bruni (France) 0:03:29.100
2 Richard Rude Jr (United States Of America) 0:00:03.121
3 Connor Fearon (Australia) 0:00:04.944
4 Noel Niederberger (Switzerland) 0:00:06.029
5 Jack Moir (Australia) 0:00:07.836
6 Fraser Mcglone (Great Britain) 0:00:07.856
7 Guillaume Cauvin (France) 0:00:08.051
8 Phil Atwill (Great Britain) 0:00:09.455
9 Felix Klee (Switzerland) 0:00:10.134
10 Austin Warren (United States Of America) 0:00:10.826
22 Joe Connell (Great Britain) 0:00:14.809