Mountain Bike World Championships Showcase ‘Cross Talent
Cyclocross riders from across the globe met mixed results at this year’s Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia after fast starts had fans hoping for more. The Elite World Championships went to Nino Schurter and Irina Kalentieva in the men’s and women’s events respectively. In the women’s event, the first of the day, the top ‘cross regular was Italy’s Eva Lechner, the current Italian Champion who rolled across the line in seventh. For the men, Canadian Geoff Kabush took the day’s top honors in fifth place.
Eva Lechner was the fastest woman out of the blocks, leading for a good portion of the first lap, before a bobble and a fall relegated her from the lead. American Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton could be seen in the leading group for the better part of the opening half of the race. Compton looked to be fairing well, until the length of the race began to take its toll. Compton would fall of the pace a bit by lap four, sitting in tenth place, from a high of sixth, and eventually finish up the day in 14th place, just holding off perennial cyclocross rival Georgia Gould, who finished up the day in 15th.
Geoff Kabush and Sven Nys were both early animators of the Elite Men’s race, sticking their noses in front of the race for periods of time (Kabush was the first rider across the line on the opening lap), before the two man battle between eventual winner Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon left everyone else to race for third. Nys and Kabush were tied together in the second chase group for some time, until Kabush left the rest and went off in pursuit of the front. Nys would fade from his top ten position and finish up 14th, while Kabush would remain on his own for much of the race, holding on for fifth place. American Todd Wells steadily moved up through the pack, moving up through the top twenty up to the top ten, where he was able to hold on for an excellent eighth place finish, ranking as the top American. Behind Wells, Marco Aurelio Fontana, the reigning Italian Champion, finished up in 11th place.