(Champéry, SUI – September 5, 2011) Canadian mountain biker Lauren Rosser of Squamish, BC won the bronze medal in the women’s junior downhill race, while Claire Buchar of Whistler, BC also raced to the bronze medal, at her tenth participation at World Championships, on the last day of competition at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
Canada won three medals at these World Championships, one gold medal by Catharine Pendrel and two bronze medals by the down.
In what proved to be a very difficult day for all the racers attacking the gnarly course, in non-stop pouring rain conditions. Riders repeatedly crashed on course, sliding in the mud rivers created by the downpour of rain in the Swiss Alps.
Claire Buchar of Whistler, BC added another bronze medal for Canada later in the day. Buchar, at her tenth World Championships participation, was emotional after the race as proudly waved her yellow laces, in support of Nick Geddes, a Canadian downhiller who is fighting Leukemia back in Canada. “This one’s for you, Nick. Get better soon.”
The feat is even more spectacular as Buchar did not race any of the UCI World Cup this season.
“It was such a gamble out there, and I tried to stay on my bike. I always ride very calculated, and sometimes that’s my downfall. This time it really paid off, in these conditions. It was gnarly, it was scary the whole way, but I didn’t give up with the very end,” explained Buchar.
“Every run is scary and mentally tiring, because you’re always nervous and scared. I never expected this result at all. I played my game right, I played my cards right. I prepared for today, put my flat pedals on and made sure I was dialled on them,” continued Buchar, who finished ninth at the 2010 World Championships. “It just goes to show, the top women who are consistently in the top crashed today…. and those are the girls I look up to, that I want to ride like them. It just shows how hard it is out there.”
“This year’s experience has been awesome, lots of fun and relaxed. There are some new girls here who had never raced a World Cup, let alone a World Championships, and who had never been to Europe. I’m glad that they could have a good experience. The Canadian Cycling Association and cycling in Canada has really stepped up and supported the downhillers and it shows. We really appreciate it,” added Buchar when asked about her experience here in Champéry.
Lauren Rosser of Squamish, BC, who was defending her 2010 title, won the bronze medal despite six crashes, three at the top and three at the bottom. “Smooth is fast and fast is smooth, that’s what I had in my head. It really starting to rain hard at the top and made the course pretty slick. It’s about who can keep it together and take a safe line and post the fastest time. Ultimately, you’re racing the clock.”
Rosser felt good today, after suffering from stomach ache during her cross-country race on Wednesday.
Kelsey Begg, riding in the Junior women race, crashed early on the course and did not finish her race. Earlier this week, Kelsey crashed in training and suffered a slight concussion.
Casey Brown of Revelstoke, BC finished 12th, followed by Miranda Millar of Squamish, BC in 13th position. Katherine Short of Halfmoon Bay, BC placed 15th.
In the Men’s junior, many long delays occurred for airlift evacuations. Luke Stevens of Calgary, AB went on to post the best Canadian result with a seventh place, finishing his first World Championships race without any crash despite the gruelling conditions.
“It wasn’t bad, close to third with the boys I wanted to be with,” said junior rider Luke Stevens. “Now I need to go race some bigger competition and compete with the bigger boys. This course was exactly what I was looking for. This is how downhill racing should be. It was awesome, super steep and super gnarly.”
Stevens missed most of last year, treating and healing some injuries, which include broken arms. “I was pumped to be out here this year as I missed last year’s World. Thanks to Troy Lee Design, and Specialized Bicycle Cafe, my family and all the coaches I have helped me over the years.”
Riley Suhan of Golden, BC finished 22nd. Kyle Sangers of Kingston, ON, the fastest Canadian in the Timed sessions, crashed once and took a long a while to jump back on the saddle to finish 37th. Jordan Hodder of St. Johns, NL, went on to take the 45th position.
Canada ranked fourth in the nations rankings in the men’s junior race.
In the Men’s Elite race, Chris Del Bosco of Montreal, QC was the fastest Canadian in the race, finishing in 44th position. The World Champion in the winter discipline of ski-cross was participating at his first Mountain Bike World Championships experience.
Other Canadians in the race were 2011 Canada Cup champion Rob Fraser of Pickering, ON who finished 47th and Remi Gauvin of Nanoose Bay in 64th place. Earlier in the day during a training run, Canadian rider Dean Tennant of Sidney, BC crashed and was airlifted to hospital, where he was treated for a broken collarbone.