The rainbow chase never fails to amaze
Here are the top ten most dramatic moments from the 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships. It was another corking Champs event.
First of all, Gwin not winning and Minnaar puncturing are unfortunately not surprises. History, both long term and this year’s World Cup season, told us that this wasn’t unlikely.
Neither was Nino Schurter achieving his ‘perfect season’ a shock. It was an impressive inevitability.
Above: 2017 UCI Mountain bike World Championships Women DHI
1. Miranda Miller is the new World Champ
No disrespect to Miller but no-one, least of all Miller herself, thought that she’d win the 2017 World Champs. So what happened? basically everyone else binned it. Hannah crashed, Seagrave crashed, Siegenthaler crashed, Nicole… didn’t crash exactly but apparently went significantly off-line at one point early on in the course. But that, as they say, is racing. Rule one: stay on your bike.
2. Tracey Hannah crashing massively and still getting Silver
And if you, like us, were wondering why she didn’t get back on her bike quicker than she did – thus maybe winning Gold – the story is that Hannah was very dazed and possibly briefly unconscious after her crash. Fair enough then! Second place after such a huge spill is amazing.
3. Myriam Nicole timing error
At time of writing there still hasn’t been really been much of an explanation of this. And with the winning margin subsequently being stated as a tenth of a second, it must have Nicole and Commençal asking questions.
4. Matt Walker is the new Junior World Champ
The shock here being that Finn Iles didn’t win. Much as with the women’s race, the favourite crashed. His crash was actually caused by arguably trying too hard to make time up after making an error earlier up the course.
5. Coil sprung 27.5 bikes won
Every armchair racing expert out there had already decided at the start of the year that the World Champs was going to be won on air shocks and probably on 29in wheels. In the end, both the men’s and the women’s races were won on a not-that-new 27.5in bike with coil sprung suspension. A great weekend for Specialized and Öhlins.
6. Hang on, Walker’s win was the first ever on 29in wheels
Matt Walker goes down in the history books as the first ever winner of a World Championship on a 29er. He won’t be the last.
7. Sam Hill racing his enduro bike
How strange – and thrilling – was it to watch Sam race a single-crown fork enduro bike at the Downhill Worlds? So cool. A great weekend for Nukeproof sales no doubt!
8. Hill’s last ever DH race
And with that, he’s gone. It’s highly unlikely we’ll see Sam Hill race another downhill race. What better way to go (other than a win of course!) was there to see him riding a bike designed for his ‘new love’ (enduro) down his last downhill race course. Legend+.
9. The TV coverage
Sure, it was great to have the DH World Champs on the BBC (Red Button/iPlayer) but the footage was not the usual quality we’ve come to expect from the World Cup races. A heavy focus on the latter pedally sections giving the false impression that Cairns is a very easy track. Missing out the infamous Stutters whoop section entirely. Cutting out during Gwin’s run.
Above: 2017 UCI Mountain bike World Championships Women XCO
10. Annie Last’s Silver medal
Great Britain’s Annie Last finished her already impressive 2017 race season in style with a Silver medal in in the women’s Cross Country World Champs. Well done Annie!