British riders dominated the downhill at a scorching UCI World Championship weekend in Val di Sole, with Gee Atherton, sister Rachel and Josh Bryceland all winning their events – the three top places on a Worlds podium for the first time in history.
Gee Atherton took the men’s elite title, but it had looked like Sam Hill’s day after the Ausssie was 5.36secs faster than the eventual second placed Steve Peat. But Hill nose-dived through the Nissan jump and barely had time to settle before skidding out on the final off-camber left-hander. He got back on and amazingly finished only half-a-second behind Peat.
Rachel Atherton was just as successful as her brother Gee, winning the women’s elite in a time of 3:49:92, the only woman to go under four minutes, and almost 12secs in front of her arch-rival Sabrina Jonnier, who immediately broke down in tears, horrified at the margin of her defeat.
Completing the rout was Josh Bryceland who finished 7.51secs ahead of fellow brit Sam Dale in the junior men’s category, wrapping up a storming Saturday.
The XC riders didn’t disappoint either, with Liam Killeen finishing 4th and Oli Beckingsale 10th — both career best performances. Not since the days of Gould and Baker in the early 90s has the UK had two athletes performing so well at Worlds level.